Derek McInnes: Aberdeen chairman would deny Rangers permission to talk to boss

By Kheredine IdessaneBBC Scotland
Stewart Milne and Derek McInnes
Stewart Milne, left, will not grant Rangers permission to speak to Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes

Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne says he will refuse any approach from Rangers for permission to speak to Pittodrie manager Derek McInnes.

The Dons boss is among the bookies' favourites to succeed Mark Warburton, but Milne told BBC Scotland the Ibrox club have not asked to speak to him.

And the chairman insists any approach from the Gers would be rejected.

Asked if he would let Rangers talk to McInnes, Milne replied: "No. We want to retain Derek at Aberdeen."

McInnes has been in charge at Pittodrie for nearly four years, and has guided the Dons to their first trophy in almost two decades - the 2014 Scottish League Cup - while securing back-to-back second place finishes in the Scottish Premiership in 2015 and 2016.

'Rebuild reputation in Europe'

Aberdeen are in second spot in the league table, six points clear of third-placed Rangers.

Milne believes McInnes, who insists he is focused on the job in hand at the Dons, has far more to achieve - especially in Europe, where he has failed to take the club to the Europa League group stages - before seeking a fresh challenge.

"We'll work hard to make sure we can keep Derek here as long as we can," said Milne. "It wasn't just a short-term job. It was to build this club into something it's capable of being.

"They've made tremendous progress in the past four years, but Derek would openly admit that we still have a long way to go to, to make sure that we're not just a top club in Scottish football, but that we're starting to rebuild that reputation in Europe again.

"I'd like to believe that Derek started something off - he thinks he's maybe halfway through the journey, it's maybe a third. We want to see him here to finish the job that he took on."

Stadium 'will set club up for next half-century'

Meanwhile, the chairman reiterated his belief that a new 20,000-seat stadium was "vital" in ensuring not just the club's long-term future but to help prevent the city becoming "a backwater" after the recent decline in the oil industry.

Councillors will decide in the summer whether to back the club's move to Kingsford near Westhill. A public consultation closed earlier this week.

There has been local opposition to the plans, including on grounds of traffic and parking.

A plan of what Aberdeen's new stadium will look like
The new stadium is planned to be adjacent to the club's training facilities

"There's serious investment going into the centre of Aberdeen now, and we see the football stadium and the community training facilities as very much another part of that key infrastructure," Milne added.

"So if we're able to deliver that over the next three or four years, not only will we be setting Aberdeen Football Club up for hopefully the next half-century at least, but that can also have a major bearing on how Aberdeen as a city is perceived out there in the wider world - that we are a city determined to go places.

"We want to build on the reputation we've got. Not to, as North Sea oil starts to fall off, end up being a backwater. We are one of Scotland's major cities but we've a lot of work to do to make sure we stay up there."

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