Date: 23rd June 2014 at 8:56pm
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A threadbare squad has returned to Hibs training centre at East Mains to begin preparations for the season ahead although with many clubs already having started to sign players for the new campaign, the Easter Road outfit are yet to confirm their manager (granted this will likely happen tomorrow) so will the Hibees promotion prospects be hampered by the delay in sacking Terry Butcher and the subsequent wait to appoint, presumably, Alan Stubbs?

Hibs face two main challengers in the race for promotion, Rangers and Hearts, with both having made at least one potentially match winning signing.

Meantime in Leith, one of Butcher’s final decisions as boss, and arguably his best, was to release 11 of the playing squad which failed both him and the supporters last season.

Factor in the sale of James Collins to Shrewsbury then it’s not difficult to imagine the benefits an early appointee could have had when it boiled down to the playing staff.

Of course, there are reasons for the current situation with new CEO Leeann Dempster correctly wishing to evaluate the club prior to making any decisions after her arrival at the beginning of the month.

So far she’s made a perfectly good call on Butcher’s fate, made promising noises regarding the full re-structuring of the footballing side of operations and looks happy to enter into dialogue with the fans on an on-going basis.

However this doesn’t detract from what many fans believe is a foolhardy position for Hibs to be found in.

Ahead of a season when the Scottish second tier will be stronger than at any point in it’s history, Hibernian are currently in a position where they have no recognised goalkeeper or genuine right back on the books whilst other positions are covered by more of last season’s failed squad.

There was a hope, once the majority of the team which capitulated into relegation fodder during the second half of the 2013/14 had been released, new additions would be made quickly and the players would be primed from the very beginning of pre season training and raring to go when the big kick off got underway.

Clearly things haven’t panned out as most supporters would have liked although the retention of another of Butcher’s backroom staff, Steve Marsella, who has apparently been allowed to continue in his role of Chief Scout, could prove to be a master stroke.

He was famed for bringing many low profile names to Inverness during his time there (with Billy McKay the biggest steal of all) where they were transformed into genuine top flight quality players, and Marsella’s services will surely be utilised by the new manager upon arrival.

Hibs have had some lavish failures over the past few years under a succession of managers so in order to pull some of the fans back onside need to show their true ambition when they state they want to head back to the Premiership at the first time of action.

Should they spend big in relative Championship terms with a marquee signing or two (James McFadden anyone?), season tickets will soon rise to comparable levels from previous years and the more bums on seats the more money is generated for the transfer budget.

This pre season is the biggest the Hibees have faced in years, it’s about time the new man was confirmed and set about business without interference or penny pinching from above.

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7 Replies to “Have Hibs Fallen Behind Already?”

  • Sorry to be so pessimistic but I am dreading the start of the new season. We have almost the entire team that started against Hamilton still in the squad and were putting our faith in a man whos only experience of management is with youth players, admittedly Premiership players but youth players nonetheless. Imagine the first mistake someone like Ryan McGivern makes! The fans will come down on him hard then that same fear of playing at home will flow through the team. Not “again” as that fear has been in the team for about four years now. Its all looking painfully familiar and unless the club have found a pot of gold somwhere I just can’t see us getting out of this mess anytime soon. Just going onto the Hibs site and looking at our “squad” today, well you will all know what I mean when you take a look yourselves!

  • John I’m another who is fearful for the season ahead. The players left at the club are the ones guilty of causing relegation and you can feel the witch hunt boiling beneath the surface in regards to certain players such as Nelson, McGivern and Craig. This news article makes a fine point regarding our ultimate goal for next season. If Ms Dempster believes we can go up at the first time of asking she has to back her man and ‘marquee’ signings could win over her Petrie’s stooge doubters. 2 quality signings in the spine of the team are required.

  • The pessimism surrounding the club since the end of the club has remained with no end in sight. Hibs currently have no manager, no sponsor, no home strip on sale, very few players and season ticket sales are dreadful. Any commercial director would be distraught at the delays over all the point made but we just keep meandering on and on. The darkness needs to be lifted so it’s about time things were sorted out. Get the announcement made today or if there’s a problem let us know. And let his know why there’s a problem.

  • Not sure how old you are Cramond but I witnessed the two previous relegations. Despite a hiccup against Stranraer at our first home game the last time we went down, we sailed through the league. Big travelling supports during both visits to the lower league pushed us onwards and upwards.
    This time will be completely different. I still think we’ll have a large travelling support but the Hibs board need to research Dunfermline. Leishmans eighties team had a massive travelling support. One of the largest in Scottish football. A charismatic manager and truly loyal fans. Now look at them. If our board and a large section of our support think for one minute we cant end up like them???

    So if any of the board are reading this you better get a grip and buy some decent players. Thats players with bottle, craft and guile. Not free transfers from Accrington or Matlock by the way!!! Cmon you Hibees!!!

  • Sorry, one final point: Yes Inverness did find a few gems in the lower English leagues. However their squad has players in it that didnt quite make it. Like our gamble with our manager the players that Marsella will bring in will be gambles too. Why are we gambling with our clubs future?

  • Some excellent points in there John. I’m guessing by your comments you’re 40+ like myself as I remember being exceptionally impressed when Dunfermline travelled to Easter Road in the 80’s and filled what was then the Dunbar End. I was only small at the time but it was the largest away support I’d ever seen! Your comparison actually made me shudder at the thought of Hibs ending up like the Pars and while I hope it’s not going to happen, as an example it proves it isn’t impossible. I agree on the recruitment drive – journeymen signings should be a thing of the past and we all want to see an appetite in the players which has been lacking in recent seasons but I fear budget constraints and the time taken to appoint a new boss will hinder us in that regard. Most decent players will already have entered into preliminary discussions at least with clubs if they’re free agents which, let’s face it, is our signing market at this time. Stubbs has to be backed by the board and the parachute payment should help matters but unless we show some ambition the stay away fans will be exactly that. Every signing represents a gamble but if they’re at least hungry for success then that should be the very minimum attribute of potential additions to the squad.

  • Sorry guys but we will never allow ourselves to become another Dunfermline. If we don’t get promoted this year then I’d expect both the Huns and the yams to go up and then I’d expect a big investment next summer to bring in sufficient players of quality to have a promotion charge McLeish style. We’ll be 2 years max in the championship.

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