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Friday, 7 January, 2000, 18:41 GMT
Pittodrie chief backs football director

Pittodrie's doors Many triallists have gone in and out of Pittodrie's doors

Aberdeen FC's chief executive has used the club's website to launch a stout defence of Pittodrie's director of football Keith Burkinshaw.

The former Tottenham manager's role at Pittodrie has been questioned recently with the club slumping to the foot of the Scottish Premier League under new coach Ebbe Skovdahl.

Keith and Ebbe Skovdahl do not always agree on things, but that is the basis of a healthy working relationship
Gordon Bennett
Writing on the site, Gordon Bennett said: "I am amazed at the unfair criticism Keith receives.

"When I left Norwich to come to Aberdeen, all the football people I spoke to in England said how lucky I was to be working with him.

"Keith is as industrious, straight and honest as the day is long. You always know exactly where you stand with him and he is an out-and-out football man who has a great, in-depth knowledge of the game.

Skovdahl's final say

"Keith and Ebbe Skovdahl do not always agree on things, but that is the basis of a healthy working relationship.

"Ebbe naturally has the final say on players, tactics and team selection.

Ebbe Skovdahl Ebbe Skovdahl: Disagrees at times with Burkinshaw
"But I know he appreciates it is better to be surrounded by people with the strength of their convictions who will voice contrary opinions, rather than yes-men who always agree with his own views."

A series of overseas players have come and gone from Pittodrie in quick succession this term, but Bennett is unhappy Burkinshaw has been blamed for increasing the club's options.

He added: "Keith has been most unfairly criticised over the number of trialists who have come to Pittodrie.

"Everyone needs to understand that looking at a large number of trialists was a major feature of Ebbe's success at Brondby, and he intends to continue that policy at Aberdeen.

Mistakes 'expensive'

"Making mistakes with transfers is an expensive business, so having a look at players on trial is a good way to try to reduce the number of errors. That all seems to be very logical and sensible to me.

"The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and at this early stage most of this season's signings look pretty useful to me."

Meanwhile, Aberdeen have announced they will play two friendlies during their winter break in Spain next week.

The Dons first play Jerez, who are top of the Spanish Second Division B on Thursday, while on Saturday they meet Dutch top flight outfit Fortuna Sittard in Cadiz.

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