Sir Alex Ferguson told Aberdeen they had the platform to be successful again after opening the club’s new training facilities.
The former Aberdeen manager cut the ribbon at the £12million Cormack Park, part of wider plans for a new stadium.
The development gives the club their first training facilities of their own, with Ferguson and his fellow former Dons bosses having to train their team on public parks, university grounds and even the beach.
Ferguson, who led Aberdeen to the European Cup Winners’ Cup and European Super Cup in 1983, told a ceremony: “I’m delighted to see the progress at the club.
“Don’t forget, in ’78 we were the first club to have an all-seated stadium. That was a time I always remember (chairman) Dick Donald and (vice-chairman) Chris Anderson had this debate about where we should go. Chris had a vision and Dick of course kept everything simple and we did it, and it was followed by Coventry City.
“So it’s not beyond Aberdeen to show the way ahead. And they are doing it again, particularly so for the coach. This is for the coach, to set out the proper progress for young people to train properly. That’s an indication about the progress of the club now.
“It’s absolutely imperative to have a training ground in the modern day with the athletes you are producing and the competitions you are in today, it’s different from my time.
“The kind of players we had in my time were special, it’s hard to find these diamonds. We had stalwarts like Bobby (Clark) and Willie Miller, these were legends in the club. We could have trained on the beach every day and still won the league.
“It was an amazing group of players to be involved with. Some people have something inside them. Some players are very talented and natural athletes, natural footballers, but some players have something inside them that makes them special, and we had quite a few players like that. It was a pleasure to be here at that time.
“But today is a different day and you have a great platform now to move on and be successful again, and I’m really delighted for that.”
Turning to chairman Stewart Milne, he added: “So, Stewart you will need to get money out. You can’t go down the grave with pockets full of money. I wish you good luck, keep doing the lottery.
“It’s an honour to be here opening the new training ground.”
Current Dons boss Derek McInnes welcomed the opening of the facilities, which are named after vice-chairman Dave Cormack.
“Not only will these fantastic new facilities assist us in attracting the best talent to the club, it will enable us to intensify our coaching hours and increase on-pitch time, which is crucial in the development of our players,” he said.
“They will now enjoy a professional training base, offering them the opportunity to train in a high-performance environment with best-in-class football medicine, sports science and performance analysis directly on hand.
“Cormack Park will allow AFC to become a beacon for footballing excellence in the North of Scotland and hopefully inspire future generations of Dons players and fans.”