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Page last updated at 12:34 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 13:34 UK

Harper slams Aberdeen 'bottlers'

Joe Harper
Harper is Aberdeen's record scorer with 205 goals for the Dons

Aberdeen legend Joe Harper has issued a strong criticism of the current board of directors and playing squad at Pittodrie over recent performances.

Dundee knocked Aberdeen out of the Co-operative Insurance Cup on Tuesday, and Harper, who holds the club's scoring record, insists fans are frustrated.

"We've got players, who, at the least drop of abuse from their own fans, bottle it," said Harper.

"It's got to change, the fans are completely sick of it."

Harper had two spells with Aberdeen in the 1970s and early 80s, winning a Scottish Cup and League Cup in-between stints with Everton and Hibernian.

He scored 205 goals during his time with the Dons, but insists Aberdeen's recent lack of firepower is unrelated to the recent change in managerial team when Mark McGhee and Scott Leitch replaced Jimmy Calderwood and Jimmy Nicholl.

"All this proves is that Jimmy Calderwood and Jimmy Nicholl were not the cause behind Aberdeen's problems," said Harper.

"The Aberdeen players just bottled it. They've been doing it in cup ties all over the place.

"It's the standard of players they've got; the standard has dropped so much that it's unbearable now.

"What we have got is athletes on the park, but we don't have footballers."

Aberdeen manager Mark McGhee issued a stark warning to his current squad following Tuesday's 3-2 defeat to Dundee at Dens Park, insisting that team changes will be made after defensive lapses helped hand the First Division side a surprise victory.

"I'm bitterly disappointed and what it does is leave an impression about certain people and about the squad going forward," McGhee told BBC Scotland after the match.

What we've got is athletes on the park, but we don't have footballers

Joe Harper

"I'll keep those thoughts to myself. But moments like this could be defining moments and certainly in some ways it is for me."

Harper was quick to lay the blame for Aberdeen's plight at the door of chairman Stewart Milne, but defended the club's director of football Willie Miller for his efforts to bring success to the club.

"You've got Willie as director of football who was a wonderful player with Aberdeen, but he's beginning to lose it with the fans because he's not getting any money into the club," said Harper.

"There has been no money put into the club. All they have done is pay money out in compensation.

"Stewart Milne is a multi-millionaire. If he wants to be the chairman of a football club, then he's got to look after his football club.


"It's blatantly obvious that some of these players are just not good enough for Aberdeen."

Harper added: "Darren Mackie is a hard-working guy who has been at the club for 10 years, and the fans are seriously on his back now.

"The best thing that could happen to him is to move on to some other club and resurrect his future, because he's not got a future at Aberdeen.

"Something has got to happen, because the fans are getting sick of it."

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see also
McGhee sounds warning to players
23 Sep 09 |  Aberdeen

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