The Dons’ incoming chairman has unveiled his battleplan for getting the Kingsford stadium project over the finishing line.
Aberdeen FC have tied up phase one of the development but there has been little tangible progress in recent months on phase two – which includes construction of the stadium.
Speaking to the Evening Express to announce a new partnership with US club Atlanta United – which saw Atlanta’s parent company buy a stake of less than 10% of Aberdeen FC – the Dons’ new leading man Dave Cormack revealed his strategy for bringing the stadium to fruition.
Mr Cormack said the club’s priority is the first team’s performance – and added that £5m will be injected into the club’s day-to-day operations.
Meanwhile, a team of consultants is working out how much money needs to be raised to fund Kingsford – a figure between £35 million and £50m – and ensuring the Dons maximise profits at their new home.
Asking fans what features they want at Kingsford is also on the plan, said Mr Cormack – as is overcoming red tape with Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council.
The city council has conditions in place which mean the stadium can be built only once a controlled parking zone and a footbridge over the A944 have been agreed. It is understood discussions on how that will be achieved have yet to begin between the club and the two local authorities.
Mr Cormack, who is to become the club’s chairman on December 16, said: “I’m cautiously optimistic that we can get it over the line.
“But there is no point in having a shiny new stadium if we’re ninth in the league because we’ve held back on footballing investment.
“The performance of the first team is the most important thing.
“We have to get our ducks lined up and that means getting this collaboration done with Atlanta and getting into collaboration with the fans on what they want to see in terms of the stadium design.
“In tandem with that, we’re working with some consultants in London who will look at best practices on income uplift and what we should build at Kingsford.
“We don’t know if (the funds that need raising for the new stadium) will be £35m, £45m or £50m – these are all rough estimates.”
Mr Cormack said completing those tasks “will probably take us through to the summer or early autumn”.
On the subject of satisfying the planning conditions, he added: “We’ve got a team on that and we’ve planned for bringing that to a conclusion.
“I am hoping that common sense prevails and practical solutions are adhered to as opposed to whoever shouts the loudest and wants us to spend the most.”
After speaking of his fondness for Aberdeen’s traditional Pittodrie home, Mr Cormack added: “The reality is it costs us more to redevelop Pittodrie than move to a custom stadium. By moving to Kingsford we think we can generate £3m to £5m more of income – and who doesn’t want that to invest it in the team?
“It is going to be almost impossible for me to raise investment to stay at Pittodrie because there is no real upside on income generation.”
When asked about a stadium construction deadline, Mr Cormack said: “I’m not fixated on two years, four years, five years, because what we’re not doing is taking money from the footballing operation to pay for facilities.
“In the last two years we’ve added at least £1.5m to the football operation.
“Everyone told us we wouldn’t get phase one done. It was a big task.
“We thought it was going to take £10 million and we ended up spending £12m – including over £1m just on phase two preparation.
“That has been an enormous task, not just financially, but for the people at the club as well.”