Aberdeen have announced a “strategic partnership” with Major League Soccer club Atlanta United while also confirming Dave Cormack will replace Stewart Milne as chairman.
Further details will be revealed at a press conference at Pittodrie this morning, with the Atlanta-based Aberdonian Cormack poised to take control after the club’s AGM on 16 December. The move ends Milne’s 22 years at the helm of the Pittodrie club.
“For four years, we’ve been working on a succession plan,” said Milne. “It’s been no easy task to find the right person who is willing to take on the onerous role of chairman, with responsibility for both the financial health and growth of the club.
“In bringing Dave on to the board and then appointing him vice-chairman, we viewed him as the natural successor. He qualifies on both counts. He is prepared to take on the commitment and has already proved his ability to secure significant new investment. Importantly, he is passionate about Aberdeen and the club.”
An additional press release, published on the Atlanta United website, announced that AMB Sports & Entertainment (AMBSE), the parent company of Atlanta United, will have minority ownership of Aberdeen, “with a less than 10 per cent stake in the club”.
The statement added: “AMBSE’s investment of £2 million is part of a new package of investment in AFC totalling £5 million.”
It claimed the tie-up will be an opportunity for both clubs “to share knowledge and experience including player and youth development, fan experience and venue best practices”.
There is already a link between the teams, with midfielder Jon Gallagher currently on loan at Aberdeen from Atlanta United. Cormack is a season ticket holder at the American club.
Milne and Cormack embraced in the directors’ box before yesterday’s 1-1 draw between St Johnstone and Aberdeen in Perth. It was a visible depiction of the changing of the guard at Pittodrie. There are sweeping changes at board level, with former Aberdeen manager Craig Brown among those stepping down. He will continue in an ambassadorial role at the club.
Chief executive Duncan Fraser, a long-time ally of Milne, has also decided to step down but will remain as a non-executive board director.
Atlanta United president Darren Eales, meanwhile, will join the Pittodrie board.
“The new investment and this partnership with Atlanta will allow us to punch above our weight, aspiring to attain Uefa’s top 100 status, and trying to level the playing field against significantly higher income generated by Celtic and Rangers,” said Cormack.