Aberdeen pick spectacularly good partner. A challenge is on the cards


There has always been a business case for someone to transform Aberdeen into a bigger club.  The town is a prosperous city, with a substantial corporate entertainment budget.  Aberdeen is a long way from the supporter magnet of Glasgow.  Dundee is 25% smaller and splits support between two clubs.

The takeover of the club, announced yesterday, will see Stuart Milne depart the scene after a 22-year reign which saw one trophy and one bottom of the league finish (they avoided relegation due to reconstruction).  Milne leaves the club in better shape than he found it, but his tenure shows a trophy count no better than eight other clubs during that period, and worse than four.

New chairman, Dave Cormack, will invest around £5m straight away, £2m of which comes from AMB Sports & Entertainment, a US company which owns MLS club Atlanta United.  Atlanta’s president, Darren Eales, will become a director of Aberdeen.  Details of a “strategic partnership” between Atlanta and Aberdeen will be announced today.

If you go into partnership, pick your partner well, and Aberdeen had picked spectacularly well.  AMB owner, Arthur M Blank, co-founded The Home Depot and as well as Atlanta United, AMB own NFL side, Atlanta Falcons.  They also operate the most spectacular stadium in the world, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

My expectation is that Aberdeen will learn simply by being in the same room as the people who recently took the sports spectator experience to a new level.  AMB are not in Aberdeen for the weather, their objective will be to win in Scotland and compete in European group stages.

We might just get that rarest of treats, a sustainable and genuine domestic challenge.   This could be the most significant strategic development in Scottish football for years.  And if anyone suggests we move an Aberdeen-Celtic league game to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, bite their hand off.  I’ve wanted to go since I first saw the design plans.

I see lots of people having a go at Sam Allardyce for saying “We can all go to Celtic and win trophies.”  The last man to break this rule, John Barnes, left Scotland 19 years and 9 months ago, so let’s not quibble with Sam.

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  1. Now here is some drivel.


    Lies and lies and lies.


    150th Anniversary of “the club” waa waa waa.






    Gary Ralston – Business Genius




    7 questions for the Rangers AGM as Dave King prepares to meet the shareholders



    It’s been a positive year for the Govan outfit on the pitch but the board will still face scrutiny over a number of key issues.





    ByGary Ralston


    09:30, 25 NOV 2019






    The Rangers AGM takes place at the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow tomorrow and is expected to pass positively.



    Steven Gerrard has his team riding high in the league, the Betfred Cup final is looming and the last 32 of the Europa League is within touching distance.



    However, some important and intriguing questions are still likely to be asked of Dave King and the Ibrox board by the shareholders in attendance.



    Here, Gary Ralston runs the rule over the topics that are set to dominate when King and his directors take centre stage at the Armadillo.



    Mike Ashley and commercial activity




    Rangers have made one of its shrewdest and most impressive appointments with the addition of commercial and marketing director James Bisgrove.




    However, the full commercial worth of the club will continue to be under exploited until the dispute with Ashley and Sports Direct is resolved.



    Rangers have already spent more than £2 million in legal fees in its ongoing courtroom battle with Newcastle United owner Ashley.



    Fans will be keen to know if there is light at the end of the tunnel, although the complex nature of the case has made it difficult for Rangers to comment in the past.



    Bisgrove, a former UEFA executive, has formed some impressive alliances already and recently headed to the States with managing director Stewart Robertson to extend the reach of the club.



    He will be keen to bring more blue chip partners to the fold in the next 12 months and supporters are likely to question the board on the commercial future.







    (Image: PA)


    Rangers reacted with caution to recent reports that an HMRC “blunder” effectively forced the sale of the club by Sir David Murray to Craig Whyte in 2011.



    HMRC said around £70m was owed for the club’s use of EBTs from 2001 to 2010 as part of an overall tax claim of more than £90m.



    However, that figure was cut by £26 million, with claims the EBT part of the debt could yet fall to as low as £20m.



    No evidence has yet emerged to suggest Rangers would only have faced an EBT liability of £20 million, with HMRC taking the rare step of publicly dismissing the reports published by The Times.



    Dave King, who invested £20 million in Oldco, has yet to comment. Does he have any evidence to suggest the liability will eventually drop to £20 million and does he believe the HMRC “blunder” theory?



