A traumatic 2020 has shown that the quote about Aberdeen FC from the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano remains very relevant.
Di Stefano famously said of the Dons: “Aberdeen have what money can’t buy – a soul, a team spirit built in a family tradition” following the 1983 European Cup-Winners’ Cup triumph over the Real Madrid side the great man managed.
As we get ready to end a terrible year blighted by the pandemic, that family tradition at the heart of the club has been a beacon of hope through the darkest of times.
The club, supporters, players, management, staff and Community Trust have all come together as a family to help one another.
Aberdeen fans snapped up 8,000 season tickets to help the club offset millions in lost revenue due to the pandemic.
That was despite no guarantee when buying those season tickets that they would get inside Pittodrie to watch their team in action this campaign.
Now that is really supporting your team.
We are now halfway through the season and unfortunately the return of supporters is no closer.
The players, management and staff have also done their bit to help offset the financial impact of Covid by taking wage cuts.
The club have also rallied to help vulnerable and isolated supporters at their time of need with the Still Standing Free initiative. Players, management, staff and former players made phone calls to thousands of vulnerable fans to give human contact.
As part of that initiative the club and the club’s charity arm AFC Community Trust also delivered food packages to the vulnerable.
Aberdeen reached more than 15,000 supporters during that initial 16-week scheme.
During the festive period it was resurrected as Calling Home for Christmas, where the Dons and the Community Trust created a team of players, former players and volunteers to reach out to more than 5,000 isolated fans.
I was part of that superb scheme and made a number of calls to the vulnerable.
There have been some calls where the fans have cried, a lot of the time just through happiness that someone has taken the time to call them.
It has brought tears to my eyes and some of the calls have lasted more than an hour.
It makes them feel good and brings a little light, happiness and hope – that is all down to Aberdeen Football Club.
We have to stick together and look after one another as a family – as the Aberdeen FC family.
Despite the financial hit of the pandemic and the absence of supporters, apart from one isolated test event with 300 season tickets inside Pittodrie in September, the Dons have shown real resilience to negotiate the pandemic.
There is finally light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccines, which will hopefully see us emerge from this coronavirus nightmare.
As we say goodbye to a dark 2020, hopefully we can welcome in some light in 2021.
Sam Cosgrove and Curtis Main need to hit goal trail in 2021
Aberdeen’s recognised strikers need to deliver more goals in the second half of the season to keep the pressure on near the top of the table.
Sam Cosgrove and Curtis Main have scored just three goals each so far this season, which is a disappointing return.
Granted, both Cosgrove and Main’s campaigns have been derailed by injuries.
Cosgrove missed the first three months of the campaign with fractured knee cartilage, and Main had knee surgery in the summer and then suffered more injury setbacks.
Now they are both fully fit they should be looking to hit the goal trail in 2021.
Main has put in a power of work in the last few games and closes opponents down.
That forces them to play the ball quicker and results in more mistakes from opponents.
Ideally, Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes will play both Cosgrove and Main up top against Livingston today.
This is a chance to finish 2020 on a high, although Livingston are also in form and are a decent team.
The Dons are now six games unbeaten and, although the clash with St Johnstone wasn’t pretty, they emerged with a 2-1 victory and a vital three points.
Aberdeen’s winner came from centre-half Ash Taylor, who has been very impressive in the last two games.
Taylor won everything in the box against both St Johnstone and Motherwell.