ABERDEEN legend Wille Miller is to be removed from the club’s board of directors following the announcement yesterday of a major shake-up of the Pittodrie club’s hierarchy.
Gordon Yule, currently president of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, has been appointed executive vice chairman and will work alongside chief executive Duncan Fraser, while Miller is one of five directors leaving their posts.
The Scottish Premier League club released a statement explaining that Yule’s appointment “strengthens the board and the executive team, as the club prepares for the greatest challenge in its history”. Aberdeen are planning to move from Pittodrie to a new stadium at Loirston in time for the start of the 2014/15 season.
Miller enjoyed a sparkling career as a player for the Dons. He made a club record 558 league appearances and won three Premier Division titles, four Scottish Cups, three League Cups and, most memorably, the European Cup Winners’ Cup and Super Cup in 1983. He had a disappointing three-year spell as manager between 1992 and 1995 but returned to the club when he joined the board in 2004.
Speaking to BBC Scotland last night, chairman Stewart Milne was asked how Miller – who, aside from a loan spell at Peterhead as a teenager, has never worked for another football club – took the news. Milne said: “He’s obviously disappointed. It came as a surprise to him.”
As well as Miller, Ken Matheson and supporters representative Chris Gavin will step down from the board, while Aberdeen Asset Management pair Martin Gilbert and Hugh Little will depart following transfer of the company’s shares in the club to other individuals – predominantly the new board members.
Milne added: “We need a step-change in how the club is run if we are to deliver our vision of delivering the new stadium and soccer academy, and be in a position to take full advantage of these fantastic new facilities when we move.
“At the same time, we will be pushing forward our plan to achieve substantial growth over the next three years, and George will play a pivotal role in bringing about this step change.”
Yule, an Aberdonian and life-long supporter of the club, is also Patron of the Aberdeen branch of Befriend A Child, which provides support for deprived and vulnerable children in the city. Milne continued: “George and Duncan working together will give us an exceptionally strong executive team.
“Duncan will continue to oversee the day-to-day running of the football and non-football aspects of the club, and represent us at SPL level where I believe he will play a major role as Scottish football goes into a period of fundamental change. I strongly believe Aberdeen Football Club must play a significant role in this period of uncertainty.”
Much of the uncertainty centres on the future of Rangers and whether the share owned by the soon-to-be liquidated club can be transferred to allow the “newco” club to remain in the SPL. Milne believes yesterday’s reshuffle puts Aberdeen in a stronger position to deal with such issues.
“Clubs have always faced challenges which vary in nature and gravity, none more so than what lies ahead over the next few years,” said the chairman.
“We have an obligation to our supporters, shareholders and all those associated with the club to ensure we are fit for the future, and have the best resources available to us”.