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Aberdeen And Their New Stadium


After a long, drawn-out process, Aberdeen finally got approval for the plans for their new stadium. Revised plans for the project were approved by the city council at the end of last month. The £50 million training and stadium package have met with many detractors, however, like the No Kingsford Stadium group: they have voiced their concerns about the increased traffic in the Westhill area of the city where the stadium would be built, and are likely to seek a judicial review of January’s decision.

Aberdeen have been talking about moving from their current home, Pittodrie, for over a decade, but fans remain split; moving from an old and historic stadium always comes with emotional difficulties. Pittodrie has been their home since the founding of the club all the way back in 1903 but, unsurprisingly given its age, further developments on the ground aren’t possible. The new site at Kingsford is 8 miles west of the city centre, far from the Pittodrie ground where fans have called home for over a century, and for some, this is a sad distance.

What it does offer is space to build top-class facilities and provide a better match day experience for fans, for Pittodrie was located in a dense area, surrounded by land restrictions which stopped the club from growing in the space. It will be much easier-located for visiting fans, it being on the periphery of Aberdeen, but moves outside of inner cities often aren’t popular. It seems like madness now but during their early 1990’s troubles, there were plans to move Celtic from their spiritual East End home in Glasgow to Cambuslang, a town on the outskirts of the city. Instead, they redeveloped the old Celtic Park on the same site and the club now has one of the most admired stadiums in Europe.

What this new stadium for Celtic also did was usher in a new era for the club, as things improved both on and off the pitch; the same could, and should, be possible with Aberdeen now. Chairman Stewart Milne has spoken of his excitement at what new first-class facilities could do for the potential of the club. Aberdeen, under Derek McInnes, has emerged as a top Scottish Premiership side in the last few years, the second best in the country, but a large part of taking the next step is the Kingsford project.

Footballers are always attracted by excellent training grounds, by modern stadiums to play in, and for too long Pittodrie was a creaking ground, sorely lacking in atmosphere. The Dons have stated that the new 20,000-seater stadium and training ground complex could even be completed in time for the 2020/2021 season and could mark the culmination of an exciting period in the clubs history. Much will need to be done and said to placate local residents and the surrounding community, certainly, but if the move is handled with care, there’s every reason that it could take Aberdeen’s vision and ambition as a club to a different level.

Freelance writer currently based in New Zealand.