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FIFA 18 Career Mode What Has Changed?

Every year the small group of career mode enthusiasts pray for a new and improved game mode but most of the time they’re left disappointed. Money hungry EA appear to neglect its oldest, instead choosing to invest in the money machine which is FIFA Ultimate Team. This year it’s different.

EA have made very subtle changes to Career Mode, although these changes should’ve been implemented last year. Despite the small changes to transfer and contract negotiations improve realism, Menus feel fresh and gameplay offline is closer than ever to real life football.

One Day Transfers

There was nothing worse on Career Mode than negotiating a transfer fee and the potentially waiting two/three weeks for both parties to meet a resolve. The act of bargaining took a long time and wasted the precious days of a small transfer window.

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Contract negotiation screen

One new edition to the game is cut scenes, set to simulate real transfer negotiations. Meeting with the manager transfer fees can be easy negotiated including improve player swap feature, where the opposition manager will tell users what positions they’re looking to improve. The implementation of sell on fees also adds more bargaining powers to users and CPU managers alike.

In-Depth Contract negotiations

The same subtle tweak to transfers has been implemented to contract negotiations. Before, negotiating a contract could be stressful. With not much to negotiate on it was very bland. Only negotiating on a weekly wage it made it hard to convince players to sign a contract if they rejected an initial offer. In the latest edition contract negotiations have stepped up.

Adding in more realistic features the process in signing a player is more complicated, yet more enjoyable. Clauses being introduced are a big draw when it comes to signing a player. Release clauses, goal/ clean sheet bonuses and signing on fees have added extra drawing power, although it does make it harder to negotiate contract. Players in my experience tend to want a high signing on fee, which can add a hefty amount to a transfer, especially for smaller teams.

More visuals when analysing squads

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Managers are now more active on the touchline 

EA have completely changed the way Career Mode menus work. Traditionally users would search for a player and be able to bid straight from the search menu. Now users have to add players to a transfer HUB. This allows players to shortlist players and reviews all their options before signing a target. This allows users to review all fees, bonuses and stats before offering a contract.

Squad Reports have had a change; there is a graph to see players best stats. This gives a general overview (Like retro PES games) allowing more analysis based on what users feel is most important.  My only issue with this feature is the inability to select your starting 11 as the players seen first, just a small annoyance.

Gameplay improvements

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EA continue to impress with their graphics 

Finally, the improvements to the gameplay have drastically improved for offline play. One critic of offline FIFA is the unrealistic gameplay. ‘It’s all about pace’ is always a big criticism, however this years edition is well suited to slower, precise build up play. It takes longer for chances to be created; therefore users must have a killer edge.

Crossing is improved this year which makes wing play a viable option. On the previous editions crossing has felt clunky and lacklustre. On FIFA 18 the crosses are floated instead of struck directly to the keeper. It allows for players to score power headers or a sleek volley.

One criticism I have of this years offline gameplay is the keepers. They have got better as the year has progressed however they just aren’t good enough at times. They are often beaten at the front post or their positioning is way off, leaving the striker with an open goal.

 

 

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Is Adam Rooney still Relevant at Aberdeen?

Some may be wondering why such a question would ever be asked? Adam Rooney, one of Scottish footballs most prolific strikers being questioned by fans who adored him not to long ago?

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A small proportional of Aberdeen fans have suggested Rooney is below par striker. The Aberdeen frontman has consistently bagged at least 20 goals a season for the Dons and in my opinion deserves more respect.

We can all agree Rooney gives his all for the team every time he puts on an Aberdeen top and I think we will all agree that sometimes he fails to impact games. He does very little in terms of winning headers, beating players or creating moments of magic. Although, Rooney gets goals provided he receives good service.

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His work off the ball is excellent. Not the most mobile player Rooney will continue to chase down the ball, harass defenders and generally cause issues for opposition defenders. McInnes even utilised Rooney’s defensive capabilities against Motherwell in the 1-0 victory. Subbed on with very little time remaining Rooney was instructed to defend, which he done to a very high standard.

Although I feel his reputation in Scottish football is why he is receiving some unjustified criticism. Sometimes fans expectations are unrealistic. Fans need to remember that Rooney was part of arguably the best front three for most of his Aberdeen career. He needs two wingers either side of him to be correctly utilised. Without good service Rooney can’t play to his full potential.

The arrival of Stevie May will have reduced Rooney’s playing time. May is a similar striker to Rooney in the sense that he will give 110% every week. However the main difference is that May is more mobile and has the ability to create an opportunity out of nothing.

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It’s debatable who should start, how about them both? It worked against St. Johnstone (May set up Rooney’s first) on Saturday and if they create a functioning partnership, it could be unstoppable.

