Book Review – Aberdeen FC: Back Issues 1980-1990 – The definite guide to Aberdeen home programme of the 1980s by Peter Elliott
The match programme. Once the only source of information about your club and a must-have for spectators at the game. Now however, with the advent of social media and its ability to provide up to date information at the push of a button, and the recent change by some clubs to a digital programme, the very existence and purpose of the ‘physical’ version is under threat. Collectors though will be please with the recent release of Aberdeen FC: Back Issues 1980-1990 which as the books introduction states, is “the definite guide to Aberdeen FC match programmes issued during the 1980s, the decade which defined the modern club” with, “the aim of producing…a series of similar guides covering each decade”.
The decade was indeed a memorable one for those watching at Pittodrie. Under the stewardship of Alex Ferguson, the club won three league championships (1979–80, 1983–84 & 1984–85), four Scottish Cups (1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84 & 1985–86), one League Cup (1985-86), the European Cup Winner’s Cup (1982-83), and the European Super Cup (1983). The Dons weren’t as successful after Ferguson left in 1986 but did do the Scottish Cup ‘double’ in 1989-90. The backbone of the team and indeed the Scottish National side, included Jim Leighton, Willie Miller, Alex McLeish and Gordon Strachan – all Aberdeen legends, with Charlie Nicholas having a couple of useful season at The Dons at the back end of the 80s after a difficult time south of the border with Arsenal.
The reality is that this A5 publication does exactly what it says – it’s a guide to all the home programmes from the 1980/81 season through to 1989/90. Each campaign features the covers from all the programmes produced with a handy checklist detailing the date of each game, the competition and opposition with also the addition of any other fixtures played at the ground, as well as games where programmes were not issued. Brief notes also accompany each season’s summary, generally detailing significant events at the club. It’s a great piece of research by Peter Elliott, that throw up some interesting nuggets of information along the way. For instance, in April 1987 Aberdeen were due to host Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in a friendly, however the players were stranded at Manchester airport due to fog and the game was never played, although a programme was produced. Indeed, it is a feature of the times, that when games were postponed, the original match programme was still issued even when out of date.
A must for all Aberdeen fans whether or not they collect programmes, as it is a handy summary of the homes games at the Club. And on the horizon is the companion to this edition, with the away fixtures from the 1980-1990 period.
(Publisher: First Dons Match. March 2022. Paperback: 90 pages)
Buy your copy here: https://firstdonsmatch.bigcartel.com/product/back-issues-1980-1990