Stewart Milne, the chairman of Aberdeen, last night side-stepped questions over the future of Craig Brown, saying discussions over a new contract for the manager would take place early in the new year.

The property multi-millionaire, re-elected chairman at the club's agm, stuck to the party line but hinted that much will depend on the progress the team makes in the immediate future.

"We will be talking to Craig in the new year to hear what he has to say," said Milne, who also confirmed the club have withdrawn the offer of a new deal to winger Ryan Fraser. "But we will also be putting forward our views. He needs to understand our thoughts and once we establish those we will move forward.

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"Everyone knows football is about results but you have to make progress towards delivering consistent results and I think we have made progress in the season so far. But we all know how quickly things can turn and nobody is more aware of that than Craig. There is no more to say."

Milne agreed that the club's debt of almost £11m was higher than hoped, although the club are well down the line to putting banking facilities in place for the next three years. The aim during that period is to substantially reduce the size of that debt.

Milne also addressed the issue of whether he felt his time as chairman was coming to an end and admitted that George Yule, brought into the club as executive vice-chairman in the summer, was to lighten the load and help deliver the proposed new £38m stadium, a project which has stuttered.

Yule has bought 780,316 shares costing him a six-figure sum. Those shares were surrendered by Aberdeen Asset Management, who have reduced their investment in the club. Yule is now the second-largest shareholder behind Milne, whose shares number 1,613,749.

"I know how much time I've had to commit to the club in the last few years, which is way beyond what I want," said Milne. "The property sector and football have a lot of similarities. It is a challenging environment and I want to dedicate as much time as I can to the Stewart Milne Group.

"I have no intention of standing down any time soon. I am not denying the job of chairman is a burden but I wouldn't do it if it did not bring me fulfilment."