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Goalless at Murrayfield as Levein Returns to Football Management

Hearts have more heart under Levein after one game than they ever did under Cathro. It was a spectacle as 7,000 Aberdeen fans travelled to Murrayfield on Saturday as Hearts held on form Aberdeen to a goalless draw.

It was Levein’s first game back in football management and he showed his class after a poor period in charge of Scotland. His side were by far the better team at the home of rugby and at times it looked like the Hearts players thought they were playing rugby.

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Aberdeen started on the front foot attack Hearts from the off. It could be argued Berra should’ve been off early on in the game as he held Aberdeen striker Adam Rooney from fully pouncing on a Stevie May cross.

There were chances for both teams in the first half. Hearts winger Jamie Walker had a free-kick expertly saved by Joe Lewis. Lewis stopped a fine effort from new signing Isma Goncalves which was heading into the bottom left of the goal.

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Aberdeen had few chances through the game and failed to test the Hearts goal. Jamie Walker had yet another opportunity to put Hearts ahead with a curling effort that was heading into the top corner if it weren’t for a Joe Lewis wonder save.

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Shay Logan had an effort down the other end just before the break with a low left foot shot after a fine touch on the chest.

In the second half Hearts began to dominate the game. Aberdeen struggled to build an attack as Hearts looked favourites to win. Multiple saves from Joe Lewis prevented Hearts taking the lead and the only time they beat Lewis the ball rattled of the bar.

Ralph Callaghan had the best effort of the second half as a knocked down long ball found its way on to his foot in the box as Lewis saved yet again.

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Hearts have got their bite back and it was a vintage performance from a Levein side, hard to beat. Anytime an Aberdeen winger would get the ball in a dangerous area three Hearts defenders would surround him.

The big game changing moment in the match came early on as Christopher Berra should’ve been sent off or should’ve seen a yellow at minimum. It was a clear cut opportunity for Adam Rooney to head Aberdeen into the lead and Aberdeen would’ve felt hard done by not winning the penalty.

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Joe Lewis was clear man of the match. He made at least five top class saves and Aberdeen should count themselves lucky they have such a reliable keeper protecting their goal.

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Three Songs For September

  1. For What It’s Worth – Liam Gallagher

Liam Gallagher’s debut solo album is set to drop on the 10th October and the sneak peeks fans have had, it could top anything Noel has done. For What It’s Worth is the stand out track. Reviving the Oasis sound that fans have missed, Liam appears to be apologising to Noel. “For what it’s worth I’m sorry for the hurt, I’ll be the first to say, I made my own mistakes” The single sounds fresh, it’s Oasis with a face lift. Meaningful, raw and slightly Oasis, Liam has resurrected Brit-Pop… on this track at least.

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2. Cave Song – Pretty Vicious

When we think rockband’s, we don’t think of a small town in Wales. However we may be about to. Pretty Vicious an indie band influenced by grunge, stoner rock and punk, their unique sound has yet to make major waves in the indie scene, but it won’t be long. Their standout track, Cave Song of their Ep with the same name is incredible. With an intro that gets listener busting moves in the shop, modern punk vocals and a catchy riff, Pretty Vicious have it all. Describing teen life, they’ve used their surroundings to write cracking riffs. Watch out for Pretty Vicious, they’re pretty good.

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3. Disco 2000 – Pulp

Did they ever meet in 2000? A blast from the past, but still a great song Disco 2000 has been stuck in my head. It’s a classic; pulp’s lead singer Jarvis Cocker’s voice is mysterious yet fitting of the times. About two young friends’ one in love with the other, the other not interested, the track builds listeners emotion throughout the song. Why didn’t he show his feelings? Who did she marry? What next?

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What did we learned from Partick Thistle vs Aberdeen?

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Aberdeen are the only team in Scotland’s top flight with a 100% record. Four wins in four saw the Dons sit top with 12 points after Celtic drew with Saint Johnstone. Saturday’s game at Firhill was very entertaining, especially from a neutral’s perspective, but, despite the win there are still a few issues that Derek McInnes will need to address.

Jonny Hayes may have left to join Celtic, but has Aberdeen had a replacement in their ranks all along? Scott Wright, a promising young player who looked like he had no future at Aberdeen. Never been given a real chance Wright would get the odd five minutes at the end of the game, but when given the opportunity, he has taken it and he isn’t looking back. An out and out winger Wright runs at opponents without fear (in the same style Hayes does) and defenders don’t know how to deal with it. Defenders get caught back pedalling and it is easy for him to cut it back to a teammate or cut in and hit a perfectly looping shot like he did at the weekend. Catching the defender on a back pedal he cut in and picked his spot and if he continues to do that he could be Scottish football’s next big thing.

