Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes opted to stay at the club last week. The move came as a surprise given reports were suggesting the Scot was all set to move to Sunderland. Despite an official approach from the English Championship side McInnes opted to stay in the North East of Scotland. The decision of the Dons boss is not only a shot in the arm for the Red Army. It’s also a rare victory for Scottish football over their English counterparts.
For years now English club sides have financially trounced their Scottish rivals. The wages on offer in England can't be challenged by clubs in Scotland. With the obvious exception of Celtic, Scotland’s top sides simply can't compete with the financial packages available down South. Both transfer fees and wages are astronomical in comparison to what Scotland’s Premiership sides can offer. Countless players and managers have been lured South in recent years, not only to the Premier League, but to the Championship and below. Players cannot be blamed for wanting improved wages after all.
Stability and Silverware
Derek McInnes decision to stay bucked the trend of leaving for increased wealth. If reports are to be believed the Dons boss would have more than trebled his wages by moving to Sunderland. After four years at Pittodrie few would have grudged the Reds boss an opportunity to earn more money. The fact the former Bristol City manager chose to stay however should be seen as a victory, not just for Aberdeen, but for Scottish football in general. The former midfielder has presided over a resurgent period at Pittodrie.
Aberdeen have finished runner up three straight seasons after a third placed finish in McInnes first season in charge. The four seasons before the Paisley born managers arrival the Dons finished 8th once and 9th three times. The difference is clear to see. There was also the addition of silverware in 2014, the first trophy with Aberdeen-red ribbons on for 19 years. With all that said, it's surprising it's taken until now for another club to approach the former Dundee United and West Brom man.
The fact Derek McInnes never left at the first offer of Sky TV funded English football money must be seen as a win for Scottish football too. Yes, Sunderland do have their problems to seek and this may well have been what put the Scotsman off. However, the statement made by the Manager announcing he was staying suggested he didn't want to leave Aberdeen.
With financial disparity depriving Scotland’s top league of any real competition finishing second in all competitions to Celtic may be looked at as a glass ceiling. McInnes’ statement suggest he doesn't see it that way. In eyeing the Europa League group phase as a plausible target the gaffer has thrown light on one thing Sunderland couldn't provide. Only once in their history have the English side qualified for European competition. The Aberdeen manager has taken his side in to European competition more times than that in the last two seasons. In addition to that, Aberdeen played in two Cup finals last season, one more than Sunderland have played in for the last 26 years. We're constantly told that English sides are 'bigger clubs'. More money doesn't equate to how 'big' a club is though.
English Gravy Train
Scotland has been left behind as the EPL gravy train has got further away from them. Financed by huge TV deals it is now possible to earn, in Scottish football terms, big money to play in the English second and even third tier.
In recent years we fans have had to watch players leave Scottish sides for ‘the money’ down South. It’s not that fans grudge players making a better living. It smarts though to see players give up the opportunity to play in Scottish sides in order to play in the second or third tier in England. Nothing against sides who play in those leagues but they simply can’t provide opportunities like European football. Many in England look down upon Scottish football and in some respects they’re right to. But when you can make almost £100 million for finishing bottom of your league and being totally abject, are you really in a position to criticise?
Staying, For Now
So Derek McInnes will return to Pittodrie as Aberdeen manager next week and along with his trusted deputy Tony Docherty, he will begin preparations for the coming season. Who knows if another club will prize him away before that season is out. His reputation suggests that more offers will come. Regardless if that happens though, Aberdeen can be happy with this pre-season victory for now. A victory for football over money and ultimately a rare victory for Scotland over England.
Has McInnes made the right move? Is it a victory for Scottish football? Let us know in the comments below!