    Rangers said a fortnight ago they would study the report in finer detail before making comment. King may break his silence and give shareholders his point of view if asked from the floor.



    Fresh Investment




    (Image: SNS Group)


    Rumours are rife that Dave King may step down as chairman, but if that’s the case he has yet to tell anyone on the Ibrox board.



    King has always maintained he would not be at Ibrox for the long term, but stepping down in the middle of the season when the club is finally mounting a title challenge would surely be too de-stabilising.



    King has done everything he promised for Rangers financially and has incurred significant losses for the last five years in a bid to play catch up with Celtic.



    However, the days of ad hoc spending are nearing an end – Rangers have over invested in players and facilities since 2015 and the time is fast approaching for a sustainable business model to be put in place.



    King has underwritten losses until the end of the season and, by then, a new shares issue – which has long been mooted – is likely to put the club on a firmer financial footing.



    It won’t be a fund for widows and orphans. Rather, King and his board are likely to use their powers as directors to nominate new investors.



    Rangers have strong links to Hong Kong and the Far East, in particular, via directors such as Julian Wolhardt, Barry Scott and George Taylor.



    It’s not unreasonable to suggest they will look to that part of the world again where many business figures, including several ex-pat Scots, have watched developments at Ibrox with interest.



    Alfredo Morelos and transfer policy




    (Image: Kirk O’Rourke/Rangers FC/PA Wire)


    Only around seven per cent of the Rangers annual turnover comes from player sales, a quarter of the total it should be for a club of its size.



    Expect the Rangers board to reiterate Morelos will be going nowhere in January – and neither will any player Steven Gerrard reckons is vital to their championship ambitions.



    However, there is an acknowledgement that significant offers for their players in the summer will be looked at seriously.



    It’s believed Mark Allen’s failure to bring buyers to the table undermined his authority and ultimately led to his departure from the club as director of football.



    Celtic turned a potential £15 million loss last season into an £11 million profit on the back of player and manager sales that raked in more than £26 million.



    That’s the model Rangers must follow – questions will likely be asked about the importance of the role of Ross Wilson as director of football and the impact he’ll be expected to make in the months ahead.



    Don’t be surprised to hear a frank admission from King that the failure of previous managerial teams, Mark Warburton and Pedro Caixinha, has been financially disastrous.



    Ibrox expansion




    (Image: PA)


    Record Sport revealed earlier this year Rangers were considering expanding Ibrox to an arena with a capacity of around 55,000.



    A feasibility study has been undertaken these last few months and the board could be quizzed about the viability of modernisation.



    Will it be undertaken in time for the club’s 150th anniversary in 2022, or will the costs prove too prohibitive in comparison to the likely return?



    Expect updates on the club’s plans for 2022, including the development of Edmiston House and the Ibrox Community Complex, which will shortly come under the control of the Rangers Charity Foundation.



    Disabled Facilities



    Quite frankly, they’re appalling. Former chief executive Martin Bain promised to improve facilities more than a decade ago at a previous AGM and did nothing.



    It is unacceptable in the 21st century for fans with additional needs to be exposed to the elements in the west enclosure, with poor sight lines and inadequate pre and post match facilities.




    Rangers have made many improvements to the Ibrox matchday experience these last two years, but their ongoing disregard for disabled fans reflects poorly on them.







    Football fan eating a pie


    Yes, the old ‘pies are too cauld’ questions will surely arise, but increasingly fans are looking for more from their matchday experience.



    Rangers could be quizzed about the availability of an app to order half-time food and the possibility of paying by phone or contactless card.



    It’s expensive to introduce the technology, especially with Ibrox only in use for up to 30 times a year, but football has to find a way to best service its foot fall.

  2. bigbhoy



    The Dons have been trying to build a new stadium for years. with at last two planning applications. First was south of the city and the most recent to the west, off the bypass. Not sure of the status of the latter, some opposition from Dons fans and also from the Nimbys out west. Hope they keep the Pittodrie site, which Milne’s debt fuelled company was hoping to build on. New stadium, new sponsors new possibilities?

  3. Unlike many, I’m happy Brendan is doing well doon South.



    Hands off our Leo Sayers.



    C EL T I C



    Oh my, I made a mistake.

