Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack has revealed the club are working on a Covid-19 survival plan based on no football in front of fans this year.
Just three months after succeeding Stewart Milne as Pittodrie chairman, the US-based businessman was faced with the biggest threat to the club’s future in its 117-year history.
Cormack and the Pittodrie board initially factored for no football before summer, estimating that would deliver a £5 million financial hit to the club.
However, Cormack insists the goalposts have now moved since that initial prognosis and he anticipates there will be no football in front of supporters at Pittodrie until January 2021.
Cormack insists he is “up for this” in the battle to guide Aberdeen through the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “This is the biggest crisis we have faced as a club in 117 years, since we were founded.
“It has been tough being chairman for 90 days and then this crisis hits.
“But I am up for it and the fans are up for it.
“Everybody at the club is up for it.
“We can’t sit back and wait for it happen.
“We used the best information we had two and a half months ago to predict football coming back August and September.
“Where we are now with the pandemic and everything we know that is not going to be the case.
“What we need to do in the next couple of weeks is to assess the information we have.
“Right now we are projecting no games in front of fans until January which I think is a prudent thing for us to do.
“I am asking the fans to put their trust in me and the club that we want to do the right thing.
“The priority is to assess where we might be with this and to be conservative with our projected income so we can see this through.
“It will take another two to four weeks to put a survival plan in place on the basis that we are not going to be playing in front of fans until January.
“Everything we are doing is how Aberdeen FC survives and what is doing the best for our stakeholders, fans, staff, players, management – everyone.”
With Cormack anticipating no supporters until January, he is working on delivering a plan to broadcast games which could involve a “virtual season ticket”.
He said: “Right now, I can’t tell you how we are going to broadcast games on a virtual season ticket – information like what it will cost to us, what games will we be able to show.
“But that is being worked on right now.
“Hopefully, we will have a bit more clarification in a couple of weeks.”
When the SPFL board ended the Premiership last week, Cormack highlighted a further £1m loss to due refunds for season tickets and corporate clients over the 2019-20 games which have not been played.
He called for those who could afford it not to take refunds.
He said: “We wanted to be up front and let fans know that between fans and corporate there was about £1m worth of credit.
“Those that clearly need the money should take the credit and they are due it.
“We also appealed to the fan base and corporate that where they could leave the money in the club that would help significantly.
“The response has been phenomenal.”
Aberdeen Gothenburg Great Alex McLeish was our guest on this week’s Northern Goal podcast, which you can listen to here. Here’s a clip of what you can expect:
Cormack also sent an SOS to Dons supporters to buy season tickets for the 2020-21 campaign, despite no clarity on when it would begin and when supporters would be allowed into games.
They responded by snapping more than 5,000 season tickets.
The club chairman has vowed to give those supporter who have bought season tickets “full value”
Cormack said: “Fans are buying season tickets not knowing when they will see a game at Pittodrie and we don’t take that lightly.
“We are committed to giving full value to our fans.
“We are moving to a membership model.
“This can be viewed as almost like a down payment on a membership to the club.”