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Aberdeen plan share issue to capitalise on feelgood factor

Aberdeen supporters may be asked to participate in a third share issue to ease the pressure on Stewart Milne, their multi-millionaire chairman.

George Yule, the vice-chairman, yesterday hinted at the move which comes in the wake of the debt-ridden club's League Cup victory with a probable place in next year's Europa League on the horizon.

Speaking at the launch of the ­Aberdeen FC Community Trust, a club-backed charity, Yule called on UEFA, European football's governing body, to help clubs who are hampered financially by competing in the qualifying stages of the competition.

Aberdeen have a debt of around £15m and annual losses in excess of £1.4m which Yule insisted would be ­tackled soon.

"We are looking to take the onus away from one of two individuals and spread it around," he said. "If you have got a successful team it's much easier to go out and encourage funding. When you are languishing at the bottom it can seem like you are firing money down a black hole. No business can afford to lose money year on year and it would be naive to think the board is sitting back watching that annual loss. There will be definite moves made this year. Down the line a share issue is one of the options available to us, but there's a lot of work to be done before that.

"If we have a good product and are providing a good service, a good news story, then you have that opportunity to capitalise on that by having some sort of shares or rights issue. That's not to say it's definitely going to happen, but it would be madness to think that if things are going well for you, why you wouldn't want to do that to get more cash in."

Yule argued that Aberdeen had been too reliant on the club chairman for finance and that change on that score was required.

"I know how much passion Stewart has for the club and how much he has done for Aberdeen with little recognition. He is a grounded and very successful guy. He has put in a lot of money and people would want him to put in more [but] I don't think it's particularly healthy for any club to be overly reliant on one benefactor.

"Every business should pay its own way, but to do that you need to have a product for customers to buy into. It's the same with football clubs, but our customers are the fans."

Yule also outlined the financial difficulties of involvement in the early phases of European competition. Aberdeen lost money when they were eliminated from the Europa League in the qualifying stage against Sigma Olomouc, of the Czech Republic, five years ago while Motherwell and St Johnstone suffered financial losses as a consequence of recent participation. It is time, Yule said, for UEFA to help.

"You shouldn't be punished financially for playing in European competition. There is enough money in UEFA to be distributed a bit more proportionally. In any league, you need the lesser teams as well as your bigger teams to make up the competition. It's the same in cups: you need the so-called minnows for the competition to happen. No club should be losing money competing in Europe if they've grafted a whole season to get there."

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