Worried Dave Cormack has warned that Scottish football is about to be hit by a tsunami that could leave Scottish football in an even more perilous position than when it was first floored by Covid-19.
The Aberdeen chairman knows most clubs are struggling financially but fears the situation could get even worse because season ticket revenues are likely to fall through the floor for next season – with no plans in sight to allow supporters back into grounds.
The Dons announced their alarming annual figures today that showed an operating loss of nearly £3million with turnover down for £1.59million and that covers only the first three months of the coronavirus.
The Pittodrie outfit predict another £4m could be wiped out in turnover and the losses could rise to £5m if things continue without fans next year.
Cormack, who has pleaded for at least an update from the Scottish Government, said: “This is real for Scottish football and our societies. This is so important right now that this tsunami for Scottish football could really result in the mass reconstruction of clubs.
“If we have no plans for fans to be back, then absolutely. It’s night and day.
“I certainly wouldn’t be budgeting for 8,000 Aberdeen fans to buy a season ticket again if there is no plan.
“How many fans will buy season tickets in Scotland across the board? Who knows? How can you budget for 2,000, 3,000, 4,000?
“The other thing is that our normal turnover is about £16million and about £2.2m of that are season ticket holders.
“It’s also all the other revenue streams that come into play. We’re in a fortunate position where commercially we do really, really well as a club.
“But that also now is hammering us because of the lack of hospitality and commercial income.
“The message is this: with no plan there will be significant, significant cuts in Scottish clubs starting at the end of the first quarter of 2021.”
Cormack recently called for a meeting with the Scottish Government to discuss supporter returns but that has fallen on deaf ears because Aberdeen city is in Tier 2 in the lockdown standing.
He confirmed: “No, it’s disappointing.
“When you try to put your case and it’s someone three or four levels removed from the First Minister, who knows where that goes? I don’t know.”
Cormack believes Aberdeen are in a more fortunate position than other Scottish clubs, as he has been able to bring in outside investment and sold Scott McKenna to Nottingham Forest for a club record £3m to fill a massive black hole. The players and staff have also taken cuts and deferrals to save jobs.
He added: “I can only talk for Aberdeen and how we run our club, we are not a club that takes undue risk on anything that we do. We’re very fortunate to be in the position that we’re in as a club, with our staff, with our fans, investors, friends of mine.
“We’ve got significant income for Scottish football and this may be where Boris Johnson has a blind spot thinking that we have tv money up here just like they do in the Premier League. That’s absolutely not the case.
“For some clubs in Scotland, they struggle to meet the wages of National League players in England. We’re in a different ball game as far as that’s concerned.
“In the last couple of weeks, we got the bulk of the Scott McKenna money. Nobody gives you all the money up front and that’s the same with us when we buy players.
“We’re in a decent place, the biggest concern is that with no plan, who’s going to buy season tickets in Scotland?”
Aberdeen have already held a successful fan trial of 300 fans against Kilmarnock a couple of months ago but the Covid lockdown tiers mean they have been unable to build on that. Ross County because they are in Tier 1 and have been able to welcome a small number of fans in but Cormack wants his club to start gradually building the levels of fans back up.