Without Hayes and McGinn Aberdeen’s attack looks more dangerous than ever with depth and quality. Pundits and opposition fans alike thought it was the end of an era in the North East. Aberdeen’s two best players McGinn and Hayes left to face new challenges. Their replacements individually may not be better, but, as a unit they performances are energetic and fearless. The front four of Wright, Christie, Stewart topped off by Stevie May or Rooney seems unstoppable. The versatility in the attacking play is great, instead of one player leading an attack the front four works as a unit to penetrate opposition defences. The fact three of the goals came from these attacking players is excellent for Aberdeen.

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Despite Aberdeen’s attacking prowess, issues continue at the back. McInnes decided to change up the back four playing Shinnie at left-back and Considine and O’Connor in the centre. It didn’t work. Shinnie looked lost on the left and this just highlighted what an influence he has in the centre of the park. Such a consistent performer for the Dons it took a while for Shinnie to adapt and McInnes must realise that Shinnie is best utilised in the centre if the park.

It wasn’t just Shinnie who was poor at the back the whole defence had an off day. Without Shinnie in the centre of the park the defence was left unprotected. This allowed the Partick attackers to power through the middle and caused the Aberdeen defence to drop deep. This allowed Partick to exploit the wings as well as the middle which caused Aberdeen a lot of trouble.

One change McInnes could’ve made is to put Kari Arnason on at half time. His ability to read the game and experience in defence may have settled the game down. An excellent change from McInnes was to put Rooney on with May. The pair caused the Partick defence trouble and this could be a lethal partnership up top for the Dons.

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Is Pedro’s Ego too Big For Rangers?

Best squad in Scotland? Are you sure Pedro? Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha has claimed Rangers have the best squad in Scotland. It’s debatable that on paper he has the second best squad in scotland, but as the old saying says football isn’t played on paper.

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Pedro has shattered the solid Rangers backbone (that saw them promoted to the Premiership) and replaced it with his sleek foreign import. Will a stylish better looking squad be able to handle the weight of the Rangers fans expectations?

Despite being rough round the edges Rangers had some quality players. Kenny Miller revived his career at the age of 38, Barrie McKay is a tricky winger, with bags of ability and Martin Waghorn is a proven goal scorer in Scotland. So why has Pedro let two of them go?

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The McKay transfer could have something to do with Rangers aspirations to sign unhappy Hearts midfielder Jamie Walker. McKay performed consistently for Rangers and had an excellent relationship with the fans. Why let him go?

Coming through the youth team McKay powered his way into the team under Mark Warburton and had performed well in every division. The price tag also showed Pedro’s intentions. McKay went for half a million, in todays inflated market that is an awful price for such a key player.

Waghorn was slightly more understandable. Only netting seven goals was disappointing, however his link up play with miller could arguably been the reason Miller was so good. Strikers don’t have to score goals to make an impact, if they bring other players into play that can be as valuable as a goal in some instances. Waghorn has scored four goals in three league games at new club Ipswich and it looks like Pedro may regret this decision by the end of the season.

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Pedro has scrapped a few key players surely his replacements will be adequate? It’s too early to tell.  Bruno Alves appears to be a brilliant signing; an experienced defender is just what Rangers need. Eduardo Herrera statistically is an average player but will he flourish at Rangers? Carlos Pena signs with a heavy price tag to carry along with Fabio Cardoso. Pedro’s foreign imports also include Daniel Candeias from Benfica and Alfredo Morelos from Helsinki.

Graham Dorrans and Ryan Jack have also joined their ‘boyhood’ club and when delving into home grown players, Pedro has done a decent job. Graham Dorrans is an excellent signing, a proven international with plenty of experience, he is clearly going to be a key player.

However the signing of Ryan Jack from Aberdeen could backfire. A player that split opinions at Pittodrie Jack is renowned for sideways passes and having a bit of a temper on him. That temper flared against Hibernian which saw him sent off for a head-butt. The red card was somehow rescinded, but what wasn’t rescinded is the reputation Jack has built.

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We have seen very little in terms of Rangers teams performing on the pitch under Pedro. He certainly talks the talk but has yet to walk the walk. Winning a mediocre 9 in 17 Pedro has yet to impact Scottish football the way he would’ve wanted to.

So why talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk? To fill his ever increasing ego. Why has he sold two key players? Because they aren’t his, they aren’t his work. He wants to be remembered as the manager that took Rangers ‘back to the top’. He wants it to be his players who do it; he wants it to be responsible for all the success that he thinks is round the corner, all that’s blocking said success, Pedro’s ego.

