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Sunday 23rd June 2024

Euro 2024 -  🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scotland v 🇭🇺 Hungary

kick-off 8pm

Rugger At Todders?


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Aberdeen Football Club is preparing to open talks about plans to create the city's first professional rugby club.


A consortium of north-east businessmen is willing to provide a multimillion-pound funding package to turn the dream into reality in time for the 2009/10 season.




Representatives of the group will meet Dons directors on December 7 to discuss a proposal to base the new Aberdeen Highlanders team at Pittodrie.


Securing a tenancy at the 22,500 capacity stadium is the key to success for the rugby plans.


If Aberdeen FC rejects the approach, the bid to bring professional rugby to the city will stall.


A positive response from the Premier League side would allow the men behind the scheme to move forward with their ambitious scheme.


The Press and Journal understands sharing at Pittodrie is unlikely to be sanctioned by the Dons board due to the limitations of the ageing ground and its pitch.


The club plays its reserve games at Brechin to protect its home surface and the prospect of hosting a full programme of rugby fixtures is a concern. The long-term solution rests with the hopes for a new community stadium to serve Aberdeen.


While the football team would be the main user, a purpose-built arena would lend itself to also housing a top-level rugby team and multi-sport use would help attract funding from the Scottish Government and other sources.


Scottish Rugby, the governing body, last night confirmed it had given a cautious welcome to the Aberdeen group's blueprint to create the country's third pro side.


Chief executive Gordon McKie said: "Scottish Rugby's door is always open for discussions with any potential investors.


"Approaches are made throughout the year from those who may have business propositions across a rangeof subjects which Scottish Rugby is duty bound and willing to consider.


"Scottish Rugby can confirm tentative, exploratory discussions were held with a group of businessmen about their proposal to establish a professional rugby team in Aberdeen.


"These discussions did not progress at the time as it quickly became clear a suitable playing venue would be difficult to achieve which would meet the needs of professional rugby.


"Should circumstances change, Scottish Rugby would be pleased to engage in further discussions and assess any relevant funding proposal on its own merits."


Aberdeen FC's willingness to enter into talks next month is the change in circumstance which has given the consortium fresh hope.


The football club, which posted an annual loss of £537,000 for the year up to June 2007, could earn significant revenue from a sharing agreement. Directors are keen to explore every avenue for increasing income and have opened the door for talks with the rugby group.


Even if a sharing arrangement is not struck, additional support for the rugby consortium could be offered by its football counterparts with potential for joint ventures in areas such as ticket sales and sponsorship.


The potential incentives for the Dons will have to be balanced against the practical implications of sharing, particularly wear and tear on the pitch which could lead to the postponement of lucrative SPL fixtures, and that is likely to be the stumbling block.


Partick Thistle are currently reaping the financial rewards of their groundshare agreement with Glasgow Warriors.


The Warriors and Magners League rivals Edinburgh Rugby are Scotland's only professional sides following the demise of the Border Reivers this year.


A third pro franchise appeals to Scottish Rugby and Aberdeen is viewed as a potential location. Pittodrie was sold out when the national rugby team played the Barbarians in 2005 and that has convinced the game's governors the city has potential as a venue for top-class action.


The identities of the individuals involved in the consortium behind the Aberdeen rugby plans are being closely guarded until the plans progress, but significant levels of funding have been pledged.


It would cost a minimum of £3million per year to sustain the new team, but the business plan aims to cover the outlay by targeting the corporate market.

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The pitch would never survive. It barely (see what I did?) copes with football. I doubt whether 243 rubgay fans in Pittodrie would be anything to get excited about.


Anyway, does Richie Byrne not already play a game closely associated with Rubgay at Pittodrie ?

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I think the two can co-exist with each other, as much as I hate rugby and most people associated with it. I would have thought it might give the council some more impetus to actually go ahead with the scheme. Long term wise, I don't see how rugby can exist in the NE, but if it gets us our stadium, i'll be happy. It clearly can be done, Wigan, Man utd, Murrayfield  :thumbsup: all do it!

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I believe that there is issues with the quality of the playing surface, rugby plays on longer grass for one example whilst the increase in general use of the pitch will rip the arse out of it, and I reckon AFC will probably find that any revenue gained will be used in replacing the turf twice a year. Part of me says BLOODY HELL NO BLOODY WAY IS THE HALLOWED TURF OF PITTODRIE BEING DESECRATED WITH EGG CHASING, while the other part of me says, aye screw em fur every penny!!!!

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