Derek McInnes says he knew from the minute he met Dave Cormack that the incoming Aberdeen chairman was determined to take the Dons to a new level.
The millionaire businessman will take over at Pittodrie from Stewart Milne next month and has already declared his ambition to close the gap with the Old Firm.
Cormack joined the Reds’ board in the summer of 2017 and since then has played a pivotal role in delivering the club’s new training base.
His takeover, meanwhile, is now set to deliver a new tie-up with MLS outfit Atlanta United as well well as providing £5million in fresh investment.
But that is no surprise to McInnes.
He said: “I remember the first time I spoke with Dave, we had just lost the Scottish Cup final in 2017. Stewart had asked me to have a chat with him. Dave was looking to come on board.
“There was a bit of interest from Sunderland and the chairman wanted me to speak to Dave.
“From minute one of that conversation Dave has only shown the ambition and desire to make Aberdeen bigger and better.
“I’ve worked closely with him for the last two and half years. He’s part of the board that discusses transfers and recruitment. He’s allowed and helped me to bring in players.
“Hopefully we’ll have an even closer relationship now he’s becoming chairman.
“He’s brought much needed energy to the board, expertise, ideas, finance and his ambitions are clear. He wants to this club to be the biggest club it can be.”
It was Milne who targeted McInnes to be the man to turn around the Dons’ fortunes after a decade of decline in the north east.
His sole League Cup win in 2014 will not have satisfied either but McInnes insists the club is in a much better state today for the outgoing Pittodrie chief’s involvement.
He said: “Stewart has been very supportive. Sometimes you work for a club but you also work for people within the club and when I came here I quickly realised I was going to have a good relationship with Stewart.
“It was very important that I had that with Geoff Brown when I was at St Johnstone. I didn’t quite have that with the owner at Bristol City, who lived abroad but was still a brilliant owner.
“That chairman-manager relationship is key. It’s the most important at any club.
“You need to have similar ambitions and belief and thankfully I have had that with Stewart.
“He deserves the opportunity to step down. He’s done brilliant work for the club. He’s navigated the club through different difficulties and challenges.
“He deserves immense credit for the fact we’re sitting here in a brilliant training ground, which he did so much to drive forward.
“He’s handing the club over in a good state. He’s still going to be involved which is great for the club having that experience and influence on the board.”
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