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Where are They now? – Derek McInnes First Aberdeen Starting 11

Derek McInnes has revived football in the North East. McInnes and Tony Docherty have taken Aberdeen from an average team underperforming, to a team competing on all fronts domestically. He has managed numerous amounts of players during his stay, but where are his first starting 11 now?

GK – Jamie Langfield

A long time servant at the Dons, Langfield left at the end of the 2014/15 season after losing his starting spot to in-form Scott Brown (The real one). Langfield left after his testimonial to join Saint Mirren where he remains a player/coach. Langfield or Clangers as he was known will always be respected by Aberdeen fans after his time at the club.

RB – Joe Shaughnessy

His time at Aberdeen just wasn’t to be. A player with a lot of promise Shaughnessy judging by his Physique a Centre Back was most of the time player at Right Back and looking back now seems like a waste of a player. Thriving at Saint Johnstone playing a central role Shaughnessy is yet another player who has shined after their time in the North-East.

CB – Russell Anderson

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Anderson in 2013

Aberdeen legend the skipper retired at the end of the 2015/16 season only managing to play one game. Suffering from an injury Anderson missed most the season. The skipper will be regarded by most as a Dons legend and continues to work in a corporate role at Pittodrie.

CB – Mark Reynolds

A solid performer throughout his time at Pittodrie, Reynolds continues to play an integral role in the Dons defence. Taking over as skipper for most the 2015/16 season (during Russell Andersons long injury) Reynolds has played a big role at Pittodrie rarely missing a game. Sometimes underrated, the no nonsense defender has managed to keep his place in the side.

LB – Clark Robertson

Another player never given a chance at Pittodrie, (mainly due to injury) Robertson left Aberdeen at the end of the 2014/15 season. He joined Blackpool where he was relegated during the 2015/16 season. He remained at the Seasiders and was promoted back to League 1 via the playoffs 2016/17.

CM – Ryan Jack

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Jack announced as a Rangers man

Having a successful spell at Aberdeen, Jack was named captain after Russell Anderson’s retirement. Jack was linked to Everton and Napoli during his time with Aberdeen but remained in the North-East until his contract expired. The man from the North-East joined his boyhood club Rangers on a free at the end of the 2016/17 season. The former Aberdeen skipper caused controversy in his move failing to announce his signing or thank the fans. Jack has featured in a lacklustre European campaign, falling at the first hurdle to FC Progrès Niederkorn.

CM – Gavin Rae

Returning to Dundee after his 18 month spell at Aberdeen, Rae now resides in Australia playing his football with Hakoah Sydney City East FC. “I used to sit in the Merkland Road Stand with my dad and watch the games when I was young” Rae said during a 2012 interview with The Herald.

CM – Rob Milsom

Another player who left at the beginning of the McInnes era, Milsom moved onto Rotherham. He was part of the squad which gained promotion through the play-offs in 2014. He went out on loan to bury in 2014 before making a move to Notts County where he continues to play his football.

RM – Jonny Hayes

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Hayes announced as a Celtic player

Arguably Aberdeen’s best player this decade Hayes stepped up his game under McInnes. His ability to beat a man was unrivalled and saw him nominated for two PFA Player of the Season awards. Hayes joined Celtic during the summer of 2016/17 to the dismay of the Aberdeen faithful.

LM – Niall McGinn

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McGinn signing for Gwangju

The Irishmen became a key player during Aberdeen’s success under McInnes. His ability on the wing and constant supply of goals saw him retain his place as a fan favourite at Pittodrie. McGinn left Aberdeen at the end of the 2016/17 season as his contract expired. McGinn has gone onto sign for Korean side Gwangju becoming the first Irishman to play in the K-League

ST – Josh Magennis

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Magennis speaking to the press on Northern Ireland duty

The striker left Aberdeen at the of the 2013/14 season to join Kilmarnock after a loan at Saint Mirren. After a successful Euro 2016 Magennis completed a transfer to Charlton on a two year deal.

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Cropsey – An Intriguing Netflix Watch

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A documentary delving into the mystery that surrounds an urban legend turned to the stuff of nightmares on Staten Island. Two documentary makers share the tales of the urban legend they shared between their friends during their childhood which mirrors a real life crime in a terrifying tale.

The film is a strange one. It doesn’t give a concrete answer but, it makes the viewer think more than anything. It summarises the story of the Cropsey, the urban legend and then looks in-depth at real life Cropsey Andre Rand.

