STEWART MILNE, a quarter of a century on the board of Aberdeen and ready to step down after twenty-one years as club chairman, has called for one organisation to be established to oversee Scottish football with “the right people” at the helm.

The multi-millionaire house-building tycoon, who has been succeeded in the Pittodrie hot-seat by major investor Dave Cormack, insisted Scottish football was facing its most testing time and that the current structure of having two bodies – the SFA and the SFPL – running the show, did not work.

He was adamant, however, that one pleasing aspect of the financial travails of Scottish clubs was that they were being forced more seriously to develop home-grown talent.


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Milne, who brought Derek McInnes to Aberdeen following a series of failed managerial appointments, highlighted the strides made by Major League Soccer clubs in the US – the Dons have recently had a £2m cash injection from Georgia outfit, Atlanta United – as a lead to follow.

Thanks to Atlanta-based Cormack, who has injected £9.2m into the Dons for the newly-opened training complex to the west of Aberdeen, there is now a tie-up between the clubs.

Milne said: "I've said for a long time that if we had one consolidated body run by the right people we might start to see he game moving forward with a common agenda.

"In many ways Scottish football has come through its most challenging period in the last 20 years.  There have been some good things done but I think there were some real opportunities there that we missed.

"One of the good things in America is that they've got a much stronger central control of the game.

"It's clear that the environment of the clubs operating there are expected to deliver.

"But the good thing is we have been forced back to doing more on youth development going forward and we have started to see some of the benefits coming through at clubs.

"That's the only way we can get back competing in Europe again as we are never going to buy ourselves into a position of so many other clubs.”

Milne, who officially leaves the role of chairman at Aberdeen’s AGM tonight,  insists clubs need to collaborate more in order to effect the changes required in the administration of the game in Scotland.

He also underlined the need for a strong, able person to take charge of any new body.


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"It would need some of the bulk of the top clubs to get their heads together,” he added, “but it's been tried and failed.

“I think if we had the courage to bring somebody independent in to come up with a plan and a structure for going forward, eventually a lot of benefits would come through at national and at club level.

"But it is difficult to see ourselves getting into that position.

"We have a particularly difficult situation in Scotland that we have two clubs [Celtic and Rangers] that are so much out of line with the rest of the game in terms of their scale.

"Their needs and aspirations are different from the majority of other clubs, but I do believe there is a lot more common ground that could be seized upon that wouldn't be detrimental to them either.

"But I'm not sure it will ever happen."