Aberdeen Football Club is on the brink of a historic move from its Pittodrie home to a new £40million stadium west of the city.
The Press and Journal can today reveal details of the Dons’ plans to flit eight miles to a greenfield site at Kingsford.
The new ground – complete with a purpose-built training complex – would be right beside the A944 Aberdeen-Westhill road and the city’s under-construction bypass.
And the Reds could be playing there within three years in front of crowds of up to 19,000 – and boosting the local economy to the tune of £20million.
It is understood the new all-covered. all-seated arena – which would become Scotland’s most modern football stadium – would have a capacity similar to that of Pittodrie.
Last night, the proposal was hailed as a massive boost to the city and wider north-east as Aberdeen FC chairman Stewart Milne said the new site would be “ideal” for supporters.
Dons chiefs had been in talks with the city council about a site at Loirston to the south of the city.
But the new scheme would make the replacement for Pittodrie more accessible to the club’s huge fanbase to the north and west of Aberdeen.
The project would be part-funded by the sale of Pittodrie, near the city’s seafront, which was originally built in 1899.
Housebuilder Mr Milne said: “Kingsford offers an opportunity to locate both the stadium and the training facilities within a single site, as was the original plan for Loirston, and it is in an ideal location for supporters travelling from all areas in and around Aberdeen.
“Crucially, we have full control of the site via a concluded missive with the landowner.
“Extensive site diligence has already been carried out at Kingsford to establish the feasibility of the land area and also the requirements for the planning process.”
The Aberdeen FC chairman also explained why Loirston had been replaced as the preferred site.
He said: “Since Loirston was previously identified for the new stadium, there have been various changes in circumstances and, furthermore, the development of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route will now provide easy access to the new site at Kingsford.
“AFC and Aberdeen City Council see a new stadium and training facilities as a vital part of the region’s infrastructure, and there is a strong desire by the club to deliver these new facilities as soon as possible.
“In terms of the timescale of the proposed new facilities, which are absolutely essential to the future success of Aberdeen Football Club, we plan to have the training facilities operational by 2018, with the new stadium following in season 2019-20.
“We will also benefit from the Loirston stadium pre-development undertaken to date as a significant amount of this work can and will be utilised at Kingsford.”
Aberdeen City Council leader Jenny Laing said building the new facilities would be a “wonderful” development for fans and the local economy alike.
She said: “We recognise the value of a vibrant and successful football club in the community.
“It is good for the profile of the city and when the team is doing well, a tremendous feelgood factor ripples through our citizens.
“We are currently rolling-out the biggest regeneration programme in the city’s history and, as this progresses, it would be wonderful to see the creation of a new stadium and training facilities which match the passion and ambition of this great football club and its fans.”
And Dons manager Derek McInnes said he was confident the new facilities would take the Club to a “hitherto unprecedented level”.
He said: “This is fantastic news for everyone connected to Aberdeen Football Club.
“I’ve said from the day I arrived here that the one most important aspect where the club needs to drive forward is in terms of its training facilities, so the fact the new stadium is potentially going to be at the same location as these is an added bonus.
“When completed, this will have a huge impact in terms of AFC’s ability to attract and then improve players, both in terms of youngsters for our youth academy and also established first team players.”
Mr Milne said the next step would be to give the fans and the wider public the chance to have their say on the scheme.
He said: “There will be a 12-week period of public consultation, after which initial planning for the training facilities will be applied for, with the outcome expected later this year.”