Man Utd face Aberdeen in benefit for Neil Simpson

Simpson lifts the Scottish Cup while with Aberdeen
Simpson lifts the Scottish Cup while with Aberdeen

Manchester United will be Aberdeen's opposition in a benefit match for former Dons midfielder Neil Simpson on 14 August at Pittodrie Stadium.

Simpson played under United manager Sir Alex Ferguson when he led the Dons to the European Cup-winners' Cup in 1983.

Organising committee chairman Bob Bain said: "Sir Alex was delighted to help out his former player."

Bain expects Ferguson to bring a strong team to Aberdeen for the match for his former midfielder.

"Even though the game is just a few days before the start of the EPL season, he has given assurances he will bring as strong a squad as possible," said the organiser.

"Given who the opposition is, allied to the fact Simmy is such a fans favourite, there's no doubt the stadium will be rocking for what will undoubtedly be a fitting occasion for a true AFC legend."

United, who were runners-up in England's top flight last season, open their league season away to Everton on 20 August.

Come the friendly in Aberdeen, the home side will have already faced reigning Scottish champions Celtic and promoted Ross County in the Scottish Premier League.

Former Scotland international Simpson, now 50, is presently a youth coach at Pittodrie.

Simpson is now on the coaching staff at Pittodrie
Simpson is now on the coaching staff at Pittodrie

He made more than 200 appearances for the Dons and was part of two Scottish title-winning campaigns and won three Scottish Cup and one Scottish League Cup winners medals.

Simpson, who went on to play for Newcastle United and Motherwell, was also part of the team that famously beat Real Madrid in the Cup-winners' Cup final in Gothenburg.

Meanwhile, Aberdeen have warned supporters that consistent backing will be needed after the old Rangers slipped towards liquidation and the new company was consigned to the Third Division.

Scottish Premier League chief executive Neil Doncaster is working to secure commercial and broadcasting deals following the loss of Rangers.

"The challenge facing us is massive," Aberdeen chief executive Duncan Fraser told his club website. "People have asked if the SPL could live without Rangers.

"It is now the time to prove the league is about more than one club or two.

"Buying season tickets is the best way for supporters to back the club. It allows us to plan ahead.

"A lot of the fans are talking about making the Ross County game a sell-out, which is great, but we need more than one sell-out.

"We need a consistently increased crowd level. It is also makes a hell of a difference for the players on the park."

Fraser was heartened by the response so far.

"What has taken me back is the number of donations we have received from supporters, many living abroad," he added.

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