Brian Mitchell Interview

Brian Mitchell was born in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire on the 16th July 1963, he began his football career with King Street Belmont Football Club before signing a professional deal with Aberdeen Football Club in 1981. Signed by Sir Alex Ferguson, he made his debut for the club on the 10th April 1982 at Easter Road in a 3-0 vistory over Hibernian as the Dons finished runners-up in the Scottish Premier League, whilst winning the Scottish Cup.

After spending six years with Aberdeen Football Club were he made 65 appearances, scoring 1 goal, he left Pittodrie in February 1987 to move south of the border and join Bradford City for £70,000. Signed by Terry Dolan his time with the Bantams proved to be the most successful time of his playing career, as he went on to become the clubs first team right-back making 178 appearances,scoring 9 goals in a five year spell at Valley Parade.

After leaving Bradford City he spent the 1992-93 season at Ashton Gate with Bristol City were he made 16 appearances for the club, before moving on to Hull City for the 1993 – 94 season were he made just 9 appearances before retiring at the end of that season. He then returned to the Aberdeen where he worked in sports development for the local council.

INTERVIEW

What is your best football highlight?

It’s very difficult to give just one highlight, there are three things that stand out from my career. The first is being part of the great 1980’s Aberdeen squad under Sir Alex Ferguson, the second highlight would be scoring the winning goal that knocked Tottenham Hotspurs out of the 1989 FA Cup and also getting the chance to play in some of the iconic grounds in the English Football League.

What is your biggest football disappointments?

A couple of things that spring to mind, the first has to be not signing for Sunderland when they got promoted to the Premier League, the club offered a contract but I stayed with my current club. The second would be having to retire from the game due to injury.

Toughest Opponent?

In terms of teams both the Old Form clubs (Glasgow Celtic & Glasgow Rangers) were tough opponents when I was playing in Scotland with Aberdeen. Whilst In England it would have to be Stoke City as it meant facing Peter Beagrie and I always found him difficult to play against.

Best player you played with and why?

Stuart McCall, whilst I was playing at Bradford City he had great drive and determination. He was the engine room of the midfield making some excellent tackles in the middle of the park and he could also pass the ball. He was a true inspirtional captain and continues to inspire the club today as the manager. However there were many others that were part of the Aberdeen side such as Willie Miller, Alex McLeish and Gordon Strachan.

Best player you played against and why?

Paul Gascoigne, a creative hard-working and technically gifted playmaker, Gazza was capable both of scoring and setting up goals due to his passing accuracy and powerful striking ability and heading ability. He had pace and physical strength, balance and excellent dribbling skills which allowed him to protect the ball, beat opponents whilst withstand physical challenges.

Best goal you scored and why?

I would have to list two goals for different reasons, the first would be the winning goal for Bradford City to knock Tottenham out of the FA Cup, it was a quick free-kick which found me at the edge of the box and my shot across the area beat Bobby Mimms. The second would have to be my goal against Bournemouth in the league, when I scored a volley direct from a corner that flew into the top corner.

Best Manager you played for and why?

Sir Alex Ferguson without question, the team he created at Aberdeen in the 1980’s was excellent, it was the most successful period in the clubs history winning the Scottish League and a number of cup competitions including the European Cup. He was an oustanding man manager and always got the best out of the players.

If you could change one thing in football what would it be and why?

Allow tackling, as it is a skill in itself and at the moment it’s being taken out of the game. The referee’s are two quick these days to bring out a yellow or red card for tackles that in my day didn’t even warrant a card.

What are you doing after retiring from the game?

I work as a Active Sports Manager in a partnership with Sports Scotland & Aberdeenshire Council coaching people on health & wellbeing. I took the chance to go back to university and complete a degree after I retired from the game.

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