Brown justifies Motherwell exit

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The Independent Football

Craig Brown today argued that no-one had any right to criticise his service to Motherwell as he was unveiled as Aberdeen manager.

Brown quit his Fir Park role on Thursday night, 24 hours after publicly reaffirming his commitment to the club in the wake of interest from the Dons.

The 70-year-old had returned to Motherwell in December last year, initially as interim manager, but never signed a contract despite agreeing to stay for the long term.

The former Scotland manager claims he had a verbal agreement that either party could end the relationship without compensation.

Motherwell chairman John Boyle has been angered by the manner of his departure, reporting Aberdeen to the Scottish Premier League for approaching Brown without consent.

But Brown, who began his professional coaching career at Fir Park as assistant manager to Willie McLean, insists he has no reason to feel guilty over his departure.

"I was at Motherwell twice, I have a very great affection for Motherwell Football Club," he said.

"I was there in the 70s, fourth in the league and two semi-finals.

"I have a great affection for Motherwell and I hope it's reciprocated. I don't see why it shouldn't be.

"The commitment I gave in the 70s and last year - we answered a call, we went to Motherwell and did our best, and we've answered a call here. I don't think it should be an issue."

Although Motherwell have been highly critical of Aberdeen's conduct in the wake of their manager's departure, Brown feels there is no suggestion from the Fir Park board that he acted improperly.

The club released a lengthy statement saying they were "surprised and disappointed" by the decision of Brown to depart along with assistant Archie Knox, adding that they had too much respect for the pair not to wish them well.

The statement added that "loyalty is clearly all too rare in football".

Brown said: "I have got to say to you that the statement from Motherwell Football Club has never at any time indicted me or Archie. They have thanked us, been complimentary.

"I read it carefully because had there been anything which implied there was a lack of integrity I would have been very incensed because that would have been unfair.

"To the credit of Motherwell, they never said one word that was insulting or derogatory about Archie or me."

Brown, whose first match in charge comes against Motherwell at Pittodrie on Saturday, added: "I don't want to add fuel to the fire but what I will say quite honestly is my conscience is totally clear."

Brown and Knox, who was assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson during Aberdeen's glory days in the 1980s, were given a stark reminder of the scale of their task when they watched their new team lose 5-0 at Hearts on Saturday to go bottom of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

But Brown feels his time in the international hotseat has prepared him well for meeting the expectations of the Dons fans.

"We add this to the various challenges I've had throughout my career and it is a major one," Brown said.

"With the Scottish team, you are accountable to the whole nation.

"But here the people in this area want to be proud of their team.

"Our objective quite simply is to make Aberdeen proud of their team."

Meanwhile, Brown has quickly moved to reinstall Jim Leighton as goalkeeping coach.

The recently-sacked Mark McGhee had replaced his former Aberdeen and Scotland team-mate with Colin Meldrum shortly after he made the journey from Fir Park to Pittodrie.