Joe Lewis has seen what a fragmented football club looks like.
The Dons goalkeeper was at Blackpool in 2014-15 on loan from Cardiff City. At the time, Blackpool were in freefall under the turbulent ownership of Karl Oyston, with the Seasiders dropping from the Premier League to League 2.
Unrest at Blackpool was commonplace, with fans staying away and players required to wash their own training gear amid poor club facilities.
Fast-forward to now and Dons skipper Lewis is enjoying Aberdeen’s new training ground at Cormack Park. He could not be happier as the Dons prepare to host St Mirren at Pittodrie today.
Dave Cormack’s impending ascent to the club’s chairmanship, taking over from Stewart Milne, only promotes for Lewis a sense of enthusiasm for what the future holds.
Lewis said: “Being at Aberdeen, you always feel everybody is pointing in the right direction and looking to drive the club forward. Everybody wants the best for this football club and it is a good place to be at because everybody wants to help the lads on the pitch do the best they can.
“I was there at Blackpool when Karl Oyston was in charge. That was chaos. That felt like it was somebody who didn’t have the best interest of the club or we didn’t feel like we were being looked after.
“They washed our match kit but we had to wash our own training kit.
“The training ground was terrible, really bad. The stadium was great but they were using the facilities to do whatever they wanted to do with them, like the hotel and conference rooms.
“It is refreshing to be where everyone is pulling in the right direction. It is all pretty clear and makes our jobs a lot easier.”
Cormack spoke of his desire to make Aberdeen a Uefa Top 100 club, which would require the Dons to improve on their recent European performances and make the group stages of the Europa League for the first time.
Lewis added: “We need to match the ambition that the club has got.
“Making the group stages of Europe would help that side of things, so we need to try to achieve it.
“It is great for the people on the board to set their goals but, as players, we need to focus on the here and now and focus on our short-term goals.”
Lewis penned a contract extension this year to take him to 2024, shortly before he succeeded Graeme Shinnie as club captain.
He has already played in three finals with the Dons, coming closest to success in the 2017 Scottish Cup final.
A trophy has eluded him so far in the Granite City but, with Cormack stepping up to the top job, he accepts the bar will be raised across the club.
Lewis said: “Definitely, it has to be. You have to look to improve as individuals and the club will be looking to attract some big-name players and guys to improve the team.
“We have a good group of lads in that changing room but hopefully we can add to that and keep improving to the quality of the squad and the club overall.
“That is something the manager and club want to do by moving to a new stadium and all the plans that are in place going forward. They are things that excite the players as the club continues to build.”