Aberdeen director wants Europa League for clubs ‘with turnover of £20m or less’

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Aberdeen director Dave Cormack has called for a European competition open to teams from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Greece, Turkey and Scotland who have a turnover of under £20 million.

The Atlanta-based businessman has been sharing his vision for the Dons - which includes his desire for children in California to be wearing Aberdeen shirts.

Dave Cormack has revealed his plans for Aberdeen. Picture: SNS Group

Dave Cormack has revealed his plans for Aberdeen. Picture: SNS Group

In a wide-ranging interview with the BBC, Cormack said he wanted the Pittodrie side to play matches on Saturday nights, return to the latter rounds of European competitions.

He also called for the Scottish FA and SPFL to be amalgamated, and explained how a series of commercial deals helped bring in £750,000 to the club - all of which was spent on the playing budget.

Cormack also wants Aberdeen to capitalise on the growth of football - or soccer - among the younger generations in America, and is keen to see the Dons agree an affiliation system with up to 30 soccer academies, which he believes could raise up to £2 million a year through the academies buying kit through the club.

He added: “It’s not that Manchester City or Manchester United or Barcelona don’t do it, but with them [the academies] are just a number - we can bring something tangible.

“There is the appetite to bring kids to Aberdeen in the summer where they get an experience of training in a professional environment, and we let them see the sights and sounds of the north east.

“Not everything is going to work, but I learned a long time ago, if you are going to fail, fail fast and learn quickly, and if you don’t try you are never going to succeed.”

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Cormack has already invited Philadelphia Union owner Richie Graham to Pittodrie to give a presentation to the Dons board and management, which included a discussion on how clubs in a similar position to Aberdeen or the MLS side can compete with better-off rivals.

One thing Cormack is focused on is improving the fans’ experience.

He said: “The principle has to be ‘is this the right thing for the fans?’ and how we entertain them and look after them. I think we can do a lot better.”

Among his ideas for bettering things for supporters is summer football, Saturday evening kick-offs and an improved customer experience at the stadium.

Cormack continued: “Businessmen and leaders in the States aren’t any better than we have in Scotland, but the difference is that there is a can do attitude.

“The leaders over there in my software business will give us ten reasons why something can be done, and maybe nine of them are useless but there is always a gem. 
“Here its ‘ach, that’ll never work’, but we need to explore these things.”

The 59-year-old is firmly involved with Aberdeen, investing both time and money into the club, but he has now set his sights on dragging the Scottish game to a higher point.

He’s keen for the SPFL and Scottish FA to merge and run the professional game as a single body, while another separate entity deals with the semi-professional, amateur and youth levels of Scottish football.

Cormack insists the current model has created “mediocrity” and that clubs “must strive for more” both on the domestic front and in continental competition.

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Amid strong rumours of a third European club competition, Cormack has a suggestion for the format.

He continued: “Teams like Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs should have exposure to European football, and not just a qualifying round here or there.

“Why can’t we be “guaranteed” some kind of group-stage football if we finish second, third or fourth in the league? What is wrong with trying to promote a Europa League or Champions League for teams that have turnover of £20 million or less, with clubs from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Turkey and Scotland?

“Let Barcelona, and Real Madrid knock themselves out on their own. I just think we need to be pushing that agenda. Nobody else is going to fight our corner like we will.”