Aberdeen looking to new stadium by 2019, says chairman Stewart Milne
By Allan Valente
Last Updated: 15/12/15 12:40pm
Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne says the club is looking to move into a new stadium by the start of the 2019/2020 season.
At the club's AGM on Monday, Milne revealed a site had been earmarked for new training facilities but said plans elsewhere to integrate an academy on the south side of the city into the overall development of building a new stadium at Loirston Loch has delayed the process.
The Dons have been keen to move from Pittodrie for a number of years as they are unable to re-develop the stadium any further.
Milne told www.afc.co.uk: "All the different elements within the masterplan have to be revised so that for example there is a transport strategy that works for the stadium, works for the school, works for the new settlement that takes place, as well as the new Cove Rangers stadium.
"All of that work is quietly going on in the background, but it does mean that the time period is getting extended.
"By the time everything is planned out at Loirston, it is going to be well into next year and maybe slightly beyond. Raising the funds in the current environment could be quite challenging, but we would like to think we could be in a new stadium for the start of season 2019/2020."
Aberdeen were able to wipe out their debts of around £15m in 2014, which Milne said would allow them to pursue their plans to move from Pittodrie and set up brand new training facilities.
A stronger financial position has been aligned with growth on the pitch, with Milne also using the AGM to praise Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes, who led the club to a second-place finish in the Premiership last season, calling the side's development "sustainable progress".
He also said the club is in its strongest financial position for some time and believes Scottish football has started to make progress more recently after a "difficult five or six years" with some managing to offload their debt.
However, while he says Aberdeen are on a stable footing, he did stress the changing scene in the region's oil sector would affect corporate operations and businesses in the area over the next 18 months.
He added: "I think financially, we are probably at the best place the club has been for a long time. We are debt free, we have a very strong balance sheet and last year, we delivered the highest turnover the club has ever had.
"There is still a serious challenge in generating enough cash to keep the operations going at the level we want in order to be able to fund the manager and the team. That is not going to change overnight and it is going to be even more challenging with the environment that will prevail in the city in 2016. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us."
Milne admitted there are still challenges ahead in bringing money into the Scottish game as a whole, however.
He said: "We have come through an extremely difficult five or six years, but over the last few years the game has started to make real progress with a lot of clubs managing to offload the debt that they were carrying for a long time. Most of the clubs in Scotland have strengthened their position.
"We delivered the first part of reconstruction three years ago but we still have a long way to go and, one way or another, we have to come up with an approach that is going to enable us to bring a lot more investment into the game over the next period."