Following on from the dismissal of Mark McGhee, Craig Brown and Archie Knox took up the management role at Aberdeen, facing a very challenging situation with the team having slumped to a dangerously low ebb in the League. Before they had even properly taken charge the management team had to witness a heavy away defeat at Tynecastle that saw the Dons anchored to the bottom of the League. After that though, Craig and Archie brought a very positive influence to bear on their players and the ship was immediately steadied with the team ultimately fighting their way to a 9th place finish.
During that first season, Craig led his player to Hampden park for both the League Cup and Scottish Cup semi-finals. Through the following two season rebuilding of the playing squad continued and new players were brought in, including youngsters who would go on to develop into important first team choices.
Late in season 2012-2013, Craig decided to retire from management and chose to go before the end of the season to allow his successor, Derek McInnes, to start working with the players before the summer break. The Club was very conscious of Craig Brown's vast and valuable experience in the game and he was immediately invited to join the board and continue his welcome association with Aberdeen FC.