Stewart Milne can step down as Aberdeen chairman with his head held high, insists club legend Joe Harper.
It is understood Milne is set to call time on his 21-year spell as chairman, with vice-chairman Dave Cormack set to take over the reins.
Aberdeen are opting not to comment on speculation regarding Milne’s future.
However, an announcement on a major changing of the guard at Pittodrie is expected over the weekend.
Harper hailed Milne for keeping the club going in difficult financial times and for transforming the Reds into a debt-free club.
The club’s all-time leading scorer also praised Milne for pushing forward with the Kingsford plans.
Aberdeen recently completed the £13 million Cormack Park training facility and plan to deliver a £45m stadium for summer 2023.
Harper said: “Stewart Milne will be able to step down as chairman with his head held high.
“He has kept the club going and afloat over the years.
“During his time at the club he has done a remarkable job for Aberdeen.
“Under his guidance Aberdeen have become a club without any debt. That is something not many clubs can say.
“He would leave the club in a very strong position.”
Milne joined the Pittodrie board in 1994 and became chairman four years later.
Aberdeen became debt-free in early 2015 when their net debt of £14.49m was cleared due to restructuring when Willie Donald and his wife Elaine became shareholders in the club.
Under Milne, Aberdeen secured the League Cup in 2014.
Aberdeen’s annual accounts are due for publication on Monday.
It is understood current vice-chairman Cormack is set to increase his stake in the club by buying shares from Milne.
US based multi-millionare Cormack returned to Pittodrie in 2016 following a brief spell as chief executive more than 15 years earlier.
He was made vice-chairman in December last year and has secured investment in the club from America, with US millionaire Tom Crotty joining the board earlier this year.
Crotty has already invested in excess of £1m.
Harper said: “Stewart has pushed through the move to Kingsford and delivered that first phase.
“If he is stepping aside it will open the way for someone else to bring in new ideas and investment.
“He will leave the club in a strong position and I am looking forward to what the future holds.”
Milne was at the forefront of driving forward the move to Kingsford, which has already had phase one completed with the training facility.
Harper said: “The club will move forward in raising the £45m for the stadium.
“Aberdeen only get about 13,000 or 14,000 at Pittodrie on a Saturday.
“When there is a game on is the only real time they make money from Pittodrie.
“With the new stadium they will have a facility companies want to use during the week for function rooms.
“That will see the club make money during the week.
“It is all about getting a stadium that can deliver revenue which will allow them to compete with Rangers and Celtic.
“Pittodrie is costing them at least £1m per year just for its upkeep.”
Meanwhile, former Aberdeen forward Duncan Shearer says it would be no surprise if Milne decided the time was right to move on.
He said: “I’m not really shocked because I know Stewart Milne has said for a long time that if the right person came along he would be happy to step aside. If he is deciding to leave, then Aberdeen have been lucky to have him at the helm for so long.
“A lot of people don’t see the amount of money he has put into the club over the years.
“I have always had a lot of respect for him.
“There have been difficult periods over the years when he has received stick from the fans.
“But I think the fans will realise he has done a good job.
“He only picked up the one trophy and I know he would have wanted to have won more.
“You could tell how much the League Cup win in 2014 meant to him.
“But they were close on numerous occasions.
“There has been a lot of stability at Aberdeen in recent years.
“They have established themselves right at the top of Scottish football and been the club that has been pushing Celtic hard in recent years.
“They now have a new training ground so everything at the club seems on the up.
“Stewart maybe thinks this is the right time to walk away.”