Aberdeen: Stewart Milne wants new stadium by 2017

By Alasdair LamontSenior football reporter, BBC Scotland
Aberdeen hope to leave Pittodrie by 2017
Aberdeen hope to leave Pittodrie by 2017

Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne hopes to announce details of a new training facility in the next few months.

He also aims to have the Dons playing in a new stadium by 2017, assuring fans work is ongoing behind the scenes to eliminate the club's debt.

"We would hope to be in a position within the next few months to announce something on the training facilities," he told BBC Scotland.

"Then they'll be delivered over a period of time."

Aberdeen finished third in the Premiership last season, their highest placing in the league since 2006-07. They also captured the League Cup for the first time since 1995.

Many pundits have predicted the Dons are the most likely team to give Celtic a long awaited challenge for the league title. However Milne insists that despite the club's progress under manager Derek McInnes, the championship, for the moment, is out of reach.

"I think we made serious progress last season, probably way beyond what everyone thought we were capable of doing," he said.

Interview - Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne

"Since Derek came into the club he's given us a real lift, he's built on the platform that Craig [Brown] and Archie [Knox] created. He's just developed a whole new approach within the club.

"The bonus of course was winning the League Cup and I think there's a genuine belief that we can build on last year's performances.

"Turnover-wise and player budget-wise Celtic will always be a multiple of what Aberdeen is.

"I think the important thing from our point of view is we've got a squad of players there and a management team that go out wanting to and believing that we can win every game. We just want to finish as high up the league as we possibly can.

"If any team is going to challenge it's going to be on the back of another three or four strong teams at the top of the league as well.

"It is a great disappointment that we've got Hearts, Hibs and Rangers in the Scottish Championship, but this is the league we've got for the season ahead.

"I think last season was probably one of the best seasons that Scottish football has had for a long time. Hopefully we can build on that with the teams that are in the league this year.

"I think every club out with Celtic are not in a position to go out and participate in the transfer market, we're all struggling just to balance the books. That's the reality of where we are in Scottish football.

"We're like most other clubs - we've carried forward substantial debt over the years. We aim to be dealing with that debt in the coming months, and hopefully over the coming years we'll start to see a bit of real strength start to come back into the game in Scotland.

Stewart Milne saw Aberdeen lift the League Cup in March for the first time since 1995.
Stewart Milne saw Aberdeen lift the League Cup in March for the first time since 1995.

"There's a number of different elements that we're working on to hopefully get to a point where, within the foreseeable future, we could get the club into a debt free position.

"If we can get there that puts us in a very strong position to deliver the new training facilities that we badly need and a little bit further down the line hopefully deliver the new stadium."

The Dons knocked out Dutch side Groningen in the Europa League, but left impressed with the facilities and stadium their opponents had on offer.

"That's potentially what we could have had at Loirston if we had got all the parties involved convinced that was the sort of approach that could be adopted," said Milne. "Unfortunately that's not the position.

"We are back round the table with Aberdeen city council again looking at how we can tie up the land and then move forward from there.

"Our current thinking is we want to aim for having the new stadium ready to play in probably season 2017/18."

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