Hibernian chief executive Leeann Dempster has appealed for fans to temper their behaviour, especially when it comes to dealing with board members, staff or players, saying that the personal abuse that led to supporter director Tracey Smith stepping down was “disappointing”.
“It’s not just our club and I don’t want to get on my soap box but I think there is real moderation required," Dempster said.
"What do we want our supporters to be? People talk about perseverance. Put another word in there - be resilient. Be respectful. When you work at a football club you are going to get beat and things are going to go wrong. But communicate with us in a way that’s reasonable.”
Saying she deals with much of the personal vitriol - in person or online - by shutting it out, Dempster added that when Smith felt the need to seek police and take legal advice, it was clear that lines had been crossed.
“When you look at someone like Tracey who has put herself forward to work at the club, not just represent supporters but to be a director of the club and she has to take a step back due to personal abuse," said Dempster. "I was aware of an occasion or two last season where she had to have conversations with us as a club and separate conversations with police for advice.
“Criticism is fine. Criticise us all day long. Talk to us reasonably. But, see when it gets personal and abusive then you need to moderate it.
“The vast majority of supporters support us through thick and thin - that’s what supporters do - but you have a small minority who just go well beyond where they should.
“It’s really disappointing we have lost Tracey who has committed a lot of time. She now has to go and sit in the stand on Saturday and I hope the supporters, when they see her, respect the decision she has made.”