Aberdeen vice-chairman Dave Cormack insists it was worth splashing extra millions to deliver a training facility that can attract and retain top talent.
The state-of-the-art facility at Kingsford, named Cormack Park in recognition of the vice-chairman’s contribution to financing the project, was initially budgeted at £10 million.
However, the final figure was close to £13m as the Dons opted to upgrade one of the professional pitches to a hybrid surface with undersoil heating.
They also added one full-size and a half-size pitch on top of the initial design.
Cormack said: “It is a quality environment and we have spent closer to £13m than the £10m budgeted when we started.
“We’ve invested in a hybrid pitch which the English Premier League teams use at a cost of £750,000 on its own but it will be really durable in the winter.
“We decided to invest now as expanding on what we wanted to do now rather than as we go along.
“This facility is also important for attracting and keeping young players here.
“This has been a long time coming. We have spent a few million pounds on two planning applications just to get to this point at the third time of asking.
“This is critical for the club. In order for us to attract the players we want, we need this facility.
“Ryan Hedges and Funso Ojo wanted to see this place before signing in the summer as they were being courted by other clubs and they needed to see this was going to be a reality.”
Cormack Park is also home to the Bobby Clark Football Academy and the AFC Community Trust.
The facility features a state-of-the art training pavilion, three professional training pitches, two floodlit 3G pitches and two grass pitches.
There is also outdoor and indoor space for a variety of community-based sporting and recreational activities.
Mr Cormack said: “Myself and my family have been delighted to help make this happen but the plaudits need to go to a lot more people, in particular the chairman for his dedication over the last 20 years.
“This is the third site we have tried to go for and it’s the best one. A lot of people have put a lot of effort into making this happen.
“It’s important to help people in disadvantaged situations and this facility is going to do that.”
Cormack Park was officially opened by club legend Sir Alex Ferguson, who insists Aberdeen can be a trailblazing club again.
The Aberdeen and Manchester United managerial great said: “I am delighted to see the progress of the club. It is a pleasure and an honour to be at this opening.
“In 1978 we were the first club to have all seating stadium.
“That was followed by Coventry City so it is not beyond Aberdeen to show the way ahead.
“This is for the coach and will allow the young players to train properly.
“It is an indication of the progress of the club.
“It is absolutely imperative to have a training ground in the modern day and athletes you are producing and the competitions you are in today.”
Sir Alex even joked that chairman Stewart Milne should open up his pockets.
He said: “Now there’s a great platform to improve and be successful again and I’m really delighted about that.
“But Stewart will need to get the money out. You can’t go the grave with your pockets full.
“Or keep doing the lottery.”
For Mr Milne the official opening was the realisation of a 20-year dream that has encountered many hurdles and setbacks.
He said: “Lots of people believed it would never happen and it has taken a lot longer than any of us wanted to see.
“It has been a long, rocky journey but a lot of people within the club have committed so much to achieving this.
“It makes me feel very proud and it is a proud day for the club.
“To have Sir Alex up to do the official opening makes it extra special.”