Gothenburg Great John McMaster today applauded Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack for being honest with fans during the Covid-19 crisis.
US-based businessman Cormack has confirmed Aberdeen have opened talks with players and staff to explain the need for temporary wage cuts.
Cormack warned the club faces a stark financial future of 10 months without income due to no supporters at games.
The chairman underlined he opened up negotiations on wage cuts in a bid to safeguard jobs and protect those at the club on a lower income.
Cormack believes that avenue can also secure the long-term economic health of the club and support the club’s community outreach programme to help the vulnerable during the pandemic.
When football went into shutdown in March, Cormack warned of a £5 million financial loss to the club.
He has now informed supporters that financial black hole will be even more severe as closed-door games will mean the club losing £1m per month.
McMaster accepts Cormack and the club could have kept the wage cut negotiations in house.
But he praised the honesty of being up front and open with supporters over the future of the club they love.
He said: “I applaud the chairman Dave Cormack and the board for the way they have gone about this and their honesty.
“I have not heard other clubs coming out and letting the fans know what is happening in the same way.
“The chairman has been fair and has put everything out in the open.
“He has told supporters exactly what is happening throughout the pandemic and where they stand financially.
“Cormack has been honest that they have to do certain measures to safeguard the club.
“More than 6,000 supporters have done their bit by buying season tickets.
“They are being told what is happening.”
Cormack has revealed the club faces a “stark” financial situation.
Premiership Hibs implemented wage cuts earlier this week.
Across Edinburgh Hearts announced wage cuts last month.
More clubs will follow as the devastating financial impact of the coronavirus shutdown continues to reverberate through the Scottish game at all levels.
Club legend McMaster won every domestic honour with the Dons and also the European Cup Winners’ Cup and European Super Cup.
If the coronavirus crisis hit while he was playing at Pittodrie, McMaster would take a wage cut to safeguard jobs and the club’s future.
However, he insists it must work for both parties in negotiations.
McMaster, 65, said: “Aberdeen have to address losing £1m a month.
“You cannot keep going on whilst suffering losses like that.
“If this (proposed wage cuts) is going to keep people’s jobs then it is the right move.
“They need to come to an agreement.
“If it was me and it was going to safeguard my future and that of the club, I would go for it.
“However, the cuts cannot be too severe, there has to be a ceiling on it.
“It is a delicate situation because players have already taken a hit with deferring wages.
“They all went about it the right way then.
“It is the opportunity to help out again.
“This coronavirus is monstrous.
“If you look around your own street – people there will have lost their jobs, be on furlough or worrying about losing their jobs.
“It is affecting absolutely everyone.”
Cormack has done everything possible to avoid going down the route of wage cuts by injecting an extra £2m into the club along with fellow investors when the pandemic first hit.
Players, management and higher paid staff also accepted voluntary wage deferrals of between 10 to 30 percent for four months starting from April 1.
However, the impact of Covid-19 on the club is severe and ongoing.
As the country moves into phase two of the Scottish Government’s route out of lockdown, the return to full stadiums – and regular income – still remains a long way away.
The coronavirus has derailed Aberdeen’s bid to sign NAC Breda left-back Greg Leigh who was on loan last season.
It has also delayed the bid to bring Jonny Hayes to the club, although talks remain ongoing with the former Celtic winger to try to work out a way to bring him back to Pittodrie.
We discussed where Jonny Hayes would fit into Derek McInnes’ Dons team on this week’s Northern Goal podcast:
For now the focus is on negotiating a way through the coronavirus financial hit.
McMaster also fears lower wages, albeit temporary, could make Aberdeen more vulnerable to top players being “cherry picked” during the summer.
He said: “Aberdeen are a big club and in the Scottish elite.
“However, they might lose out with their players getting poached by teams that can offer more wages.
“That is a potential risk the club are taking.
“They can be cherry picked at any time.”