Sir Alex Ferguson says Aberdeen’s new Cormack Park training base at Kingsford is among the best he’s seen.
Legendary Dons and Manchester United gaffer Ferguson, who was back in the north-east to officially open the £12 million site containing facilities for the first team, youth academy and community, also said the impact of the club’s long-desired hub on performance “cannot be underestimated”.
Speaking at the launch, Sir Alex, who won every domestic honour and the European Cup Winners’ Cup while at Pittodrie, said: “I am greatly honoured to officially open these magnificent facilities which are part of AFC’s broader ambition for the future of the club, its players and its fans.
“The positive impact on performance and morale of best-in-class training facilities cannot be underestimated – and these facilities are up there with some of the best I’ve seen.
“There is no doubt that Cormack Park will help the club to attract, retain and develop the players and coaches it needs to compete at the highest level.
“The club has to be congratulated for pursuing the vision to develop these training facilities and taking on the significant challenge of building its new stadium on the adjacent land in order to derive greater benefits for the club, its players – particularly the future generation – and the wider community.
“This will be the envy of many other clubs, not just in Scotland.”
Sir Alex also joked that it was time for chairman Stewart Milne to dig deep as he couldn’t take any money to his grave.
Cormack Park is named after club vice-chairman Dave Cormack due to his contribution to the funding and delivery of the project, while the youth academy portion of the facility is named after former Dons keeper Bobby Clark.
It features a state-of-the art training pavilion, groundsman’s accommodation, 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.
Chairman Milne expressed his delight at finally having completed phase one of the two-phase £55m development at Kingsford.
He said: “Cormack Park will provide the best environment to inspire, motivate, attract and retain today’s and tomorrow’s players, coaches and management.
Our community facilities will be the cornerstone on which the Trust will be able to deliver even more for local communities in Aberdeen and across the Shire.
“On completion of phase two, we will have a complex that will act as a catalyst for greater sporting achievements and events in the region and will aid our quest to be a UEFA Top 100 Club.
“As a focal point for our footballers and their coaches to train and interact with the community, as well as off the pitch operations, it will achieve our ambition of driving maximum socio-economic benefits into our communities through the power of and passion for football.
“This progressive, modernisation strategy will lead the way in Scottish football with an integrated facility that acts as a destination and visitor attraction, forming a key part of the regeneration we are seeing across the city and wider region.”
Cormack added: “After 116 years, our famous club now has its own state-of-the-art training facilities.
“And, in keeping with Aberdeen FC’s family and inclusive tradition, these facilities are fully accessible to the community through the AFC Community Trust.
“My wife, Fiona, and I are delighted to have been able to support making this milestone project a reality for the club and our fellow Aberdonians”.