Every team needs a Darren Mackie. While the Inverurie born striker's raw footballing ability is perhaps questionable, his commitment to Aberdeen Football Club is not up for debate. A brief loan spell at nearby Inverness aside, Mackie has spent his entire footballing career at Pittodrie, scoring 56 goals in 294 league appearances. Despite this relatively modest strike rate, Mackie is able to boast the title of Aberdeen's all time leading SPL goalscorer, although this is a statistic borne perhaps more from lack of competition than anything else.
Despite this distinguished accolade, Mackie is often a much maligned figure among Aberdeen fans, with his regular contract extensions being greeted by howls of derision. To be fiar to the naysayers, Mackie is far from the most elegant of strikers. His first touch has more in common with a pass and his attempts to get the ball under control can be as frustrating as they are endearing. However, despite lacking one of the fundamental requirements of a top level footballer, Mackie is not without his talents. Although his all too frequent injuries have taken their toll, he is far from slow and never stops running. He is as enthusiastic as a puppy and never shies away from a challenge, possessing an aggressive streak that belies his modest physique. In short - Mackie is a workhorse who would run through brick walls for his beloved Aberdeen.
The bottom line is that if all players had Darren Mackie's attitude to the game then football would be a better sport, particularly for fans of the more modest clubs such as Aberdeen. It's true that Mackie has most likely never been the subject of too many big money transfers, but given his many spells on the sidelines were he cut of a different cloth he would have angled for a transfer a long time ago. How many other players have managed to break the ten goal season barrier for us more than once? And from those who have managed it how many have stayed, and how many have failed to resist the bright lights of the English Championship (I'm looking at you Lee Miller, lavish transfer fee or not!)
Whether he manages to recapture his best form or not, I think that Darren is an example to follow for some of our younger stars, at least if we want them to remain loyal to Aberdeen. He may not be the most fashionable of players but he has provided the Aberdeen faithful with countless happy memories over his career. How many other players in the recent past can share in that sentiment?
Get well soon Dazzler.