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AFCCT Challenge Match | Meet The Players

June 13, 2018 1:53 pm Author: AFC Media Team


On the 29th of June the second-ever AFCCT Challenge Match will take place at Balmoral Stadium, new home to Cove Rangers. Members of the Red Army have the special opportunity to face some of their heroes as a team of Former AFC players will line up on the other side.

The inaugural match in 2016/17 finished 13-4 to the former players team and this time they are under the watchful eye of ex assistant manager Willie Garner who will be looking to put the Red Army to the sword once again. King Joey will be doing all he can to get a better result this year and will be in the dugout against his former teammate and friend Garner.

The Challenge Match will be supported by APEX Tubulars, ESWL, Central Coaches and Village Hotel with proceeds going to the AFCCT and Befriend A Child, the chosen charity of our hosts Cove Rangers.

We can now reveal some of the Former Players side that will be lead out by Russell Anderson once again and he’s assembled a strong side to take on the supporters under the lights at Balmoral:

Willem Van Der Ark

Standing at 6ft 5in, the big Dutchman joined The Dons in 1989 from Willem II and was the first of the Dutch contingent that would sign at Pittodrie at that time. A goal on his debut against Motherwell made him an instant hit with the supporters and Willem would play his part in the Cup double success of season 89/90.

Russell Anderson


The former Dons captain is back to lead the former players team again after last seasons match. A product of the AFC Youth Academy, Russell came through the ranks at Pittodrie and made his debut as an 18-year-old in 1997. He would go on to be a mainstay Aberdeen sides over the years, despite a struggling team. Given the captaincy by Steve Paterson, he was a rock at the heart of the Dons defence and eventually earned a £1m transfer to Sunderland. Injuries plagued his time in England and he returned home in 2012, which to the delight of everyone associated with the club resulted in Russell lifting Aberdeen’s first trophy in 19 years – the 2014 League Cup.

Paul Mason

The Scouser was snapped up by manager Alex Smith in 1988 following a remarkable four years in The Netherlands for Groningen. Highly rated and tracked by a number of big clubs at the time, The Dons were able to bring Mason back to the UK and he played a key role in the team that won both the League Cup and Scottish Cup wins in 89/90. The League Cup Final proved to be his finest hour in a red shirt as his double against Rangers brought the trophy to Pittodrie.

Kevin McNaughton

After coming through the youth ranks at Pittodrie and part of the Youth Cup winning squad in 2001, Kevin McNaughton was thrown into the first team as a 17-year-old and was a mainstay in his time at the club. A versatile player who could play on the right or left, his pace was a strong asset for The Dons. Kevin left Aberdeen in 2006 for Cardiff and became a star for the Welsh side as they aimed for the English Premier League. He played in every round in the club’s journey to the FA Cup Final in 2008 and in 2013 they finally achieved promotion to the top-flight in which McNaughton was a regular in the teamsheet. McNaughton would leave Cardiff and sign for Wigan before returning to Scotland with Inverness CT in 2016. Sadly, after starting the season brightly, Kevin was injured and forced to miss the majority of the season. Upon leaving Inverness he was able to pull on the Dons red shirt one last time in a friendly against St Johnstone last season as Derek McInnes allowed the former player to train with the club.

Derek Young

Another product of the Youth Academy, Derek along with his brother Darren emerged in the first team under Ebbe Skovdahl. After 129 first team appearances, Derek left to join high-flying Dunfermline and collected Scottish Cup and League Cup runners-up medals in his time at East End Park before moving onto St Johnstone and Partick Thistle. He returned to Pittodrie in 2007 and was part of the team that reached the last 32 of the UEFA Cup. Young would play over 100 games in his second spell before moving on at the end of the 2010/11 season.

Darren Young

Joining his brother Derek at Pittodrie, Darren broke into the team during 1996/97 and showed a promising start to his career, but was halted due to injuries. He came back would take over as captain of the club after Derek Whyte left at the end of the 2001/02 season. Young would take The Dons into Europe the following season and joined Dunfermline the following season with his brother. Once again, he was given the armband and played in both national cup finals as The Pars were seen off by Celtic and would later play for Dundee, Morton, Alloa and Albion Rovers. He would venture into management with Albion and is now in charge of East Fife in League One.

Dougie Bell

A man for the big games, Dougie Bell was an integral part of the Dons team that conquered Scottish and European football in the early 1980’s. Signed by his former manager, Alex Ferguson, from St Mirren he would go onto play 185 times for Aberdeen. Unfortunately, Dougie Bell never made it to Gothenburg in the playing squad as injury in the weeks leading up to the final cruelly denied the midfielder his chance, but he more than played his part on the journey including a vital away goal against Lech Poznan in the second round. A popular figure with the fans, Bell returns to the AFCCT match for the second season running.


There will also be guest appearances from The Chairman, Stewart Milne and lifelong Dandy, broadcaster and friend of the club, Richard Gordon at some point of the match depending if their fitness holds out! Former goalkeeper Theo Snelders will also be in attendance on the evening, but will not take part in the match.

Tickets are available to purchase online now via afc.co.uk/eTickets at the early bird price. Cash turnstiles will be available on the night and we look forward to welcoming as many fans as possible for what will be another great occasion.

Keep an eye out this week as we reveal who else will be joining the Former Players team.

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