  4. What sort of business loses over £30m over 3 years, admits to needing £10m extra income over the next 6 months to keep trading, has a Chairman who is a pariah in the City, is only able to borrow money at a high interest rate, yet talks about a huge capital expenditure plan for a vanity/legacy project for the chairman, talks about about another share issue and foreign investment five minutes after issuing a car crash of an annual financial report.

  5. saint stivs



    Dear oh dear. And this is Scottish journalism at its’ finest. Only missing the byline….


    “As dictated by Jim Traynor”


    Give me the news from Aberdeen any day of the week.

  6. Celtic a stepping stone…..



    UnFortunately Oui.



    Njoi the BHOYS.



    No way a French flag will be out when the Ultimate haters are contesting a Final.



    Sunshine on Leith Hampden was just Incredible and Iconic.

  7. That pr**k Robertson is on record saying they were looking to add….”4 or 5 thousand seats” by the end of the year but couldnt say where they would be.



    Usual….no questions from msm.



    Jokers then, jokers now.

  8. A Challenge is on the cards right here, right now. Anyone who can’t see that is blind. Maybe sevco will implode. but their is no sign o if it yet. Too many of our support continue to ridicule them for all of their failings off the park while ignoring the fact that they just keep winning on the park. Yes we are a better team with better players but three points is three points whether you win them ugly or with style.


    Aberdeen? No credible threat anytime soon.

  9. How to win friends and influence people….



    DAVID17 on 25TH NOVEMBER 2019 1:15 PM



    Todays article, it’s been a while since I’ve read such drivel.






    very good David :-)



    as I understand it they need to sell their existing stadium to finance the new stadium,



    and if they do that, where do they play meantime? Remember we had to rent Hampden for a season,



    My only interest in Aberdeen is to see how many points they can take from sevco,



    I’ll support anything that helps them to do that

  10. Rock Tree Bhoy – 100% agree. I’m all for loaning players to Aberdeen and Hibs to help our fringe players get game time and to help the teams take points off Sevco. Don’t give a monkeys about the politics at board level between the clubs.

  11. !!bada bing!!



    Looking at the graphics there Bada it seems that there is a “VIP” Car park right where the Celtic cafe should be….


    Does Almore know about this? I think he should be told!

  12. lets all do the huddle on

    i think today’s story is pure balderdash and possibly bunkum, though maybe not drivel :-)



    how may clubs build a new all-seater stadium that is actually smaller than their existing all-seater stadium like Aberdeen are doing?



    Juve is the only one i can think of



    Sheep-Shearing rastards give us few enough tickets as it is

  13. Big Jimmy


    Sorry to read about your ongoing health problems and their resulting issues. Hope some of the advice proves to be helpful.



    Stay positive big man

  14. Paul67



    Good article,……….I see what you did there.



    Indeed the Aberdeen news is most significant legitimate investment in Scottish Football outside of Celtic.



    Aberdeen have done reasonably and Stewart Milne the wee masonic builder, has done well to stay ahead of Sevco, Hearts, Hibs and poor old Dundee Utd.



    The toxic, Scotland wide bolstered threat of ‘the Rainjurz ‘ is less likely to survive than a very well run Aberdeen, playing on the level.



    However, Celtic’s biggest threat is neither, its based at Hampden as ever sitting on corruption, including the remarkable Res 12.

  15. St Stivs


    That Gary Ralston jumble of crawling was as sycophantic a piece of writing as I have seen since Traynor`s


    ` succulent lamb` offering.



  16. I know,



    as someone said “Moonbeams”.



    150 YEAR OLD CLUB, think that was my favourite part, where to start

  17. Unpopular opinion:



    Big Sam is a good coach. Generally improves the sides he takes on and generally, they go backwards when he leaves.



    Not a nice man and terrible teams to watch. I’d never want him to manage Celtic.



    That said, he’s right to say Sean Dyche is underrated. I don’t see why a team like Southampton or Newcastle United wouldn’t take him.

  18. GuyFawkesaforeverhero on

    Great stuff from the Celts again.



    Scottish Football writes: Nab him, jab him, tab him, grab him. Stop that Frimpong now!



    Celtic fans say: You won’t, you know.



    Hope Griff tracks down the wee man in the tammy from Saturday.

  19. It is astonishing how Broonie keeps on keeping on.



    Brilliant the man management for all to see, saying young Jeremie’s shooting is pish.



    The Broonstigator!!!!!!!!?

