American businessman, Tom Crotty, has made an investment of $1million (£775,000) through the acquisition of shares in the Club.
Introduced to the Club by director, Dave Cormack, Mr Crotty is heavily involved in the charity, Grassroots Soccer, in the US.
Speaking from Boston, Mr Crotty said: “I’m really happy to be part of what is a very exciting time for the Club both on and off the pitch. My experience of soccer is that it has a profoundly positive impact across whole communities. This is why my investment is directed towards enhancing the community facilities on offer as part of the Club’s modern and progressive development.
“The Club has an opportunity to co-locate its community work alongside its professional football academy and stadium to create a purpose-built complex that will enhance the experience for players, act as a real magnet for young football talent and a focal point for grass-roots community initiatives.”
This investment follows the Club’s announcement that it has secured over 60% of the funding required for the first phase of their plans for a community sports hub, training academy and stadium.
These pledges, coupled with Mr Crotty’s investment, bring the total for phase one to over £6million and mean, that if planning is granted in the new year, construction could be underway almost immediately.
Mr Crotty has been in the venture capital industry for 30 years where he focused on the communications and software industries, leading investments in dozens of early stage companies.
He was Managing General Partner of Battery Ventures for twelve years and acts as a Senior Advisor to the company today. He is on the board of trustees at Notre Dame University and sits on the boards of numerous of private and not-for-profit organisations.
In his youth, he was captain of the Notre Dame Men’s college team, in which he has remained closely involved, and where he met Aberdeen legend and Notre Dame head coach, Bobby Clark. He helped charity, Grassroots Soccer, get off the ground with Bobby’s son Tommy Clark. This charity is focused on adolescent health, using the attraction of soccer to teach children life skills.
Mr Crotty decided to make his investment following recent visits to Aberdeen and his first match at Pittodrie.
“My first experience of Aberdeen was through golf where I’ve been fortunate to play some of the region’s fabulous courses,” said Mr Crotty.
“I didn’t know much about AFC but Dave and Bobby made a very compelling case for the Club’s vision and plans. I’m passionate about the positive impact that football can have on young people and the wider community. There’s a wonderful conglomeration of people at AFC and the Trust and, after having viewed the AURORA campaign video, I’m even more excited about being involved. I cannot imagine this type of facility, which will reach into all parts of society, being turned down.”
The community sports facilities and training academy proposed for Kingsford include outdoor, floodlit 3G pitches as well as areas for other outdoor sports and indoor spaces for a variety of community-based sporting and recreational activities. It will also mean that the AFC Community Trust will have a dedicated home and facilities.
Mr Cormack, who recently confirmed that his family foundation’s pledge of £1million was also to be ring-fenced for the community part of the development, said: “I’ve known and worked with Tom for ten years and I know he will be a great ambassador for AFC. I’m delighted he has agreed to come on-board and I’ll continue to spread the word about our vision in the US with his help and support.”
AFC chairman, Stewart Milne, commented; “It’s great to see Dave’s efforts in attracting US investment to the Club come to fruition. A key part of his new role at the Club was to help us source and secure investment from America and we’re staggered by this first pledge. Tom’s investment in the Club is an endorsement of our vision and long-term strategy.”