Atlanta United President Darren Eales is interviewed before the start of an Atlanta United uniform unveiling ceremony at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Friday, February 15, 2019. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Photo: Alyssa Pointer
Photo: Alyssa Pointer

Aberdeen, Atlanta United excited about partnership

Incoming Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack said on Monday that he hopes the partnership with Atlanta United is part of efforts to improve the club and put smiles on the faces of the people in the Scottish city.

Atlanta United’s parent company, AMBSE, on Sunday announced it has purchased a stake of less than 10% (£2 million pounds) in Aberdeen. A press conference was held Monday in Aberdeen featuring Cormack, outgoing chairman Stewart Milne, and Atlanta United President Darren Eales.

That purchase is part of bigger initiative at Aberdeen that includes other investors and a new chairman, Cormack, an Atlanta resident. In total, the club received more than £16 million pounds of new money, some of which is earmarked for day-to-day operations and annual maintenance costs of its new training ground, which is named after Cormack. The club is debt free, according to Cormack. The club also is constructing a new stadium, scheduled to open in 2023.

The goal of the partnership between Aberdeen and Atlanta United is a sharing of best practices in fan engagement, stadium construction, scouting, player analytics and development that will help Atlanta United continually challenge for trophies in North America, and for Aberdeen to try to level the playing field against Scottish powers Celtic and Rangers.

Aberdeen wants to continually finish in UEFA’s top 100 club rankings, in which it is 112 this season. Rankings help determine seeding in UEFA touraments. Aberdeen has qualified for the Europa League in each of the past six seasons. It is a two-time winner of UEFA tournaments. The club is in third in the Premiership and on pace to again qualify for the Europa League qualifiers. Cormack said the goal is to advance through the tournament qualifiers and  into the group stages, which will improve the club’s ranking.

Executives and others who work at Atlanta United and Aberdeen are going to spend the next 90 days sharing information on the football and business sides. Atlanta United vice president Carlos Bocanegra and others were in Aberdeen last week talking about the team’s academy.

Rather than just a partnership in name, Eales said team owner Arthur Blank wanted to invest money because including a financial stake tends to result in consistent focus. Though Eales will have a seat on Aberdeen’s board, Atlanta United will not share in any of the day-to-day running of the club because Eales said his focus will remain on the MLS club.

“We are really excited and can’t wait to get started on the partnership,” Eales said. “Excited about what the future brings.”

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