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hall of fame Dick Donald
Dick Donald Full name: Richard McNaughton Donald. Anyone who spends most of their adult life attached to one club would never have their commitment to the cause doubted and when the historians get round to documenting the club history then one name will be synonymous with Aberdeen Football Club and that is Dick Donald. Dick served the club he loved as a player, director and chairman with a pride and distinction that few could imagine. While Dick would find it difficult to be remembered as a player of great ability his work behind the scenes ensured that Aberdeen as a club fulfilled ambitions beyond all expectations which culminated in 1983 when Aberdeen conquered Europe. Along with Chris Anderson and Charles Forbes, Dick Donald steered Aberdeen to the top at both home and abroad.

Dick enjoyed five seasons at Pittodrie as a player before joining Dunfermline for a short spell. A year later he was to return for five more years with Aberdeen. His first spell of senior team football came in 1931 when the great Pittodrie scandal of that year broke. Several first team players were never to play for the club again and Dick got his chance. Off the field he was building his own empire, the family partnership of father and sons Herbert, James, Peter and Richard were adding more cinemas like The Globe, The King's and the Astoria. Donald returned to Pittodrie in 1946 and in August 1949 he was voted on to the board as a director after finishing a moderate playing career and it was from his position in the Pittodrie boardroom that he set about shaping the future of Aberdeen Football Club.

It was his business acumen, which was put to good use at Pittodrie. Dick had amassed a chain of cinemas in the city and he spent his time balancing his business commitments with ensuring that Aberdeen as a club rarely lived beyond their means. Dick was never one for being lavish while dealing with the club finances and on one occasion in 1955 when faced with a demand from the players for more bonus money he replied, "You lot are the best paid players in the country with a high basic wage and a loyalty payment which not every club provides, you are well looked after." That response may not have been what the rebels wanted but it was typical of how Dick and the Aberdeen board operated. They went that extra yard to look after the players who he looked upon as part of one big family. That prudent approach did not hinder progress both on and off the field at Pittodrie. The stadium itself was developed to become the first all-seated, all covered stadium in Britain and Dick Donald was behind those developments, which took Aberdeen to the forefront of the game in Britain.

Donald was appointed chairman in 1970 and although Aberdeen were criticised in the 70's for selling some of their prized assets including the likes of Martin Buchan and Joe Harper, Dick insisted that Aberdeen would be run with a prudence that clubs these days can only dream about. It was Dick Donald who after losing manager Billy McNeill to Celtic in 1978, turned to sacked St Mirren boss Alex Ferguson to take over as Aberdeen manager. Donald identified the qualities required and the rest as they say is history. Had it not been for Dick's astute awareness all those years ago Aberdeen may not have gone on to achieve what they did. Alex Ferguson had always looked upon Dick Donald as a father figure during his glorious spell with the Dons and in the modern game you don't get a much higher accolade than that.

Dick Remained Chairman until his death at the end of 1993, and was succeeded by his son Ian.

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