Owner insists he fully trusts Dempster and Mathie to lead search for new Hibs boss
Hibs chairman Ron Gordon explained that he’s happy to put his trust in chief executive Leeann Dempster and new sporting director Graeme Mathie to lead the search for Hibs’ new manager.
The club are looking for a replacement for Paul Heckingbottom, who was relieved of his duties on Monday. Gordon is happy to let Dempster and Mathie take command of what represents the first managerial recruitment since he took ownership of the club from Sir Tom Farmer in June.
“I think we have very strong leadership in Leeann Dempster and Graeme Mathie,” Gordon told Hibs TV. “I want to let them do what they do best and to be there to support them. I think, ultimately, we need to look at what the vision for the club is and they’re part of that in terms of what the football standards and goals we have look like. They’re there to lead and run the show. My goal is to support them.”
Gordon admits he was disappointed to have to part company with Heckingbottom and his assistant Robbie Stockdale this week but is adamant Hibs will emerge strongly from this period. “It’s been a difficult week,” said the American. “I would echo the feeling around the club, that Paul and Robbie made a real contribution and worked very hard to try and get us to where we want to be. But sometimes these things happen in football. It’s been a little bit of a turbulent time but I think the club’s strong and will sail through that as it has in the past and will do so again in the future.”
Gordon made light of the ‘Invisible Man’ tag he has been given by some supporters as a result of the low public profile he has kept since taking control of Hibs five months ago. He is adamant that he has been paying close attention to all aspects of the club as he sizes up the best ways to move it forward. “I’m engaged every day in the things that are going on at the club and I’m certainly tuned into the games,” he said. “I may not be here all the time but I’m very aware of what’s going on. This is not an investment that was made, on my part, for me not to be involved. I’m very engaged and I think the whole group at Easter Road and HTC is very engaged in the kind of progress that we want to make as a club.
“For the last three months we’ve been working on initiatives around different aspects of the club – which includes the matchday experience at Easter Road, capital investments that need to be made here and, now, some of the things we want the football programme to be all about. That is all going to come together in the strategic plan that we hope to have completed by the end of this year. My goal is to present it to the board by the end of December and then share it with our supporters and shareholders at the start of next year. Initially, for me, the idea of the first three to six months was to learn, see what’s going on and absorb some of the possibilities with the team. That’s what we’re doing right now. We’re putting the pieces together, prioritising the kind of things we want to do as a club and turn that into an actionable plan.
“At the end of the day, for us to be a successful club we need to be growing. The financial growth of the club will all be reinvested in the football because that’s our product. What I’d like to see is growth in the top line of the club. If we can do that then that’s more resources for us to invest in our first team, the football programme and the development of players within our Academy. I think, if we can get that right, the club will be on a very positive ascendancy.”