42 Grounds: Ground 25: Pittodrie

With the year coming to an end and deadlines edging closer, I had been looking for a game nearby from the selection of midweek fixtures available.

Thankfully, Aberdeen were at home. This is the ground that I have been saving for such an occasion. Instead of the usual journey or discussion about transport, this one was just a relatively short walk away. I set off for the game slightly later than planned, and had a brisk walk through to the game.

The change in the city over the course of the last few years has been remarkable. The number of empty shops on Union Street has risen dramatically over the years. Popular restaurants have closed with the cause often attributed to redundancies elsewhere, meaning less disposable income and less custom for these restaurants.

Perhaps the last few years should serve as a warning, to those in charge of the city, of things to come. Look at towns and cities across the UK where a once dominant industry is no more, where investment is sucked out of the area overnight. Oil has been good for the city in many ways, but what will happen when it runs out? Even if that won’t happen for a while, what is the plan for the city? The volatility of the price of oil suggests that whatever the plan, it might have to be implemented sooner rather than later.

The plan for regeneration of Union Terrace Gardens is an example of how the city can improve and perhaps attract extra visitors, while the new AECC could bring bands, performers and crowds to the area. Most relevant to this post though, is the plan for a new stadium for Aberdeen.

The efforts to find a site for the stadium and the debate over the rights and wrongs has been rumbling on for a while now. While there are still some questions to be answered and some community opposition to overcome, it looks like this is now going to go ahead. This will see the club move away from its relatively central position in the city to the outskirts. The images which the club released show a modern facility in the style that forward thinking clubs of a similar size in other parts of Europe have adopted.

There will be a sadness from many supporters – as is always the case during a stadium move. The stadium which hosted some of the great games in Scottish football history and played host to some of the greatest of names being demolished will seem like a betrayal to some, but a necessary step to others.

Aberdeen are without doubt one of Scotland’s biggest clubs. A spell of great success in the 80s under Alex Ferguson will likely never be matched, but they have improved considerably in recent seasons. Derek McIness has taken the side from a top six challenger to a side that many think will provide the closest competition to the Champions-elect Celtic this season. In the last few years they have kept the league competitive, and even if the points tally hasn’t always suggested this, it is worth remembering the warnings that the league would be finished by November without Rangers. Aberdeen deserve credit for ensuring that wasn’t the case.

This season they have been in a cup final already, and they have comfortable kept pace with the strongest of the leagues also-rans.

Tonight’s game with Motherwell was an important one to allow them to keep up their pursuit for second place and the return of former manager Mark McGhee added some extra spice to the occasion.

Pittodrie is a ground I have visited a lot in the last few years, so I decided to sit somewhere a bit different. I sat in the South Stand, in an area which I was assured by the helpful ticket seller was covered. With the roof half over my head I’m not sure if it should be classed as covered, and during a fairly miserable night’s weather I did get wet.

Pittodrie is made up of an old style main stand, the Richard Donald stand which is the two tiered stand behind the goal, the Merkland Stand which is home to families and the South Stand which is fairly modern and runs alongside the pitch side opposite the dugouts.

Having arrived at my seat a couple of minutes after kickoff, and having narrowly avoided a slip on the wet stairs, I was looking forward to 90 minutes of top flight football.

In the end I saw a grand total of six before the floodlights cut out. After a repair the game continued for 30 seconds or so, and after nearly 45 minutes in the stadium, the game was called off.

I wasn’t sure if this game was worthy of a write up and whether it should count towards the 42. The point of this ‘series’ is to chronicle the goings on in Scotland over the season, and it feels that a postponement due to floodlight failure is very ‘Scottish football’. The only surprising part is that the first postponement of the season took place at a top flight ground.

Perhaps the new stadium, if it goes ahead, will avoid such issues. Then again, when it comes to Scottish football we can never be sure.

Aberdeen v Motherwell – Match Abandoned

 

 

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