So the dust is beginning to settle on Hibs relegation from the Premiership with the release of the majority of the playing squad yet the biggest culprits still loom large over the club.
Chairman Rod Petrie remains and is defiant in the face of criticism and the management ‘dream team’ of Terry Butcher, Maurice Malpas and Steve Marsella have also somehow escaped the chop.
Much of the malaise at Easter Road can be blamed at the door of Petrie. He’s picked a succession of poor quality managers throughout his tenure, with Butcher apparently the latest in a long line.
Spending money on the club’s infrastructure rather than investing on the playing field has led to Hibs having a lovely UEFA compliant stadium and a fine training centre yet the team have continually struggled where it counts.
When you look at the facilities it’s clear the club should be attempting to lure good quality players from the English lower leagues and attracting the best of the rest from the Premiership yet every manager appears to prefer the signing of journeymen and other miscreants.
A lot of this is down to Petrie who, although he backs his gaffers to a certain degree isn’t willing to push the boat out and sign their top targets during the transfer windows which leaves Hibs scrambling about getting other sides cast off’s and ill judged loan deals.
Leeann Dempster has been appointed as CEO but Petrie remains in the shadows as non executive Chairman. Will Leeann be given a free hand to make decisions? Will she be able to spend money without interference from above? The support has it’s doubts.
After the debacle which was the Scottish Cup final of 2012 we were promised real change at the club. It didn’t happen. In fact if it weren’t for Leigh Griffiths Hibs may have found themselves in the Championship 12 months earlier – a fact masked by a poor side reaching a second successive cup final.
Despite offering concerns over the playing style of Pat Fenlon, the Irishman was allowed to continue into this season despite an excruciating performance against Malmo in the Europa League.
Fenlon’s squad was lop sided. Full of central midfielders and little in the way of defensive or attacking cover. There was never any pace – Hibs were simply a side easy to play against – and beat.
At least Fenlon knew how to get results. It wasn’t pretty but by the time he left last November, the side were sitting in the top half of the division and were at least showing some character.
When Terry Butcher was appointed the majority of the support was pleased. He’d taken an Inverness side to second in the league, punching way above their weight and scout Marsella had uncovered some gems from the English leagues.
The Butcher era started with some promise. Victories away to Ross County in the cup, a demolition of Kilmarnock at Easter Road then an Edinburgh Derby victory at New Year.
Since then it’s been woeful. Stories of unhappy players, a fall out between Butcher’s assistant Maurice Malpas and the best player at the club, Kevin Thomson, a run of form which would see any other manager sacked culminating in relegation from the Premiership.
Butcher’s overall record at Easter Road is cringeworthy. Six wins from 29 games with 15 losses. The last 21 have seen Hibs win twice and one of them was against Hamilton.
It’s been clear for months the players weren’t buying into his ideas. The fans certainly aren’t. They’re sick of watching an assault on the football each week as the ball is hoofed aimlessly up the park, sometimes to be chased by a man in green – other times to be caught by someone in the stand.
The whole philosophy at Easter Road needs to be changed. There was a start yesterday when the players, who have to shoulder the blame equally were emptied but the changes need to go deeper.
Petrie needs to leave and give Dempster free reign. Butcher, Malpas and Marsella need to leave as they’ll never gain the supporters trust again following relegation.
Neither the Chairman or management team have shown they have what it takes to turn the club around and restore it’s Premiership ambitions.
There’s a chance to start afresh with a blank canvass – it must be taken or rewarding mediocrity and failure has won.
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