TERRY Butcher and Maurice Malpas will be officially presented as Hibernian’s new management team this afternoon after a six-figure compensation package was agreed between the Easter Road club and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
It emerged last night that Malpas had been offered the manager’s job by Inverness, but has opted instead to join Butcher in Edinburgh.
Personal terms had yet to be finalised last night, but Hibs were confident that negotiations would be concluded in time for the new reign to begin today.
The former England captain will be presented at Easter Road at 2pm today.
“Hibernian FC today confirmed that compensation has been agreed with Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC,” the club announced just after 5pm.
“This means manager Terry Butcher and assistant manager Maurice Malpas now have permission to speak to Hibernian FC to agree personal terms.”
Up until yesterday, negotiations had only concerned Butcher, and at the weekend Malpas hinted he might want to stay at Inverness as manager in his own right. But last night Caley Thistle admitted they had failed in a bid to keep Malpas as their new boss.
“Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC regret to announce that, despite every effort to persuade them to stay, Terry Butcher and Maurice Malpas have indicated their wish to relinquish their posts as manager and assistant manager,” a statement on the club’s website read. “Compensation has been agreed with Hibernian FC.
Caledonian Thistle chairman Kenny Cameron added: “It is a major disappointment to the club and its supporters that they have taken this decision. I’d like to put on record our appreciation of the excellent job they have done at Inverness since Caley Thistle provided them with the opportunity to join the club in January 2009.
“Maurice was offered the manager’s role but declined. We would, however, like to record our sincere appreciation to him for taking the team on Saturday in what was a resounding victory.”
The match in question was a 2-0 win over Hibs at Easter Road, in which Butcher watched from the stands. Clearly in limbo between the clubs, he sat with the former Hibs goalkeeper Jim McArthur, now his agent.
“We are grateful to Inverness Caledonian Thistle for the professional and courteous way in which the discussions between the clubs have been conducted,” Hibs chairman Rod Petrie added in his club’s statement. “We now look forward to welcoming the new management team to Easter Road Stadium.”
Caledonian Thistle’s highly rated chief scout Steve Marsella, who is also their goalkeeping coach, was not mentioned in either club’s statement yesterday. But he is expected to follow Butcher and Malpas to Easter Road sooner rather than later.
While the new men move in, caretaker manager Jimmy Nicholl is expected to be on his way. Nicholl was in charge of Hibs for just two games following Pat Fenlon’s resignation at the start of this month, both of them defeats: Saturday’s home loss, and the 1-0 defeat at Motherwell six days earlier. Nicholl said after the Inverness match that he had already cleared his desk and expected to be on his way.
After a series of unsuccessful appointments in recent years, Hibs are conscious of the need for long-term stability. They have yet to mention the length of contract they are offering their new management team, but it is expected to be in excess of three years.
Fenlon agreed a two-and-a-half-year deal when he succeeded Colin Calderwood in November 2011. Calderwood lasted just over a year in the job, while his predecessor, John Hughes, was in post for 16 months. Mixu Paatelainen was manager for around the same length of time, while John Collins resigned after 14 months in the job.
Butcher, who leaves the Highlands with Caley Thistle second in the SPFL table behind champions Celtic, took the club to their highest ever finish of fourth place last season. Unable to prevent their relegation in the season that he joined, he led them back to the top flight at the first time of asking.
Earlier this year he appeared close to joining Barnsley, but opted to stay in Inverness. The chance to take over at Hibs, however, proved too tempting to resist.