Scottish football baffled as Brown seeks last hurrah at Aberdeen
If you were in the Motherwell area around 5pm on Saturday night and heard some loud, raucous laughter, chances are it may well have been that of chairman John Boyle on hearing the Aberdeen result.
The Dons were stuffed 5-0 by Hearts at Tynecastle and plunged to the bottom of the SPL. If new manager Craig Brown, who controversially walked out on the Fir Park club at the end of last week, didn't fully know the size of job on his hands, he does now on the back of Saturday's showing.
BrownÃ¢ÂÂs decision to leave a young Motherwell squad with plenty of potential and scaling the upper echelons of the SPL for an Aberdeen side with too many underachieving players and staring at the cold abyss of Division One has baffled many in Scotland.
Motherwell fans are understandably upset. Not only is Brown the second manager they've lost to Aberdeen within 18 months, following in the footsteps of Mark McGhee, but he had also proven to be extremely popular since rescuing the club from the disastrous six-month tenure of Jim Gannon, who seemed more hell bent on falling out with everyone in Scottish football.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the whole scenario is that Brown had always come across, firstly as the sort of jolly uncle you'd like to see at Christmas, but also as an honest guy with integrity and morals in a football sense - but it appears he's let his head get turned easily by whatever Aberdeen have offered. The move cannot be borne out of financial gain, principally as the Dons don't have any money, but whatever incentives they've have offered have somehow persuaded him.
Brown won't find many friends on his next return to Fir Park
He wasn't under contract at Motherwell, so was technically able to walk away for nothing. The Fir Park side though are upset at the Dons' conduct in recruiting their manager and intend to report them to the SPL over their perceived actions.
The statement issued by Motherwell after Craig Brown's resignation read: "We wish to make clear that, as a Board, we believe that the conduct of Aberdeen in this matter has been wholly inappropriate and in breach of SPL rules as well as basic courtesy.
"At no point did they inform us or seek our permission to speak to critical employees of our club and to seek to entice them to leave our employment." Strong words, and Motherwell have since made formal their complaints to the SPL over Aberdeen's approach.
But in many ways, Aberdeen are like Newcastle in so far as they are a one club city, with demanding fans, some of whom believe they should be in far loftier positions than those they generally, and usually deservedly, occupy. In this way Brown could feel a bit like the Toon Army's new boss Alan Pardew.
From Aberdeen's point of view, it's a decent appointment and the fans may well be pleased with it. Here they've got a manager with a good track record, not only at Motherwell, but with Scotland as well and at the very least could bring some much stability. But then Mark McGhee had a decent record as a manager before he turned up at Pittodrie.
This could be a last hurrah for Brown and assistant Archie Knox, who is back at Pittodrie where he enjoyed much success during the club's golden period in the 80's as the right hand man of Alex Ferguson. They also look set to keep the old guard going in the SPL.
Affectionately known as Jack and Victor, named after the two OAP characters from BBC Scotland sitcom "Still Game", they are laughing in the faces of age jokes and proving there is life in the old dogs yet. Unlike Walter Smith, who has decided he wants to shuffle off to the managerial retirement home at the end of the season when he leaves Rangers, Brown and Knox are keen to keep on scrapping away. But there's no doubt BrownÃ¢ÂÂs reputation will have been dented by this whole episode.
Stories were circulated on Friday afternoon that former Dundee pair Gordon Chisholm and Billy Dodds were in talks to become the new management team at Fir Park. These rumours proved to be untrue, but ideally, if Motherwell can get a quick resolution to the situation, then that can only be a positive.
But the potential new men won't be afforded the sort of trust Craig Brown and Archie Knox had in terms of contracts, particularly if they both continue or even improve on what their predecessors did.