Pittodrie’s atmosphere will transform from “sweetie paper rustling” to a fortress next season due to new initiatives, according to Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack.
Plans for next term include slashing the capacity at Pittodrie to 15,500 by closing the Richard Donald upper tier and making the Red Shed in the Merkland Road permanent.
With 1,800 seats allocated to away fans Aberdeen supporters will have just 13,700 briefs.
Cormack would be delighted if season ticket demand rocketed to such an extent the club are forced to eventually re-open the top tier of the Richard Donald.
A marquee with a band performing will also be introduced to provide supporters with food and drink before kick-off.
There will also be fanzones for children.
It is hoped those initiatives will not only produce a raucous atmosphere that can inspire Derek McInnes’ side but also ramp up season ticket sales as the Reds hope to lure back to Pittodrie a “lost generation”.
The AberDNA Junior scheme of free club membership for Under-12s has been rolled out in a bid to nurture the next generation of Aberdeen supporters.
Within 24 hours of being launched around 600 kids had already signed up.
“We still have this reputation, even with the Red Shed, of being the sweetie paper rustlers of the league,” Cormack said.
“Yet our away fan experience is unbelievable.
“The thinking behind these initiatives is about fan experience and creating an atmosphere.
“If we have the lower bowl and shut down the Richard Donald upper stand, we could accommodate everybody that wanted to come in this season for every home league game.
“Plus by not needing the Richard Donald upper stand we save some money by not having to police it and so on.
“With a concerted effort from fans, Pittodrie will once again become a fortress.”
The upper RDS, which will only be opened in exceptional circumstances, will be handed over to fans to decorate with banners and flags.
The chairman added: “We want to see if we can drive up season tickets.
“I would be the most delighted guy in the world if we went from 10,000 to 13,000 season ticket holders and I had to open the upper Richard Donald stand.
“An atmosphere helps generate more fans coming in.”
These initiatives will also supply the Dons with valuable data as to what supporters want, and what will work, at the new stadium in Kingsford when it is eventually delivered.
Cormack said: “It is important that the club has a philosophy and a strategy, not just on the football side but of who we want to be and how we want to engage with our fans and our community.
“Every under-12 child that wants to be can be a member of Aberdeen football club for free.
“They will have access to two games free from next season.
“Those that are in the vicinity can come in for a signing day as part of this process.
“We will have fanzones in the concourse at the Richard Donald. There is also the Red Shed which has been proven to be successful and is permanent.
“We will also trial outside the stadium, at the cricket pitch for a few games at the beginning of next season, a large marquee where there will be a band and food and drink for families.
“A lot of that is geared towards giving feedback and data on what might be in the new stadium.”
Yet Cormack accepts that a fundamental to generating any atmosphere and increasing season ticket sales is what is on the pitch. It has to be entertaining – and winning – football.
Aberdeen have suffered an inconsistent season but are still fighting for European qualification and have reached the Scottish Cup semi-final.
He said: “If you look at Derek’s seven-year tenure the vast majority of that time has been entertaining, attacking football.
“The last year has been frustrating for Derek, the team and obviously some of the fans, with teams sitting in.
“We have backed Derek in every window to try to address that.
“No excuses, but we have had some significant injuries to marquee players.
“We have seen in the last few games the team performing at the level Derek wants them to.
“Teams go through spells. We have been through that spell.
“We are still in the Scottish Cup and can still get third in the league so there is all to play for.”