Stewart Milne to fight to keep McInnes at Pittodrie

Stewart Milne knows he faces a fight to keep Derek McInnes at Aberdeen for the long haul but it is a much happier situation than he’s faced with several of the club’s managers in the past.

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes has rejected informal approaches from other clubs for his services. Picture: SNS Group
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes has rejected informal approaches from other clubs for his services. Picture: SNS Group

The building tycoon is dealing with the ninth person to hold the post, not counting caretaker appointments, since he joined the board of directors back in 1994 when Willie Miller was still in charge of the football operation.

There’s no doubt McInnes has been the most successful during that time, which hasn’t gone unnoticed elsewhere as he has already revealed rejecting informal approaches from other clubs for his services.

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Milne would expect nothing less given the fact he’s already extended his manager’s contract twice in less than the three years since agreeing the initial deal to bring him to Pittodrie.

Now that determination to do everything possible to keep McInnes includes prioritising delivery of a state-of-the-art training complex ahead of the proposed new stadium development at Loirston on the south side of the city.

It’s certainly a new situation for Milne to deal with after years of underachievement on the park but he said:“I would rather that Derek is doing a fantastic job here and people are looking at him as opposed to him being here struggling and nobody having any interest in him.

“We know that at some point in the future that is going to be a big challenge for the club. That is just the reality of the game.

“When Derek took on the job he viewed it as a medium to long-term prospect of getting the team back to where we all want to see them.

“I think Derek and Tony Docherty have made tremendous progress but they accept themselves that they still have some way to go. The important thing is we have everyone focused on what needs to be done in the short to medium term.

“Derek knows he is working with a board that believe in him and are prepared to do all we can to support him.”

Aberdeen had originally hoped to be in a new training ground by now and intended to move away from Pittodrie by the start of season 2017/18 but both projects had to be reassessed after problems arose with the proposals.

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It will now be the summer of 2019 at the earliest before the stadium can be delivered but that doesn’t top the chairman’s priority list.

He added:“There is not the same urgency to deliver the new stadium. The real urgency is to give Derek and the squad a top notch training facility.

“We are one of the only major clubs in Scotland that doesn’t have a top class facility. We don’t feel good about that.

“We know it is a compromise for Derek but I think we are in a pretty good place at the moment and everyone is working towards the same goals.”

Aberdeen are certainly better placed than ever to deliver both after wiping out their debt at a time of record turnover for the club.

They even made a £500,000 profit last season however Milne still thinks Scottish football in general is being undersold.

He backs the recent shake-up of the League Cup but insists the game needs a much more radical overhaul to flourish again. He added:“The one thing we need to be able to achieve in the next five years is to bring a lot more cash into Scottish football than what is coming in.

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“If there is going to be some radical thinking and changes in order to do that then we have got to be prepared to look at all the options.

“I don’t think we should be charging down any particular route at this point in time unless we are convinced that is going to enable us to bring a lot more investment into Scottish football.

“When you look at what is going to happen in English football next year when you have £1.7 billion coming into the game for a season and we are sitting around £20 million in total. That is the scale of the challenge.

“We have got to find ways of getting that £20m substantially increased in the next five or six years.

“We have delivered the first stage of reconstruction in Scottish football.

“The announcement of the reconstruction of the League Cup is another step in the right direction.

“There is work being done on the other two cup competitions and work will start soon on the next stages of what reconstruction of the league might be.”