  20. Good evening CQN – Big Jimmy good luck on your health issues.


    Some good advice given there guys, that’s what makes this place special.



    I really do hope you get things sorted Jimmy.



    Hail Hail



    D. :)

  21. The Mercedes Benz stadium in Atlanta is amazing! https://mercedesbenzstadium.com/



    Hosts the Atlanta Falcons American Footie and Atlanata United who I went to watch in their “rookie” year when they started the team at a much smaller venue in Midtown Atlanta.



    If these guys have partnered with Aberdeen it will undoubtedly be good for the Dons, they’ll take no prisoners, its the American Way you know so McInnes will find his jaicket on a shoogly peg very shortly.



    Can only be good for them going forwards.

  22. Big Jimmy



    Good luck with your ongoing health issues. I hope you get the help you need.



    We paid for additional personal care visits for my mother towards the end of her life, wasn’t a huge amount of cash. I think you get two visits a day from the council if you qualify for the help, morning and evening to help with personal care and they prepare food for you as well.



    We also got Mum help with lunchtime for a few quid, wasn’t that much as I remember. I’m guessing you are in better shape physically than she was so two visits might be enough until you recover from the heart attack which will I am told (never having had one but I know those who have) take a few months for the tiredness to ease.



    Take care big fella!

  23. Once again thanks to all on here for their advice and good wishes.



    For now I dont need help getting showered and dressed etc, and because Im just looking for someone to Clean my home etc, that is why Glasgow Social Work cant help, as they dont provide THAT kind of service any more.


    However, I may have found a Lady to come in twice a week to clean and hoover etc, and hopefully she will start on Thursday ?


    I have spoken and met her Boss Today who came to my home for a chat…so hopefully things will be okay with cleaning etc ? Its just a pity that I have had to go to a private company.


    Thanks again to all.



  24. Paul67 et al



    Around this time of year we tend to get bombarded with mail from various organisations. Ok maybe ‘bombarded’ isn’t the right word when I’m referring to charities such as; ‘Give peace a chance’, but you get the picture. Even so I must admit I was a bit taken aback when Postman Pete (for it is he) delivered a nice little brochure from something called ‘The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Shop’ full of ideas for Christmas gifts and of course the inevitable memento moris. Not to mention the Lancaster posters screaming “Bomb the Bastards Now”.


    But I digress, there is some nice stuff in there; the Polar Bear Bag, featuring a poppy adorned bear; the poppy decked doggy bandana (popular at this time of year); the Heart of Poppies Gold Brooch for your dedicated follower of fascism; and something for your Granny, the Black Wild Poppy Coin Purse. And a whole lot more……


    That all said it is still important to point out as always….a Poppy is not just for Christmas……

  25. New Balance LogoDafabet Logo Magners Logo


    BT Sport


    Partial Rail Seating closure following safety issues


    Partial Rail Seating closure following safety issues


    By: Newsroom Staff on 25 Nov, 2019 19:32




    Celtic has ultimate responsibility for the safety of all our supporters and it is a responsibility which we take very seriously.



    We need to tackle any behaviour which can compromise the safety of our supporters including the use of pyrotechnics, overcrowding and offensive chanting or banners.



    Following the latest UEFA disciplinary decision we can confirm that there will be a partial closure of the rail seating section at Celtic Park for the forthcoming match against Rennes.



    All those supporters affected will be notified and will receive a refund.



    This decision follows similar significant sanctions being imposed against the Club already this season for the use of pyrotechnics during the matches against CFR Cluj and AIK Stockholm.



    The Club also faces another UEFA charge for the use of pyrotechnics during the match in Rome recently and this will be heard on 12th December 2019.



    Regrettably, these charges and sanctions continue to damage the Club’s reputation and this behaviour continues to threaten supporter safety.



    UEFA’s rules and the Club’s long-established ground regulations are very clear. Indeed, the Club engages in regular dialogue with all supporters groups to ensure these are well known and understood.



    We have considered this matter very carefully. It is disappointing that behaviour which is unsafe and which we all know will breach UEFA and Club regulations has continued.



    N.B. supporters in rows A-M will be affected.

  26. prestonpans bhoys on

    Bit harsh on those in A-M who are not GB members but not surprising. First thing Miss Prestonpans asks was ‘is that us’.



    Naw just the bottom bit of the standing area was my reply

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