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Dave Cormack wants to give new Aberdeen manager ‘time’ to shape squad for next season

Former Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.
Former Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.

Dave Cormack says Derek McInnes leaves a great legacy at Aberdeen – but insists the time was right for a change of manager.

McInnes’s eight-year reign as Dons boss was brought to an end last week.

During his time at Pittodrie, McInnes qualified for Europe every season, finishing second in the Premiership four times, third once and fourth twice, won the League Cup in 2014 and reached three more cup finals.

Although the Reds are sitting fourth this season, they had won just twice in 13 games and only scored once in nine outings.

That led Cormack to decide it was time for a change.

The Aberdeen chairman said: “It’s been well-documented about the performances, results and lack of goals since the beginning of January.

“I remember a conversation I had with Derek six or eight weeks ago when Derek said to me – and rightly so because the chairman-manager relationship is critical – ‘Look, Dave, if it ever gets to a stage where you think I’ve run my time at Aberdeen I want you to be honest with me.’

“So on Monday last week I had that conversation with Derek where I said ‘Derek, it’s my judgment that I’m there’ as far as his time at Aberdeen.

“We had a very constructive conversation around the timing and I explained to Derek that I didn’t want to wait until the summer where there’s so many players out of contract that we would prefer to make the move now.

“We had that conversation and came out with the mutual consent statement and that’s really the rationale behind it.

“As for the reasons, clearly the performances over that period have been challenging for the club and at the end of the day it’s a judgment from my perspective.

“We felt the timing was right as a board to give the new manager coming in time to get ready for next season.”

On McInnes’s tenure, Cormack believes Aberdeen made great strides on and off-field, with the club’s debt cleared and training complex, Cormack Park, opened.

Cormack Park.

He added: “Derek leaves a tremendous legacy.

“I like to classify the late ’90s until 2013 when Derek came as almost years in the wilderness.

“Like many clubs, Aberdeen speculated based on potential TV money in the ’90s and ended up building up debt of close to £15 million. It took us the best part of 15 years to get rid of that debt.

“Derek came in and basically took the club from being perennial bottom-six players and dragged it back on to its feet.

“He put a level of professionalism into the club that is reflected right across the board.

“Derek’s legacy is being one of the most consistent managers in the history of this club with top-six finishes, European football every year and the 2014 League Cup win where we had a great day with 43,000 Aberdonians at Celtic Park. Derek will be a tough act to follow.”

Aberdeen ended a 19-year trophy drought by winning the League Cup in 2014 under Derek McInnes.

Having worked with McInnes and his assistant manager Tony Docherty for almost four years after returning to the club, Cormack admits he found it hard to part company with the duo.

He said: “There are relationships that get built up. Whether it’s in my software businesses or the football club, the hardest part of the job is when people part company, whether it be the club or any business.

“I’ve worked with Derek and Tony and supported them for almost four years now – this hasn’t been an overnight thing.

“Derek is someone I have a tremendous amount of time for personally, I know his wife Nicola and his boys.

“There’s a human part of this which is not something you ever get used to.”

Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack.

Cormack has received criticism in some quarters following his decision to dismiss McInnes.

“Some of the criticism from some of the media pundits and ex-players, criticism of me and of our fans of expecting too much, there’s a lot I’d like to say, but I will hold my tongue and rise above it,” he said.

“But what I will say is this: is it wrong of Aberdeen fans to want more than one trophy in 26 years?”

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This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.