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Our Donald – Mr. Warnock can’t see ahead…

Date: 11th February 2024

In this weeks first blog from our resident writer Donald Stewart:

Mr. Warnock can’t see ahead……  

February… 

Not really a silly season, is it? 

Children’s Christmas parties are all done. Birthday parties are few and far between, and the business of entertaining is in a bit of a doldrums. And so, children’s entertainer, Mr. Warnock decided at the tender age of 75, to move to Aberdeen, when Mr. Cormack offered him a new job. 

Aberdeen is a place where the sea is the coldest on earth and 30 miles north hardy staff are warned not to fall into the sea or they shall be former oil rig workers. It is where the oil boom led to prosperity, but the current state of energy and green change has made people nervous with their cash and where the climate does not suggest barbecue. In that climate, Mr. Warnock has uprooted and come up north.  

As he stands on the beach at Aberdeen, he wonders why. 

Why was he even on the beach?  

“Let’s have some fun,” he said as he announced his decision. The second part of his sentence was never thought to include Aberdeen as the destination… but there it was and here he is… 

Picture the scene… 

It’s cold. Actually, it’s freezing. Nobody has ever really seen the sea freeze before but right now it is making a damn good try. The wind is howling, the rain is icy and sore, and Mr. Warnock’s face is looking out to the sea as if there should be some form of inspiration talking back to him. 

He has been in Aberdeen a week. Apart from a gig in Glasgow which went OK, he has been scouring the whole of the town for some extra work. Anything would do. His act, from the oversize feet to the make-up is a little old school, but he was told that was making a comeback; especially in places that needed a bit of a reminder of how to get themselves out of the doldrums. 

Aberdeen is, apparently in the doldrums. 

Mr. Warnock is here to take advantage in the twilight of his career, and he could not wait. 

Just then a dog walker approaches him. 

“Are ye aw right, son?” 

“Sorry, love,” he replies, his English ears struggling to understand the twang of the Doric. “I can’t quite understand…” 

The woman, herself in her 80’s is well used to the English and their funny little ways. Ironically, she believes that by shouting, the English tend to understand better so she repeats her question in a voice that would warn shipping. 

Mr. Warnock nods and smiles – it worked.  

“What are you doing out here then?” asks his new companion as they start to walk along the beach. Her dog, a mongrel  with the attitude of a Rottweiler but is the size of a Pekingese is unimpressed as it shivers in the sand.  

“Just moved up, love,” responds Mr. Warnock. “Got me business. Entertaining. Bit old school, but I like it.” 

His companion nods. “Looking to make a name for yersel are ye?” she asks. 

“No love. Bit of a dinosaur some people think, but I got offered a chance and took it. Will be here at least until June and then we shall see. To be successful in my career nothing has changed, you see. It’s all about managing people. I want to pit my wits against the best that there is, and you never know, maybe make a splash. Never really made a splash before.” 

His companion nods as he picks up a stick for the dog throws it. The dog looks at him as if he is stupid. The dog could never understand why dogs would go chasing sticks. It seemed a stupid idea to him. Mr. Warnock looks a little lost. His companion helps him as she asks, “so, this opportunity? Not Mr Cormack’s wee circus over at Pittodrie, was it? They offer you the chance to come and be the ringmaster or something?” 

Mr. Warnock nods. “That and pick up some extra work for myself. Was down in Glasgow last week. It nearly worked out for me there. A place I really like. Would love to go down there and do the same thing there as up here.” 

His wee wifie alongside nods and smiles. “The Govan circus that would be then?” 

He looks at her confused. For a sprightly old woman, she seems to know more than she should as Mr. Warnock opens up a little more.  

“When you get to my age, you think twice about a job, but I got a good feeling about this one. Always wanted to work in Scotland.” 

“Well, Mr. Warnock, I shall let you get on,” she replies as she starts to walk away, the dog following her. It is only as Mr. Warnock gets to the end of his walk that he realises she called him by his name, but he never told her who he was…  

But a few moments after they left each other, Granny Robson was looking down her scope as she nestled the rifle at her shoulder taking aim. As she contemplated the trigger, she called her grandson on her phone and told him all about the encounter. At the end of the call, they agreed to wait until the first few weeks have gone by, but Granny Robson now has Mr. Warnock clearly in her sights… 

 

 

Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an original piece of work there is no evidence that Barry Robson’s granny has ever been an international assassin, unless you know differently, so, this is clearly a piece of fiction, though many of Mr. Warnock’s words have been used here.  

The fact is that at the tender age of 75, Neil Warnock is the latest manager at Aberdeen, succeeding Barry Robson. Prior to his game against Rangers, a club he announced he was a supporter of in years past he said, “When you get to my age, you think twice about a job – but I got a good feeling about this one. When I spoke to Dave Cormack [chairman] and Alan Burrows [chief executive] it just seemed the right thing to do – it gives them a little bit of time to look for the right manager to take the club forward. And as I said to Dave, ‘let’s have a little bit of fun between now and the end of the season’. It sounds silly at my age, but I am excited. I get called a dinosaur but in my career nothing has changed. To be successful, 90-95% is man-management. If the players give me everything, I’ll man their corner.” And there shall ever be a corner of Pittodrie filled with former managers, it would seem, trying to match a legacy of times gone past… 


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