Former Aberdeen striker Willem van der Ark fears the absence of a roaring Red Army at Pittodrie will be a huge loss.
The Dons kick off their Premiership campaign with a home clash against rivals Rangers on Saturday August 1 (5.30pm, live on Sky Sports).
Two years ago, Pittodrie was a near 19,046 sell-out for a 1-1 league opener against the Gers.
This year it will be empty with one of the season’s most anticipated fixtures played behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Van der Ark signed for the Dons in 1989, partly because fellow Dutchman Theo Snelders had described how passionate the Red Army were.
However, van der Ark insists the absence of fans could be of benefit to Aberdeen when facing league champions Celtic at Parkhead on August 15.
The 56-year-old said: “Aberdeen supporters will be a huge miss when games are behind closed doors.
“It is different for players having to play in an empty stadium.
“I follow the English Premier league, Spanish La Liga and German Bundesliga which are all being played without crowds.
“It is a very different atmosphere.
“Supporters will be able to watch Aberdeen’s games on television, but it will not be the same.”
The Dons will play at an empty Parkhead in the opening month of the new season.
In the only clash away to Celtic last term, the Dons played in front of 59,131, losing 2-1.
Van der Ark said: “It can be a leveller because Celtic will need their home supporters as well.”
Aberdeen hope to have as many as 7,500 supporters back at Pittodrie by October as part of a phased return as coronavirus lockdown restrictions ease.
However, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch recently downplayed an October return for fans.
Van der Ark believes Holland’s blueprint can give hope to Scotland. The Netherlands plan to allow supporters back into stadiums when the season begins in mid-September.
Van der Ark said: “I am optimistic that it won’t be long before crowds begin coming back to matches.
“In Holland they are maybe trying to get 30% of the crowds back by September.
“That would be good and then after that 50, 75 and then maybe 100% again.
“It all depends on if the coronavirus will come back.”
Now an estate agent in the Netherlands, van der Ark continues to keep close tabs on Aberdeen.
Last year he was given a tour around the new £13 million Cormack Park training complex along with goalkeeper Snelders, a good friend and former team-mate.
Van der Ark moved to Aberdeen in January 1989 on a three-year contract from Dutch side Willem II.
A towering striker, he netted on his debut in a 2-1 defeat of Motherwell just three days after signing.
Although 6ft 5in van der Ark was not solely a target man and was very effective with the ball at his feet.
He would score 19 goals in 81 appearances in a Dons career that would yield Scottish Cup and League Cup winners’ medals.
He said: “I wanted to improve myself and play abroad and knew I was going to a big club with Aberdeen.
“The standard there was very high and there were a lot of international players.
“Theo (Snelders) was already at Aberdeen and doing very well.
“He told me that Aberdeen have great supporters and that the city is a very nice place to live.
“That was the reason more Dutch players wanted to play for Aberdeen.
“After Theo signed I arrived then the other three came in Hans Gillhaus, Theo Ten Caat and Peter Van de Ven.
“I wanted to go to Scotland for the adventure and got two cup winners’ medals during my time at Aberdeen.”