Aberdeen Football Club has secured over 50% of the funding required for the first phase of their plans for a community sports hub, training academy and stadium at Kingsford.
The Club announced today that pledges from private individuals mean work could start immediately on the plans, should planning permission be granted in October.
Mike Loggie, Bert McIntosh and Dave Cormack, alongside several board members and other local businessmen, have confirmed their intention to provide over half of the £10million required to build the community sports hub and training academy.
Mr Cormack has pledged £1million from his family trust, The Cormack Foundation. The Aberdeen Football Club director has confirmed that this donation is ring-fenced for the community facilities.
“My wife, Fiona, and I have been blessed financially and we are pleased to be able to play a role in delivering an exciting legacy for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire at Kingsford,” said Mr Cormack. “It’s important to stress that the funds from our Foundation are being gifted to the AFC Community Trust. They are only available for facilities which will benefit the wider community and not linked in any way to my own investment in Aberdeen Football Club.”
Mr Cormack, who first instigated the idea of a charitable trust during his tenure as chief executive at Pittodrie, has been impressed with the work by AFC Community Trust. He said: “Through the Trust, and using the power of the AFC brand and the passion for football, we have built affinity with the community and are giving back to that community. The Trust positively touches the lives of thousands of people of all ages and from all walks of life, with 160,000 participations, half of which are non-football related. This is without a single blade of grass. Imagine what the Trust could do with a dedicated home and facilities at Kingsford?”
As well as providing a dedicated base for the AFC Community Trust, the community sports facilities and training academy proposed for Kingsford include outdoor, floodlit 3G pitches, outdoor sports and indoor spaces for a variety of community-based sporting and recreational activities.
The Club has engaged with various groups to identify the gaps in local sports provision and explore how the new community facilities could fill these to the benefit of Westhill and Kingswells residents. These discussions revealed a shortage of suitable outdoor and indoor sports facilities in the area. The community facilities at the AFC complex could provide more suitable and purpose-built indoor and outdoor spaces, including a gymnasium, to accommodate the needs of these clubs.
“This commitment by the Club to providing much-needed space and facilities for the community makes the whole scheme for Kingsford even more compelling,” said Mr Cormack. “The benefits of these new facilities for the professional team are well documented. However, the community aspects are equally important in terms of supporting youth football across the region where many clubs are woefully short of pitches and facilities.
“At Kingsford, the Club has the capacity to bring its on-the-pitch and off-the-pitch operations together, to create a sporting campus with the opportunity for facilities which not only benefit the club but the local community as well.”
Long-term sponsor of the Club, Mike Loggie, added: “With the new training facilities at Kingsford, AFC will be able to attract, develop and retain today’s and tomorrow’s talent to ensure the long-term success of our club which impacts positively on our whole region.”
AFC chairman Stewart Milne believes these pledges demonstrate that the Club can turn its vision into reality and deliver the community sports campus and the football academy so that local people and the Club can benefit from these world-class facilities by early 2019.
He said: “We’re incredibly grateful to these individuals for their generosity. I’m confident that, if we secure a positive planning decision in October, the bulk of the remainder of the funding for this exciting phase will be in place by the end of the year.
If AFC is granted planning consent in October, the Club will set about securing the remaining funds required for this initial phase. Once that is complete, they will begin fund-raising efforts for the stadium phase of the development.
Mr Milne added: “The overall proposal represents a £50million private-sector investment. The Club is fortunate to be in a very robust financial position with no debt and, as such, we are confident we can achieve our fund-raising targets.”
He explained that achieving the best price for the sale of Pittodrie will be key, along with other fund-raising and funding mechanisms.