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Rob Wicks says Aberdeen are ready for fans to return to Pittodrie

Aberdeen commercial director Rob Wicks is looking forward to seeing fans back at Pittodrie
Aberdeen commercial director Rob Wicks is looking forward to seeing fans back at Pittodrie

Aberdeen’s commercial director Rob Wicks says they are ready to welcome fans back to Pittodrie in the new season.

The Dons will get their 2021-22 campaign under way against Swedish side BK Hacken in the Europa Conference League on July 22.

Other than a pilot game last September in front of 300 supporters the Reds played the entirety of last season behind closed doors.

As it stands with the Granite City in Tier 1 of Scotland’s coronavirus response system Aberdeen would be able to admit 1000 fans to home games.

Scottish football is awaiting advice from the Scottish Government on crowds at the end of this month, but Wicks is hopeful the numbers will increase.

Hoping for fan return in larger numbers

He was at Hampden on Monday for Scotland’s European Championship opener against the Czech Republic, which had 9847 in attendance.

He said: “I was at Hampden on Monday for the Scotland game and it was wonderful to see 9000 or 10,000 fans back in and it was a wonderful atmosphere.

“One forgets how special it is to have fans in the ground. We’ve all got used to seeing empty seats.

“We are waiting for the latest review of social distancing guidelines.

“We know from the First Minister’s latest comments that will be coming to us at the end of June.

Fans were back at Hampden for Scotland’s Euros clash with the Czech Republic

“There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes with the Joint Response Group (JRG) who are working closely with government to make sure we can get as many back as we can.

“We know at level 0 we can have 2000 fans in. We know at level 1 we can have 1000 fans.

“There is scope within that to apply to the local council to take that up to 5000 and we’ll be trying to do that and work with Aberdeen City Council.

“We know government are going to looking closely at the Euros and how everyone responds.

Fans at September’s pilot the game, the only time Aberdeen played in front of supporters last season

“I thought everything at Hampden was very well-organised and demonstrates what’s possible with 9000 or 10,000 fans.

“There are encouraging signs. There’s talk of Wimbledon’s men’s and women’s finals having full crowds.

“Whatever happens we’re ready from an operational, planning and ticketing perspective.

“No matter what the number is we’re ready to go and will be doing out utmost to make sure we can get as many people in here as quickly as we can.”

Plenty to look forward to for Wicks

Wicks was speaking to RedTV about a number of things Aberdeen have been working on.

These include sprucing up Pittodrie with various graphics, the introduction of mobile ticketing for season ticket holders and also a single sign on system for supporters.

He believes there is an exciting period ahead of the Dons as they prepare for their first full season under manager Stephen Glass.

The Reds board set a target of selling 15,000 season tickets and Wicks says they are halfway there.

He added: “There’s a huge amount to look forward to. We’re going into one of the most competitive seasons in many years.

“As a board we’ve set a very ambitious strategy – we want to get to 15,000 season ticket holders.

“We’re just coming up to 7500 at the moment. That target might take us a year or two or three to get to, but that’s where we want to get to.

“Another 4000 ticket holders adds £1million to what we can do from a football budget perspective which is really significant.

“We need everyone to do their bit. This is the message Dave (Cormack) as chairman has put out.

“Whether it’s our investment group, fans, sponsors, corporate partners everyone needs to do their bit to make sure we can operate at the highest level and be competitive and that as a club the business is sustainable over the longer term.

Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass.
The 2021-22 season will be Stephen Glass’ first full campaign as Aberdeen manager

“That’s very important. We’ve got 35 days to go until our first competitive game of the new season in the Europa Conference League against some strong opposition.

“My comment would be lets get behind the manager and the players.

“We’ve still got a couple of new players to come in. There are some incredibly exciting times ahead and lets make this a season to remember.”

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