Chairman Rod Petrie last night likened Hibs’ accounts to a famous goal from Keith Wright as he assured the club’s annual general meeting he would not allow the club’s future to be placed in jeopardy.
In front of a meeting of around 200 shareholders – and club owner Sir Tom Farmer – Petrie confessed that last season’s seventh spot in the Premier League had fallen “well below expectations” within the club. However, in an upbeat address at Easter Road, Petrie took a swipe at troubled neighbours Hearts and Rangers as he used statistics from the 14 years of the Scottish Premier League to claim Hibs are the “second best” club in Scotland.
With Hearts in administration and Rangers yesterday announcing operating losses of £14 million for the 13 months to June following liquidation, Petrie said: “Let me put the annual report and accounts into some sort of perspective. In football terms, the 2013 accounts are as good as Keith Wright’s goal against Rangers in the 29th minute of the League Cup semi-final on 25 September, 1991.
“Hibernian won 1-0 and went on to win the League Cup that year. That was just a few months after Sir Tom Farmer saved Hibernian for the supporters. Outwith the Old Firm, no club has been in more domestic cup finals in the last 22 years than Hibernian. Only three clubs have won more than two domestic trophies in the last 22 years. Two of these three [Hearts and Rangers] have gone through, or are still going through, insolvency events because they were spending more money on football players than they could afford.
“Little wonder, then, that the first objective of your board of directors is to ensure the financial stability of the club. If you look at all the teams that have ever competed in the SPL and work out what their average league position was, you find the following.
“First was Celtic, second was Rangers, third was Hearts and fourth was Hibernian.
“We were the fourth best team in the history of the SPL – or should I say the second best team in the history of the SPL of all the clubs which lived within their means and paid their creditors in full.”
The official business of the meeting was concluded in just four minutes as the financial results for the 12 months to July 31 of this year, in which the club made a £132,000 profit, were formally adopted.