Dave Cormack will always be grateful to Derek McInnes for ending the wilderness years at Aberdeen, but the Dons chairman believes it was time for change at Pittodrie.
It was Cormack’s call to end McInnes and Tony Docherty’s eight years in charge at the club last week and, as decisions go, Cormack regards telling the manager his time at the club had reached an end was a difficult one.
It was his judgement call and one he is prepared to stand by.
The Dons 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 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 time to get ready for next season.”
Cormack says the strong relationship he had with the management team only added to the task in telling them the club was going to head in a different direction without them.
He said: “There are relationships that get built up whether it’s in my software businesses or the football club and 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. I’m 62 now, I’ve been in business for about 30 years and it’s not something you ever get used to in the role is going through that.”
While he believes he made the right decision to cut the cord of the McInnes era now, the Aberdeen chairman is in no doubt the former manager’s place in the club’s history is assured.
He restored stability and pride at Pittodrie and Cormack knows his successor has big shoes to fill.
He said: “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.”