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By ESPN Staff

Aberdeen in shock after Calderwood departure

Aberdeen are looking for their first new manager for five years following the shock departure of Jimmy Calderwood.

Calderwood bid a tearful farewell to Pittodrie, hours after masterminding the Dons' 2-1 victory over Hibernian on the final day of the Premier League season.

That result saw Aberdeen snatch the SPL's last remaining Europa League spot, the second time Calderwood had led the club into Europe in three years.

The 54-year-old refused to comment as he left Pittodrie for the final time but he appeared to have been crying.

The precise reasons behind the departure of Calderwood and assistants Jimmy Nicholl and Sandy Clark were unclear, although chairman Stewart Milne revealed the decision for club and manager to part company was made before yesterday's match.

Milne said: ''It was really in the last week (that the decision was made). The club and Jimmy have made the decision that this is the right time to part company.''

Milne denied Calderwood's failure to bring a trophy to Pittodrie was the reason behind his departure.

''We jointly believe this is the right time for the club and Jimmy to part company,'' he said.

''He has been here for five years and we believe this is the right time for the club to make a change and Jimmy believes the same.''

Milne added the club will start looking for Calderwood's replacement today.

He said: ''The decision is now public. We have now got to set about finding a new manager.''

The club issued a statement on Calderwood's behalf, which read: ''Aberdeen is such a wonderful club and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here, as indeed have Jimmy and Sandy.

''However, after five seasons, I feel the time is right for a fresh challenge. I'm moving on with so many happy memories of the club and the area and I would like to thank the fans for their support as the vast majority have been fantastic.

''I would also wish Aberdeen Football Club all the very best for the future and I depart knowing my successor will have a solid platform from which to move forward, including the return of European football next season.''

Director of football Willie Miller added: ''On behalf of everyone at the club, I would like to thank Jimmy, Jimmy and Sandy for the substantial contribution they have made in stabilising things over the past five years, including, of course, qualification again for Europe.

''When they arrived, there was a massive rebuilding task required and subsequently we have seen the fruits of their efforts with regular top-six finishes in the league and a return to Europe, notably the fantastic run two seasons ago that saw us reach the last 32 of the UEFA Cup.

''While the absence of a domestic trophy continues to be a source of frustration for everyone connected with AFC, the three of them can be proud of what they have achieved and we wish them every success for the future.''

Miller's statement hinted at the most controversial aspect of Calderwood's reign.

Despite last season's thrilling UEFA Cup run, the Dons suffered a number of shock domestic cup defeats in recent years, prompting the AFC Trust to write to Miller demanding the manager's removal.

For Calderwood's part, the 54-year-old was forced to work against a backdrop of financial constraint, which saw key players move on throughout his tenure.

Speaking shortly before his departure was confirmed, he told BBC Scotland: ''We could have had a magnificent team.''

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