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Richard MacNaughton 'Dick' Donald (20 February 1911 – 30 December 1993)[1] was a Scottish footballer, businessman and football administrator. He is best known for his time as Chairman of Aberdeen Football Club during the club's most successful period in the 1980s, but he was also an important figure in the family firm, which operated cinemas, theatres and dancehalls in Aberdeen. He was inducted into the Aberdeen FC "Hall of Fame" as one of the founding members in 2003.

Dick Donald
Personal information
Full name Richard MacNaughton Donald
Date of birth (1911-02-20)20 February 1911
Place of birth Aberdeen, Scotland
Date of death 30 December 1993(1993-12-30) (aged 82)
Place of death Aberdeen, Scotland
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1928–1933 Aberdeen 12 (2)
1933–1934 Dunfermline Athletic
1934–1939 Aberdeen 4 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only


Early lifeEdit

Donald was born in Aberdeen, the youngest of four brothers. Their father, James F Donald, ran a popular dancing academy in the city, and each of the boys was taught to dance, and to teach dancing. Donald senior expanded the family business by opening a chain of cinemas, and also owned His Majesty's Theatre and an ice rink in the city. Each of the brothers played a part in the family business, with Peter going on to become chairman of the Howard and Wyndham theatre group,[2] which ran 18 theatres across the UK.[3] During Dick Donald's playing career (see below), he was also manager of the Cinema House cinema, and was popular among his playing colleagues for the number of tickets he could provide.[4]

Playing careerEdit

Donald signed for Aberdeen as a professional in 1928, and had a playing career which consisted of two five-year spells at his hometown club, interrupted by one season at Dunfermline Athletic in 1933–34. Donald was a versatile player, who is reported to have played in every outfield position for Aberdeen.[1] He ended his playing career at the outbreak of World War II, but continued to be a successful businessman, and rejoined Aberdeen as a board member in 1949.

Football AdministratorEdit

Donald served on the board of directors of Aberdeen F.C. from 1949 until his death in 1993, becoming Vice-Chairman in 1960, and Chairman ten years later.[1] The club enjoyed unprecedented success during his chairmanship, winning each of the Scottish domestic trophies more than once, and becoming the only Scottish team to win two European trophies in 1983. Donald had a reputation for running the club frugally – his most famous manager, Sir Alex Ferguson recounts several tales of his chairman's parsimony[5] in his autobiography, but also notes that

Another of Donald's managers, Ian Porterfield, observed:

For the majority of the most successful years at Aberdeen, the board of directors consisted of Donald, his vice-chairman Chris Anderson and Donald's son Ian. Ferguson felt [5] that the arrangement, with Anderson and Donald complementing each other's strengths, was the best he had worked for.

Donald died, following a stroke and a battle with Alzheimer's disease in 1993, shortly after the dedication of the Richard Donald Stand at Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen's home ground.


  1. ^ a b c Macdonald, Alastair (8 January 1994). "Obituary: Richard M Donald (registration required)". The Independent. Archived from the original on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2008.
  2. ^ Webster, Jack (2003). The First 100 Years of The Dons: the official history of Aberdeen Football Club 1903 – 2003. Hodder and Stoughton. p. 15. ISBN 0-340-82344-5.
  3. ^ "Overview of Frederick W.P. Wyndham". The Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 13 January 2008.
  4. ^ Webster, Jack (2003). The First 100 Years of The Dons: the official history of Aberdeen Football Club 1903 – 2003. Hodder and Stoughton. p. 117. ISBN 0-340-82344-5.
  5. ^ a b c Ferguson, Alex (2000). Managing My Life. Coronet. pp. 236–237. ISBN 0-340-72856-6.
  6. ^ Fisher, Stewart (8 October 2006). "Worldly traveller's tales played out on many a field far from home". Sunday Herald. Retrieved 13 January 2008.