It would require a hard-hearted soul to watch Dave Cormack’s near-tearful address at Easter Road and question his love for Aberdeen.

But, you wonder if the best thing the chairman could do for his beloved Dons at this moment is to take a step back. These last few weeks should, at the very least, prompt some serious soul-searching within the walls of Pittodrie.

Even in Scottish football, where mishaps and mayhem lurk around every corner, the past fortnight at Aberdeen has been remarkable for its sheer chaos. A commendable, gutsy display in pushing Rangers all the way to extra-time in the Viaplay Cup semi-final did not quite feel like a major turning point in an otherwise troubled season, but when the final whistle sounded at Hampden, few will have predicted just how quickly and messily Jim Goodwin’s reign would unravel.

The 5-0 shocker at Tynecastle which followed set alarm bells ringing, although some observers contended the emphatic scoreline was not quite representative of the 90 minutes. There was, however, no defending last Monday’s humiliation at Darvel. A Scottish Cup fourth round defeat to a sixth-tier, semi-professional outfit has been justifiably described as the worst result in Aberdeen’s long, proud history.

It was argued, with merit, in the aftermath that the club simply cannot go on sacking managers and the man in the dugout needs time and backing. But there are some results from which you simply just do not recover, and the Dons’ disaster in Darvel was one of them.

The gutlessness with which they went down to a hungrier opponent made it blindingly obvious this group of players were no longer on board with their boss, and the embarrassment suffered by a support already unconvinced by his work was too much for any prospect of reparations to overcome.

It was over when the full-time whistle sounded at Recreation Park, and it should have been made official shortly after. The statement on Goodwin’s future which followed did no one any favours – not the manager, fans, players, nor the ‘football monitoring board’ themselves. More on the phrase that launched a thousand Tweets later, though.

The ill-advised missive was supposed be a show of support for Goodwin (or was it? I still can’t decide), but its sign-off basically confirmed if his team lost to Hibs then that backing would be immediately withdrawn. And so it was, precisely 19 minutes after Saturday’s 6-0 demolition on Leith.

Quite what Cormack expected to happen at Easter Road when he had effectively told Goodwin, ‘Jim, you can stay, but I need you to put your head on this chopping block’ is anyone’s guess. Extending his stay of execution achieved nothing other than subjecting the man to unnecessary humiliation, not to mention further deepening fans’ distrust of the board. The optics of Goodwin departing the stadium via crossing the pitch in full view of cameras were also branded less than dignified, although it would be premature to assume it was not his choice to do so.

To be fair to Cormack, his decision to face the media and offer an apology to fans was a commendable one. I have seen some cynically dismissing his emotional interview as a desperate attempt at saving some face with furious supporters, but if fronting up in this exposed manner was so easy then you would see plenty more chairmen getting in on the action when goodwill is hard to come by.

The fact is they hardly ever, and Cormack’s appearance before the cameras was made doubly difficult for him, voice trembling and face ashen, when his affection for the club is so clear. Insisting he shared in their despair, Cormack acknowledged, among other things, that off-field successes are of no interest to punters when 3pm on a Saturday brings nothing but misery, and vowed to get it right next time.

Such is football’s brutality, speculation over who and what comes next kicked off well before Goodwin’s desk at Cormack Park has even been cleared. And it is in this crucial next phase where those in charge at Pittodrie need to consider themselves.

READ MORE: Hibs rout shows Aberdeen need a new defence not just a new manager

Every so often, a phrase comes thundering into the Scottish football lexicon that you just know will be around for good. Aberdeen fans were the ones laughing at Rangers’ infamous use of ‘concomitant’ when then-manager Derek McInnes backtracked on leaving for Ibrox, but now it’s their turn to groan as ‘football monitoring board’ is bandied around with glee on social media and beyond.

The biggest groan, mind you, ought to come from the four men on it, because their credibility has taken a serious hit. Without being privy to the deepest workings of Pittodrie’s innermost sanctum, it seems all the big football decisions at Aberdeen are being made by Cormack, Stewart Milne, Steven Gunn and Willie Garner.

Their monitoring of the football in recent times should suggest something about this arrangemtn is not working as it should. Goodwin, after Stephen Glass, is the second consecutive managerial appointment which has failed badly despite significant investment being made on transfers. Might there be a case for the football monitoring board requiring more football expertise?

Some fans may be calling for complete clearout at all levels, but perhaps finding someone with a track record of delivering an effective football operation would be a sensible starting point. A functioning club needs all manner of different backgrounds and skillsets, but Aberdeen’s most important off-field unit appears to be lacking an expert football brain.

Whoever picks up the pieces will know further expenditure on the squad will, of course, be required, but not every recent foray into the signing market has been a disaster. Additions such as Kelle Roos, Graeme Shinnie, Ylber Ramadani, Duk and Bojan Miovski are hardly at the root of Aberdeen’s problems, so it would be false to assert that a new manager would have nothing to work with. However, given the rapid deterioration in recent weeks, Goodwin’s successor might view the current squad with an understandable degree of suspicion.

Cormack rightly points out that Aberdeen continue to grow off the pitch, and it’s clear they are open to progressive ideas and approaches, even if they are not currently being executed properly. It might involve the chairman ceding some level of control, potentially difficult when his ownership appears to be a labour of love, but it may just be what they need at this moment. They certainly cannot continue as they are.

I do sometimes wonder, other than a massive case of heart ruling head, why immensely successful businesspeople willingly put themselves through the torture of owning and running a football club. Cormack has made mistakes, no doubt, but his heart is in the right place and he has ploughed a substantial sum into an institution to which he is genuinely devoted. That in itself, is more than many fans can say of their club's owners.

Regardless, Cormack will know that alone is not enough. He can still make Aberdeen a success under his stewardship, but he needs to start getting the big decisions right.

And that, ultimately, starts with who is making them.