Earlier this month, Aberdeen confirmed Nicky Weaver as their sixth summer signing. Nicky joins Willo Flood, Barry Robson, Calvin Zola, Gregg Wylde and Lawrence Shankland as new recruits at Pittodrie as Derek McInnes looks to have woven together a formidable team for next season.
Nicky Weaver will be best remembered by the Dons fans for taking a snowball to the face from a packed Shed in the 2010 New Year derby game. He took the banter well that day and has shown there are no hard feelings by joining the Reds. The shortness of his deal though, may indicate that he plans to get away from Pittodrie before the snow arrives in the north-east.
Nicky also becomes the third ex-Dundee Utd player to sign for the Dons this summer, something the fans will no doubt delight in winding up our friends from down the A90 about.
Despite snowball-gate, Nicky held his own that game as indeed, bar a 7-1 mauling at Ibrox, he did throughout his time at the Tannadice club. He was there for five months and kept six clean sheets, including one at Pittodrie in a 2-0 win for the Tangerines.
I think everyone agrees a keeper was needed, but some will be disappointed that Weaver has only signed a short-term deal, and will most likely just be a back up to Langfield. Jamie ‘Clangers’ Langfield is certainly one that divides the Aberdeen support. He can pull off a world-class save one minute and throw the ball into his own net the next.
One issue with Langfield is that he does not seem to perform well under pressure. Ever since Noel Hunt charged down a clearance and the ball cannoned off him into the net in January 2008, Langfield seems to have at least one howler against United every game, and their fans don’t help matters by getting on his back in every match.
Nicky Weaver on the other hand, seems to be better at handling pressure. Whether it’s keeping goal in front of a Shed packed with Dandies with snowballs whizzing past your head every two minutes, or being between the sticks for a play-off final penalty shootout at Wembley with Manchester City, Weaver has shown he has the bottle to keep it together and do well in high-pressure situations.
Langfield though, has the stats on his side. Jamie has kept the fourth most clean sheets of any keeper in the SPL era. Only Rab Douglas, Stefan Klos and Allan McGregor have more shut-outs than his 86. And with those three moving on to pastures new, just 10 more would see him take pole position. To be fair though, that stat is somewhat distorted by the fact Langfield has played a lot more games than the competition. In fact, he doesn’t even feature in the top ten when the clean sheets are shown as a percentage of total games played.
Statistics aside though, love him or hate him, you can’t deny that on his day Langfield is a very good keeper, and Nicky Weaver looks like a much more solid back up than we have had in recent years.
Derek McInnes said the other week that he has only been given half the wages of the players he let go to spend on new players. With that in mind you can’t help but be impressed with what the manager has done, and if Weaver proves to be the last signing then I will have no complaints. In an ideal world we could do with strengthening a bit at the back but you can’t have everything.
I hate to say it but the turning point of last season was Ryan Whateverhisnamewas leaving for Bournemouth in January. We never replaced him and just didn’t have the same cutting edge for the rest of the season. But with Wylde filling that void as well as Zola adding a physical presence up front and Flood and Robson rejuvenating the midfield, the Dons, on paper at least, look like being a force to be reckoned with for the coming season.