Date: 15th April 2022
The second weekly blog from our Donald Stewart.
What silence is Goalden?
Sports people seem to have a certain code of silence. In a quiet place, away from cameras and with only people in the know, the business or close to their squad/camp/support network, they keep what happens in preparation for a big event secret. People who break that code can end up being vilified and told off.
When Aberdeen boss, Jim Goodwin, came out to break the silence of Aberdeen FC over contract negotiations with Andy Considine, it appeared that this cardinal rule had been broken. Only because it was felt by Goodwin and the club that somebody somewhere had already broken it.
From the outside and to the fan, there was a feeling that a servant of the club over many seasons and the good and the bad years, had been harshly treated by a new boss trying to make his mark. The narrative was added to by Goodwin’s on field persona and the fact that Scott Brown a similarly granite cut figure had left the club shortly after Goodwin’s arrival. Perhaps the place was too small for two big macho styled men?
Perhaps Goodwin has the winning formula and both Brown and Considine do not fit that formula, one the guardian of the past and the other a feature of the future? Perhaps.
Time shall tell and the one man who will fall on their sword if they are wrong is the man making the decisions. Of course, this being a fickle place, football, he needs to prove that pretty quickly.
For fans, this opening up of the negotiations clarifies things but to be fair, it is not something that leaves you with anything other than a bad taste in your mouth. The details of anyone’s contract negotiations should be left to the people who are directly affected by it and I would not like my appraisals to be public knowledge; not because I have something to hide but there are limits over what is private and personal and what ought to have transparency.
And it is that word, transparency, which seems to get bandied about but not often clarified as to what it actually means in the context of sport.
I do not need to know the ins and outs of certain individual negotiations, but I would like to know what is happening. As we get to the business end of the year, I am beginning to feel anxious about a summer budget and summer recruitment. I don’t need to know how many Millions are available for our manager – I can guess. None.
I would like to know who it is we are after but realise that might make other clubs go after them, offer them better terms or see certain player’s options dwindle as other clubs chasing their signature decide not to go after them, thus meaning their ability to provide for their families is limited by those revelations.
These details are necessarily private. But I shall, like most, still trawl through rumours and revelations to find things out. I may not trust the sage advice from the neighbour’s girlfriend’s cousin’s hairdresser who knows the guy who drove the taxi to take Messi from Glasgow Prestwick to Somerset Park for a chat, but I shall have an opinion and still be intrigued.
But for me transparency is about trust. Fans are, mostly, intelligent people. They can take, that certain aspects of the running of their club is, for business and commercial reasons behind firmly closed doors. Of course, there are a few people who occupy the terraces loudly who shout and scream and ask for things to which they are not entitled, long before the idea of over entitlement as levelled at the younger generation, but we can all be mature enough to ignore them. What we need to know are the basic tenets of public information like who owns the club, what state the club is in and how we can expect the club to operate during each and every season. We should expect open and honest communication at an adult level so that mature responses can be framed, and criticisms fairly can be exchanged.
I found what Goodwin did, sad. And I am not necessarily blaming him. He became the headline and not necessarily the instigator.
I don’t know who leaked it at first and what happened but to feel the need to make private things public is never a good look. It certainly did not look good for someone who is not an Aberdeen fan. It must have looked hellish for a Dons fan. But maybe, it will lead to a transparency, whatever that may mean…
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