Dave Cormack has revealed he has received support from Sir Alex Ferguson as he bids to find a successor to Derek McInnes at Aberdeen.
Cormack and the Aberdeen board made the decision that McInnes and his assistant Tony Docherty had run their course at Pittodrie last week, bringing to an end eight years at the club.
It is Cormack’s first appointment since taking over as chairman in 2019, with Stephen Glass – the former Dons player and head coach of Atlanta United 2 – the early favourite for the role.
Ferguson is the most successful manager in Aberdeen’s history, having delivered three league titles, four Scottish Cups and two European trophies during his time with the Dons, before embarking on a dynastic period with Manchester United.
Cormack, who plans to travel from his home in the US to Aberdeen when possible, intends to continue leaning on the legendary boss for support.
He told RedTV: “Sir Alex Ferguson called me on Friday and he reminded me that Aberdeen Football Club is the hardest club to be manager of outside Celtic and Rangers. I agreed with him. It’s a prestigious position for anyone.
“It was really nice of Sir Alex and he said to me ‘listen Dave, as you look forward and make the appointment, the relationship between chairman and manager is critical. Pick someone who is the right person for you to work with and for the club’.
“He reminded me of we’ve got a clear strategy of how we want to play. He reminded me Neil Simpson is a great asset and suggested he be involved with the first-team, as he’s a winner through and through. He epitmoises what it is to be an Aberdeen player.
“He reminded me as well that perhaps there’s pundits in the media that don’t want Aberdeen to do well, that don’t want me to do well. Ignore all that. Find a coach that you can work with, someone who will go to Glasgow and aim to beat Celtic and Rangers. Don’t look for second-best as far as that goes.
“He did ask me how I was feeling about it. I’m nervous but really excited and he said ‘good, that’s the way I should be’. He suggested I lean on Bobby Clark, who I agree with Sir Alex in that he’s one of the best human beings I’ve encountered.
“Sir Alex has made himself available for me to use him as a sounding board and you can bet I’ll take him up on that.”
Cormack also opened up on the difficult talks that resulted in parting company with McInnes and Docherty.
The Dons chairman cited declining performances and the lack of goals as a key factor, however he indicated McInnes had said to him previously to be honest with him when he felt his time was up.
Cormack added: “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 judgement 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 judgement from my perspective.
“We felt the timing was right as a board to give the new manager coming in to get ready for next season.”
Cormack also defended any notions that Aberdeen fans are too demanding, pointing to their solitary trophy – the 2014 League Cup – since 1995.
He said: “Constructive criticism is healthy. None of us are perfect, I’m not perfect, far from it. But I say to people ‘judge me on how I respond.’ Constructive criticism is fine and fair and it is important to be transparent about that but it is part of the territory of being chairman of a football club, particularly Aberdeen Football Club.
“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.
“But what I will say is this: is it wrong of Aberdeen fans to want more than one trophy in 26 years?”