WHILE one key component in Hibs’ rebuilding project has made it clear that he wants away, Easter Road fans have been boosted by the news that manager Alan Stubbs is more than happy to stay.
The Scott Allan saga continues to rumble on with the club issuing a statement condemning the vitriolic backlash he was subjected to on social media following the news that he had handed in a written transfer request. Reacting to the poisonous postings, the club have requested fans remain “respectful” when commenting on Hibs matters. They also revealed they had been in contact with Police Scotland regarding some of the tweets and said they would support any subsequent police investigation.
But the transfer saga that has dominated the past few weeks is likely to rumble on as Rangers and the player and his representatives weigh up their options in the face of such staunch inflexibility by Hibs. It is a scenario the Leith club will not welcome but the news that Stubbs and his fellow coaches John Doolan and Andy Holden have agreed contract extensions will bolster the mood in the camp. Stubbs, who joined the club last season, has signed a deal that ties him to Easter Road until the end of the 2016-17 season, which, he says, will give him time to advance the restoration project he has undertaken on the football side of things and, hopefully, help lure the disillusioned punters back to games.
“I am very happy to continue with the work in progress. I think supporters would agree that they have seen a lot of positive changes over the past year, and I know there is a lot more to come.
“I think most supporters would agree that whatever disappointments they have suffered in recent seasons are behind us. We are on the right track now. We’re trying to play a winning and exciting brand of football that they want to see and be part of.
“I believe in what we are all trying to achieve, and if there is one thing supporters can do to help me it is to get themselves along to Easter Road to support our team. To put it simply, we need you.
This is a tremendous demonstration of our ambition at this club.Chief Executive Leeann Dempster
“I’m grateful to all of those who have supported the team, especially all of those who have put up their hard-earned money – all of that has helped me get players in – but we need more supporters to come back to their club if we are to continue to get stronger.”
Last season, Stubbs guided Hibs to second place in the Championship but missed out on a shot at promotion, suffering an aggregate loss to Rangers in the play-off semi-final.
He also took the team to the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup before being ousted by Falkirk.
“We made decent progress last year, but this season we all know we need to get promoted,” the manager added. “We need to be as strong as we can to achieve that, and while I know that the Board are giving me all the support they can, I also know that if we can get more people coming to games, I’ll be able to do more.”
The board have given Stubbs sound backing, refusing to entertain bids from Rangers for star man Allan and showing a willingness to absorb the cost of losing him for nothing at the end of the season if it means denying one of their chief Championship rivals an extra advantage.
Stubbs wants the fans, who have been fragmented in the recent past, to show similar backing and get behind him and all of his players, no doubt including Allan.
“This is football, so there will be setbacks along the way. It’s how we react to those setbacks that will eventually determine how successful we are,” said Stubbs. “If we buckle and fight amongst ourselves we will lose. If we stick together and show our collective commitment, we will win. I’m confident that we can win.”
Chief Executive Leeann Dempster was delighted to announce the news “This is a tremendous demonstration of our ambition at this club,” she said. “We have a really talented management team, and their desire to stick with us shows that they understand we are determined to get this club back to the top.
“Supporters wanted to see that commitment, and Alan, John and Taff [Holden] have all shown their own determination to restore this club to the upper end of Scottish football, where it belongs.”