Echoes Of Times Past For Calderwood
Aberdeen manager Jimmy Calderwood is watching the situation at Raydale Park with acold shiver of recognition running down his back. He has been there before, trying to operate under the watchful eyes of administrators determined not to spend any more money. The Dons could yet be playing Gretna tomorrow if some benefactor can pull the Borders club back from the blink of extinction. Gretna are currently without the £30,000 required to fulfil this weekend's fixture and it looks unlikely they will be able to field a team for the scheduled game at Pittodrie. Calderwood has first-hand experience of being involved in serious financial problems as, in February 2004 when manager at Dunfermline the Fifers called in accountants Deloitte & Touche to stave off administration. Players and staff felt the pain of taking significant pay-cuts to continue to existence of the East End Park club. At the time Dunfermline were perilously close to the £2.7million ceiling on their overdraft facility and Calderwood remembers it being a particularly difficult time. He said: "At Dunfermline we had to make major cuts in wages to deal with a debt that had occurred. We had a wonderful group of players and they accepted what was, on average, probably a 20% cut in their wages. It was a massive disappointment for a lot of players and also for the management."
Calderwood knows the two situations are different with Gretna relying on the support of a single financial backer in Brooks Mileson. His illness and withdrawal of access to funding has left the Black and Whites facing oblivion. Dunfermline just needed to change their wage structure to ease away from their troubles. Somewhat ironically, Calderwood believes the Pars' problems actually ended up benefiting the club in one respect. The Pars went on to have a memorable season, finishing in the upper reaches of the SPL and reaching the Scottish Cup final where they were beaten by Celtic. Calderwood was delighted at the way his squad at Dunfermline dealt with the drop in their salaries, saying: "All credit to that group of players because they accepted it. Everybody reacts differently but they were very positive about the situation and it showed in how they played. It hurt but it galvanised us. We went on to finish fourth top of the league, got into Europe and lost in the cup final to Celtic"
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