Aberdeen FC’s new campus will attract major events to the north-east and make the region a “sporting powerhouse”, according to the club’s chairman.
Dons chief Stewart Milne – who has been at the helm for more than two decades – was present as the club’s long-awaited Cormack Park facility was officially opened.
Legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson cut the ribbon to mark the end of the first phase of a project which will eventually see a new stadium sit alongside.
And the potential impact of the £12 million training centre on communities across the north-east has already been hailed by club chiefs and council leaders.
Milne said: “Cormack Park is a development which will help attract major sporting events to the north-east.
“It forms part of the regeneration we are seeing across the city and region and will make the north-east a sporting powerhouse.
“It’s a major milestone in the club’s history.”
He added: “The focus now has to be on getting this investment to work and on making sure it starts paying dividends – both in terms of the impact on the pitch and the impact it will have on the community.”
The facility bears the name of Dave Cormack, the club’s vice-chairman who helped support the project financially.
He said: “It is a great day for the region. It’s taken a herculean effort to get this done and delivered. The facility will be for the community trust as well as the football club and many people will benefit from that, which is so encouraging.
“Overall it’s a win-win situation for the community of the north-east and the football club.”
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As well as helping the Dons take the next step on the pitch, there is hope the facility will improve the lives of people across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and aid the work of the club’s award-winning community trust.
The organisation will get use of Cormack Park for 6,000 hours every year – and its chairman Duncan Skinner believes it will be a vital asset to the people of the north-east.
He said: “The benefits of this facility will be truly fantastic, not just for Aberdeen but for the wider area. It will allow us to expand as a community trust and improve our reach, making a difference to more people than ever before.”
The official opening of the training centre and its potential impact were also welcomed by council leaders.
Aberdeen City Council co-leader Jenny Laing said: “Local people will really welcome the opening of these new facilities and the opportunities they will bring to the area.
“It is something which will have far-reaching benefits.”
And Aberdeenshire Council leader Jim Gifford said: “This really is a fantastic facility for the north-east.
“When you see it first-hand you really get a feel for how impressive it is.
“It’s more than just a football ground. It is going to be a tremendous facility.”