Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack has defended incoming player-coach Scott Brown’s character in a YouTube Q&A with fans.
Celtic skipper Brown has agreed to join the Dons from next season under new manager Stephen Glass.
It’s proved a controversial move for the club, following Brown’s defence of team-mate Aleksandar Tonev when the Bulgarian racially abused Aberdeen right-back Shay Logan in September 2014.
Cormack insisted there is no issue between Brown and Logan – who left Aberdeen for a loan at Hearts earlier this week.
The chief said “players invariably support” their team-mates and “that does not make them guilty of the crime their team-mate is punished for”.
Cormack said: “It’s important that you get the right person with the right values.
“Tonev was found guilty of abusing Shay and was rightly punished.
“We as a club stood up for Shay. The only time Shay thinks about it is when others bring it up.
“There’s no issue between Shay and Scott. Both are tough competitors on the field.
“Rightly or wrongly, players invariably support what their team-mates say to them.
“That does not make them guilty of the crime their team-mate is punished for.
“In Scott’s case, we all saw him on the spur of the moment go over to Glen Kamara (the Rangers midfielder, who was allegedly racially abused in a game against Slavia Prague) and show solidarity when Celtic played Rangers.
“Scott has led players of all backgrounds for the best part of 15 years.”
Cormack went on to emphasise Brown’s charity work away from football, as well as his different personality off the pitch.
Some fans on social media had speculated Logan – who is out of contract at Pittodrie in the summer – had been moved on due to a rift with Brown over the 2014 incident.
The chairman underlined statements from Logan and new Dons boss Glass the move was the result of the full-back, who has made just three starts this term, being desperate for game-time with the Championship-leading Jambos.
Cormack insisted a proper send-off would be organised for 2014 League Cup winner and near-eight-year Reds star Logan when the Englishman returns from Tynecastle at the end of the second-tier campaign, saying: “He’ll be back at Aberdeen for the final few weeks of the season at which point we can rightly thank him and show our appreciation for seven years of tremendous dedication and service to the club.
“That’s the totality of it.”
In an hour-long session responding to fans questions on everything from when season tickets will be on sale, the Pittodrie matchday experience and the club’s financials after more than year of Covid restrictions, Cormack once again laid out the process which led to Atlanta United 2 boss Glass being appointed as Derek McInnes’ successor in the Dons dugout.
Supporters had questioned whether Glass, who already knew Atlanta-based businessman Cormack, had already been pre-selected to take on the role due to the speed of the appointment.
However, Cormack, who revealed Glass looks likely to miss both the Scottish Cup trip to Dumbarton and Premiership post-split opener at St Johnstone due to quarantine rules, said the recruitment process had been sped up to fend off potential other suitors for their four shortlisted candidates.
Cormack explained: “There were four manager positions became vacant one after the other in England and we knew candidates were applying for these roles too.”
He added his belief Glass had the “best overall credentials” for the job.
‘Aberdeen bought the player and he’s still our player today’
In another highlight, Cormack also addressed speculation Venezuelan right-back Ronald Hernandez, who is on loan at strategic partners Atlanta United after struggling to get in the Dons team, had been bought be another party.
On a loan which appeared in the Dons financial statements soon after the deal to sign Hernandez for more than £800,000 from Norwegian outfit Stabaek was completed last January deadline day, Cormack said: “As far as who paid for Ronny – Aberdeen Football Club paid for Ronny. In our financial accounts for last year, it was noted that a loan came in not long after he was signed.
“That loan was subsequently converted to stock. That came from me and my family.
“So I put the money in not just for Ronny. I put £1 million in to help the club with some cash flow as well.
“I converted it all to shares so the club owes nobody anything for Ronny. “
Cormack went to say the Dons were “absolutely not” a feeder club for MLS side Atlanta, although he said the pandemic had damaged the clubs’ ability to send their development players across the Atlantic.
Nothing certain due to pandemic – but Cormack hopeful Aberdeen can make ‘good signings’ for next season
New manager Glass is facing a big squad rebuild in the summer with many Dons players out of contract or at the end of their loans.
Cormack suggested new contracts for players, summer signings and the playing budget for next season are still heavily dependent on the Covid situation – with the club forecasting a £12.4 million funding gap for the period since the pandemic began, should fans still not back at games by January.
Nevertheless, Cormack said things are “looking more hopeful” on the return of crowds and he is optimistic the Dons will still be able to be competitive next term.
The chairman, who pledged the Dons are “going to have a real go at winning trophies” during his tenure, said: “With Stephen just coming on board, we will work through the plans for next season in the coming weeks.
“I believe you will see good signings for next season.”
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