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Andre Rand in custody 1987

Rand a worker at the closed down Willowbrook Mental Asylum he is suspected and later convicted with the kidnapping of a girl from Staten Island. The film looks back at the latest case in back in 2009 when the documentary was made. Throughout the feature documentary studies in-depth other disappearances the real life Cropsey is suspected of being responsible for.

The film is a great look at Staten Island’s past and overall is a great crime documentary. It creates the perception that sometimes the lines between reality and fiction blur in devastating ways.

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A Premier Signing?

Aberdeen look set to sign Shaun Maloney on a free transfer after the he rejected a one year contract extension at recently relegated Hull City. Maloney looks set to return to his hometown as he has agreed a deal at Aberdeen pending the results of a medical.

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Maloney in Premier League action

Derek McInnes is a mastermind at bringing in top quality talent and Maloney (if he signs) is another magical piece of business. Maloney may be aging but, he definitely has something to offer the side.

At 35, Maloney has retained his technical ability, his ability to pass and strike a ball make him an ideal number 10. Playing in behind Adam Rooney or potentially Stevie May, could be the ideal role for the ex-Celtic man. Not possessing the greatest physical attributes it would make more sense for him to play in a central role.

Maloney is renowned for his set-pieces. A corner and free-kick specialist he has proven many times for club and country his ability from a dead-ball situation. With the departure of Niall McGinn (although rumours online suggest he may stay) Aberdeen lack a set-piece taker and this is where Maloney can set himself apart from the rest of the squad.

Something invaluable Maloney offers is his experience. At 35 he has played his fair share of football in some top leagues. The transfer is similar to one of the Pittodrie Bosses first. Barry Robson brought in by McInnes was key to the Dons revival during the 2013/14 season and the Maloney could provide similar experience during the Dons ‘re-build’.

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Dons Disaster – I Think Not!

It has been hailed as the end of an era for Aberdeen, many of the players’ key to the Dons success during the McInnes reign have left. The Aberdeen squad has be obliterated and McInnes needs to rebuild, but, this might not be as bad as it seems.

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McGinn, Hayes, Jack, Taylor and Pawlett all players who have played a big part at Pittodrie have left. Whether it has been on a free or a transfer it isn’t that bad. Hayes departure obviously will be the biggest miss. Everything Aberdeen done the last few season went through the Irishman and when he wasn’t in the squad the side didn’t perform nearly as well. However his departure has been a sad one for the Dons fans and I think it has been made out to be worse than it is.

Hayes who is about to turn 30, bases his game on his speed. He has good technical ability but without his pace that would mean nothing. Generally when players hit 30 they begin to lose their pace (I’m not saying this will happen to Hayes) and for players who rely on pace it can ruin their game. If this does happen to Hayes, cashing in for him now will be daylight robbery.

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Hayes Posing in New Celtic Kit

Although I doubt this will happen, Hayes is a quality player and an Aberdeen without him is ultimately a weaker Aberdeen.

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McGinn in action during the Betfred Cup Final

The other departures aren’t a big issue. McGinn went missing at times last season and never really showed up in the big games. He is replaceable. Scott Wright showed what he can do at the tail-end of last season against Partick Thistle and McInnes putting his trust in him may allow for him to develop into a more complete winger. Although McGinn will be missed as an experienced first team player, who has been a fans favourite since his arrival.

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Jack Announced as a Rangers Man

Ryan Jack departure is disappointing not from the quality lost but, the way he treated the fans. He is a Rangers fan and wanting to join them is ok, but, don’t disrespect the fans that supported you through times where other fans didn’t. Announce it in a respectable way and thank them. Jack was a good player and was solid playing in-front of the defence, but, he can be replaced.

Tansey coming in on a free is the perfect replacement for Jack. A defensive player with better attacking ability than Jack, why would Aberdeen not rather have Tansey?

Taylor’s departure couldn’t have come soon enough to some Dons fans. Taylor was a decent player but too many mistakes ruined his game. If he wasn’t error prone he’d be a great centre back but, he’s extremely error prone. Every time Taylor got the ball at Pittodrie, the fans would project this gasp of nerves that epitomised Taylor’s time at Pittodrie.

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Pawlett and former Hearts manager Robbie Neilson

Pawlett’s departure to MK Dons is being overlooked by Dons fans. He may not have been as big a player as he was during the 2013/14 season where Peter Pawlett Baby was sung from the stands. However he could’ve had a part to play this season with all the departures.

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Ryan Christie in action for the Dons

Ryan Christie and Greg Stewart have arrive on season long loans which is good business, but to mount a challenge next season Aberdeen need some more quality signings. It may also be a good time to give the youth a chance. Aberdeen have some decent youth prospects and given them a shot may pay off.