DEREK McINNES, the Aberdeen manager, has urged council bosses to give the green light to their stadium plan which he believes is “pivotal” to the club progressing.

A pre-determination hearing will take place tomorrow less than a week after Aberdeenshire Council renewed it’s objection to the £50million Kingsford project ahead of Aberdeen Council’s final ruling on January 29.

Plans for the site, which will include a new training ground and stadium that will see Aberdeen move away from Pittodrie, were put on hold by the club in October but the moment of truth is now approaching for all concerned with the Ladbrokes Premiership club.

And speaking as his team flew home from Dubai yesterday, McInnes insisted it was vital if Aberdeen were going to become “a bigger animal” than they are at present.

“I think it’s pivotal for us, I really do,” he said. “For us to be the club we are not at the minute and to be a bigger animal we need to be bringing in more on a match day financially, more revenue in, and a modern facility for our supporters to maybe increase attendances.

“We need to be more family orientated and community based and hopefully we can get more numbers through the door and more corporate to bring in more revenue.

“Because right now it is difficult to sustain the expectation based on what we are dealing with.

“The training ground is totally different but that’s again something that’s vitally important to us to be perceived as a modern, serious competitor in the 21st century. Aberdeen Football Club needs to get its act together to have training facility that’s befitting of the club and the players we have.”

He added: “The decision will impact on the club and what animal we can be. I want us to be better than what we are at the minute. Unless someone starts investing money into the club, I don’t see how we can be better than we are at the minute.

“We’re all trying to maximise what we are and I would like the opportunity to train at modern facilities at Aberdeen and lead my team out at a new stadium. Ideally that will happen. I’m thinking of what it will be like when it does happen, rather than what happens if it doesn’t.”

Whether or not the plans get the go ahead for the stadium and training ground will have big consequences not just for the club from a financial point of view but also when it comes to players both current and prospective.

While the main focus for supporters will fall on a new arena to watch their team, McInnes has stressed the importance of the training facilities at his disposal when trying to attract new faces to the North East.

“If you’re in the balance between here and other clubs that have the facilities and the stadium, I think these things could play a part in trying to sign players,” he said. “Part of my sale to players is the promise of something better. Sometimes when you try to speak to players from down south they mention the training ground, you quickly move on and try to talk about something else.

“It is embarrassing and I have beaten the club up enough about it. Thankfully the club are doing something about it. It should have been done years ago but thankfully we’re at the point now where we have the pre-determination hearing on the 17th January and hopefully have a resolution at the end of the month.

“We made light of it when we first came in but it’s time to stop making light of it. It’s time to have a facility to be proud of. Supporters want to stay in the traditional place, where they’ve always turned up with parents and grandparents. It’s difficult to overcome but the greater good is for the club to have a new modern facility, that has to be a different location to Pittodrie, and hopefully with a training ground at the same location. That would be utopia.”

Originally published in The Herald – 16 January 2018

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