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Dons chairman gives backing to European cross-border leagues

Today, 05:00 AM

Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack believes competing in a European cross-border league could be the future for the Dons.

Cormack reckons the majority of Scottish football fans are bored with the dominance enjoyed by nine-in-a-row champions Celtic and would be excited by the prospect of seeing their team lining up against similar-sized sides from other nations.

The Dons chairman feels cross-border leagues is inevitable – a view shared by SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster earlier this summer.

He said: “From an investment standpoint, instead of looking to a broadcast deal which, let’s say, in ten years’ time is probably gone, clubs have got to go out and look for investment.

“It’s the responsibility of directors to look for investment and put marketing plans in place.

“The important thing is where we will be in five to ten years’ time.

“If you ask the 42 clubs in Scotland where we’ll be you’ll get varying opinions.

“If I look ten years’ out, there will be closed-door European cross-border leagues, I believe that will take place.

“Why is that? Most European leagues – including Scotland – are dominated by one or two teams.

“What this proves to me is that a monolithic domestic league proves one size does not fit all.

“The game in Scotland will survive – it absolutely will – but in what shape or form is it going to be in in 10 years’ time?

“The reality is the fans are bored and I think we ignore them at our peril.”

Cormack, who was speaking on former SPL chief executive Roger Mitchell’s podcast Are You Not Entertained, added: “I like a boxing analogy. If you were setting up a fight and want to make £100 million, why would you put a lightweight in with a heavyweight?

“Maybe once in a hundred years the lightweight is going to win.

“What is a fair fight? This is what I think will even itself out in Europe because the days of Dundee United beating Barcelona and Aberdeen beating Real Madrid are gone.

“That doesn’t mean there isn’t an appetite for football, so from my perspective, what I think would be fair is to bracket clubs according to what they spend on their budget.”

Cormack believes the emergence of colt teams in the Scottish game is also highly likely.

He said: “The other thing I see is there will be colt teams, absolutely Celtic and Rangers – and I have no problem with it – they have aspirations to grow and that growth will be in Europe, not in Scotland.

“There is nothing wrong with having aspirations.

“We at Aberdeen have aspirations of wanting to be part of that.

“It might not be a Champions League 2, it might be a Europa League where there is a league of right-minded countries.

“We all have to be open about this.

“If colt teams come in to play, where does that lead us as a country?

“What would the broadcasting revenue be if Celtic and Rangers are playing colt teams?

“We have to get on the front foot, rather than wait for the crumbs to come off the table from teams such as Barcelona and Man United.”

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Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes gives his review of ‘disappointing’ Premiership season

Yesterday, 11:30 AM

Manager Derek McInnes will demand more from Aberdeen when next season finally begins, after a disappointing campaign.

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‘Unfair’ for Hearts to drop out of Premiership – Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes

Yesterday, 10:09 AM

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes believes Hearts should not have been relegated to the Championship.

The Jambos were four points behind Hamilton Accies with eight games remaining when the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The SPFL board voted last Monday to declare the season officially over, condemning the Tynecastle side to the second tier.

Hearts owner Ann Budge has been given the go-ahead to outline a proposal for a temporary reconstruction of the top flight that could spare the Gorgie side demotion.

The Jambos believe they have been “unfairly penalised” along with Partick Thistle and Stranraer who have been relegated from the Championship and League One respectively.

The top-flight clubs had initially agreed this was not the correct time to explore reconstruction before later allowing Budge the opportunity to bring a proposal to the table.

McInnes is full of sympathy for the Jambos.

He said: “I think it is a terrible decision that Hearts have been relegated.

“It is so unfair and I would say that for any club at the bottom of the table.

“That would be the case even with one or two games to go, never mind eight or nine games to go. It was still in their hands and well within their control.

“The hand that they have been dealt in being effectively relegated is so harsh.

“I thought there could have been a way where we could have had temporary reconstruction that could have satisfied the majority.

“It might not have been what everybody wanted and I understand why there is a need for not having a permanently expanded league.

Ann Budge has been tasked with exploring reconstruction. McInnes revealed he was for temporary measures, but feels the ship has now sailed on any league rethink.

“But something could have happened on a temporary basis to deal with this situation.

“I find it so disappointing that Hearts, as it stands, are going to get relegated.

“Not just because it is Hearts and what they bring to the league.

“If it had been any team I would have thought it was so unfair on them.

“A temporary reconstruction could have been possible, but those conversations have been had and we move on now.”

McInnes, meanwhile, felt that every opportunity to have finished the 2019-20 season should have been explored before declaring the campaign over, especially given the Bundesliga is back up and running in Germany and the English Premier League is nearing a return.

The Dons boss feels disappointed with the lack of progress that has been made in the SPFL.

He said: “We are all in the hands of the people running our game, the people running our country and the broadcasters.

“We need to know what the broadcasters want.

“We don’t even know if they have been asked that.

“We are still going on about reconstruction when I thought we had moved on from that.”

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Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes: Clubs need Scottish Government cash boost to get through coronavirus crisis

Yesterday, 10:02 AM

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes has called for the government to provide financial aid to help Scottish football survive the Covid-19 crisis.

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Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes frustrated after ‘disappointing’ campaign

Yesterday, 05:15 AM

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes regards the 2019-20 campaign as the most frustrating of his seven-year tenure at Pittodrie.

The Dons were sitting in fourth position, a point behind Motherwell, when play was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The SPFL declared the season officially over last Monday with fourth-place enough to earn the Dons European qualification due to no Scottish Cup winner being crowned.

McInnes’s side were scheduled to face Celtic in the last four of the national cup competition and had picked up their first victory at home with a 3-1 victory against Hibernian in their last game before football was suspended on March 13 with eight league games to go.

The Dons manager said: “I thought it was a disappointing season from a personal point of view.

“I would have liked us to have done a lot more, to have played better and been more consistent.

“When you don’t have a particularly strong home form it can be a challenging season. I didn’t enjoy the season as much as others.

“We had our own challenges with the difficulties with injuries but, leaving that aside, I still felt our standards dropped in too many games.

“It is important when we go back that we try to attain the levels we are capable of on a more regular basis.

“I do think the injuries played a part but it wasn’t as enjoyable a season and I’m sure our supporters would agree.

“Despite that, we secured a European spot and I don’t know how many teams outwith the Old Firm have managed to achieve that consistently over the years.

“It pleases me that we have managed it – but I am disappointed we didn’t get the chance to finish higher as the league was cut short.

“We have a Scottish Cup semi-final to look forward to (next season) so it hasn’t all been disappointing but it has been challenging.”

The Dons manager said moving into the club’s new training base at Cormack Park was the major positive of the campaign but felt some of his first team players could be proud of their efforts over the course of the season.

He added: “Sam Cosgrove scored more than 20 goals and was on course for 30. That was a fantastic return on the back of what he did last season.

“Another positive was the continual improvement in Lewis Ferguson and the extra responsibility he had to take on when we were without key players.

“Also, the more we ask from Andy Considine, the more he seems to give.

“There was a lot of effort from all the players but in terms of consistency those three had good campaigns despite the difficulties.”

McInnes feels for Hearts, thescore P3

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