The Dons are hoping to quit Pittodrie and move to a new stadium at Loirston Loch by the summer of 2013 and the Red Army are making it their mission to get the man they have known and loved for 20 years as a player and a coach, a well deserved testimonial match.
Neil played for the club in the glory days under Alex Ferguson (before he was a Sir), when the Dons dominated not only Scotland but also became the kings of Europe winning the Cup Winners Cup and the Super Cup.
Simmy played a vital part in those wins scoring in the famous 3-2 win over Bayern Munich at Pittodrie, the semi -final hammering of Waterschei and also the Super Cup win over Hamburg, scoring the first goal in a 2-0 win over the German side at Pittodrie to give Aberdeen two European trophies and to this day, the Dons still hold that proud record.
After signing for Aberdeen in 1978, Simmy would go on to form part of the spine of the most successful Dons side in history. A good all round midfielder his main strength was his power and drive and provided the perfect partner for Neale Cooper as they would win the ball and provide Gordon Strachan and Peter Weir with the energy in the middle of the park as the wide men provided the ammo for the front men.
But Simmy could play alright and he would run all day for you!
The Waterschei defence did not know how to stop him or Dougie Bell in the semi final of the European Cup Winners Cup.as both men destroyed them. Simmy scored one goal after losing three men and Dougie’s name still gives the Waterschei defenders nightmares!
On the 11th May 1983, you could pick any one of the players in a red shirt, they had all been heroes but on a heavy pitch, saturated by the torrential rain, Simmy never stopped running, you could argue that he was the man of the match that night.
He was a loyal servant to the Dons, when others left as he just wanted to play for the team he supported as a boy.
He was consistent in his performances for the club and he was a massive favourite with the fans, that is why they want this testimonial for him!
In his time at Pittodrie he won every domestic honour, League Championship’s, Scottish Cups and the League Cup as well representing his country at all levels.
He played alongside some of the greatest players ever to wear a red shirt and also played under a fantastic manager who believed in giving youth a chance, perhaps this is why he is best suited to his post of Head of the Youth Academy at Aberdeen Football Club.
Now as the Head of the club’s Youth Academy as he looks to bring the stars of the future through as Simmy himself came through as a youngster with Eric Black, John Hewitt and Neale Cooper making the grade alongside him.
He can not only give these kids his great coaching experience but also tell them what it was like to play for this great Aberdeen side in the 80’s and if any of them make the first time, he can guide them through what to expect as an Aberdeen player.
But from next summer, he will also be helping find and develop the Scotland stars of the future as the cream of the crop will head to the city’s Hazlehead Academy for not only normal school lessons but daily football coaching lessons.
This is something that club’s in Europe do and can only benefit the kids schooling and indeed their football skills long-term.
Simmy has given everything to Aberdeen Football Club over the years and anyone who knows him, will know he is a really decent guy who loves Aberdeen Football Club.
Will the club now give the supporters what they want and what Neil deserves?
Many Dons fans may feel that Simmy is just one of a number of former players who should be granted a testimonial, it is up to them to communicate with the club to put names forward but at this time the main concern is getting one for the man they call “Simmy”.