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Aberdeen mulling over potential share issue

Aberdeen are considering capitalising on the 'feelgood factor' surrounding the club. Picture: SNS

Aberdeen are considering capitalising on the 'feelgood factor' surrounding the club. Picture: SNS

ABERDEEN could ask their fans to get involved in a third share issue in a bid to ease pressure on chairman Stewart Milne, as the Pittodrie club seek to capitalise on the ‘feelgood factor’ currently surrounding the club.

Vice chairman George Yule suggested the move earlier this week at the launch of the Aberdeen FC Community Trust, a charity backed by the club.

The move comes as debt-stricken Aberdeen prepare for a probable place in next year’s Europa League.

And Yule called on UEFA to help teams who face financial difficulties by competing in the early stages of the competition.

Aberdeen’s debt stands at around £15 million, with annual losses of over £1.4 million - which Yule insisted would be addressed in the near future.

“We are looking to take the onus away from one or two individuals and spread it around,” the Dons vice-chairman said, adding: “If you have got a successful team it’s much easier to go out and encourage funding.”

Yule said that it can seem like ‘firing money down a black hole’ if clubs are ‘languishing at the bottom’.

He continued: “No business can afford to lose money year on year and it would be naive to think the board is sitting back watching that annual loss.

“There will be definite moves made this year. Down the line a share issue is one of the options available to us, but there’s a lot of work to be done before that.”

Yule, who was appointed in July 2012, at which time he said he was relishing ‘the reality of getting the club to where it should be, back up the league and heading towards a brighter future’.

He expanded on the possibility of a share issue, saying it would be ‘madness’ not to consider the plans as a way of increasing the amount of money coming into the club.

“If we have a good product and are providing a good service, a good news story, then you have that opportunity to capitalise on that by having some sort of shares or rights issue.

“That’s not to say it’s definitely going to happen, but it would be madness to think that if things are going well for you, why you wouldn’t want to do that to get more cash in.”

The vice chairman warned that Aberdeen had been too reliable on the finances of Stewart Milne in recent years, adding: “I don’t think it’s particularly healthy for any club to be overly reliant on one benefactor.

“I know how much passion Stewart has for the club and how much he has done for Aberdeen with little recognition.”

Teams ‘shouldn’t be punished financially’ for playing in Europe

Yule also addressed the issue of clubs taking a hit for participating in European competitions, and called on European football’s governing body to consider helping clubs facing financially damaging involvement in the early phases of the tournaments.

“You shouldn’t be punished financially for playing in European competition”, Yule insisted. “There is enough money in UEFA to be distributed a bit more proportionally.

“In any league, you need the lesser teams as well as your bigger teams to make up the competition.”

Aberdeen lose money when they were knocked out by Czech side Sigma Olomouc at the qualifying stages of the Europa League five years ago, while Motherwell and St Johnstone have also felt the squeeze as a result of recent participation in Europe.

Yule continued: “No club should be losing money competing in Europe if they’ve grafted a whole season to get there.”

 

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