Date: 13 August 2022
Competition: Scottish Premier League
Result: Aberdeen 2 – 3 Motherwell
Tickets: £20 (adult), £12 (kid)
Game/ Experience Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Game: We found ourselves in Aberdeen as a city aside from a holiday in the Scottish Highlands, so this was the perfect chance to catch a first ever live Scottish Premier League game when Motherwell visited over the weekend. Motherwell have a strange Irish link at the moment: having lost home and away to Sligo Rovers in Europe a few weeks ago, they promptly sacked their manager, and have a new one in charge in time for this trip, for whch they’ve bought only a handful of fans from East of Glasgow.
Aberdeen are sloppy from the off, with Motherwell dominating the early exchanges and unsurprisingly going ahead in the first few minutes after a sustained period of pressure. There seems to be plenty of potential in the Aberdeen squad – I particularly liked Stewart at the back, and Shayden Morris, a rapid wide man recently signed from Fleetwood and, I think, making his debut. It’s disjointed, though, and when Aberdeen take the lead with goals either side of half time, it feels more fortunate than a reflection of the game.
Motherwell hit back, leading 3-2 after 60 minutes and then frustrating the home fans by killing a lot of time (6 minutes of injury time arguably wasn’t enough) to hold on for the win. A nice see-saw game but I understand why Aberdeen fans would be pretty put out by it all given the shoddiness of their side, who resorted to throwing popular goalkeeper Roos up for corners at the end. Both defences poor, I didn’t feel the level of football was notably higher than our regular haunt, the Irish top tier (nor, to be fair, is it notably more expensive), but fiercely entertaining.
The ground: I’m really impressed with Pittodrie. The walk in is one of the most beautiful I’ve come across for a football ground – lots of open space and dune like hills to be strolled over until you come across the ground as you head over a sandy, rabbit-covered peak, the highest stand on one end popping into view and an angle on a scattering of seats in the main stand from outside on offer.
The streets around are all shutdown and awash with red (in fact, I noted a lot of support for the club in terms of colours around the city over the weekend, which was great to see), and there’s some pretty cool club art spread about the place, particularly in the ‘Red Shed’ (the Merkland Stand), where we had tickets. This stand is labelled the family stand, which should probably be flagged as a serious misnomer: it’s clearly the most full-on stand in the ground in terms of atmosphere, the only one on its feet throughout and notably noisy with it, especially during the comeback phase of the game. Lots of ripe language, too, as Motherwell took over.
Nice little cubby-hole like shops at the back of the stand for your pies, drinks, etc., and a lively atmosphere when the team are playing well, definitely fading and turning a bit when it’s not going their way, but that’s football fandom. From the back of the Merkland, we could also see huge fishing boats heading out to sea from the harbour behind the away fans, which was a pretty cool aside.
Extras: I couldn’t find a programme, though I didn’t look that hard. I liked that you could opt to pick up a ticket outside the ground having pre-paid – a nice souvenir for an extra thirty seconds of hassle. I heard there’s a different pie every month (didn’t try one, though), and enjoyed that the away fans were allowed to mix with the home fans before and after at top-tier level, as far as I could see completely without incident.
Assorted asides: The huge arcade area down the road and along the seafront is easy for parking, and they’ve no way that I can see of checking if you’re actually attending the local businesses as ‘required’. Lots of cool spots to explore down the sea front. We had to register ourselves for Aberdeen ticket numbers (twice, once for me and once for my son, and then a third step to link our accounts) to be able to buy tickets, which is not exactly groundhopper friendly for a place that clearly isn’t selling out these kind of games. A good impression overall, though.
My totals for the year so far:
Games: 6. Home wins: 3. Draws: 0 Away wins: 3
Goals: 21. Home goals: 10. Away goals: 11. Goals per game: 3.5