Hibs' Nick Montgomery discusses potential Bill Foley cash: Signings, budgets, training ground and why club is in good place

Manager knows interest from American billionaire is a huge compliment to Hibs

Hibs manager Nick Montgomery is not counting his chickens – or indeed moneybags – yet given the prospect of fresh investment into the club from American billionaire Bill Foley, but there is genuine excitement at the prospect of the Bournemouth owner becoming a minority shareholder in the club.

Following Thursday’s positive meeting between chief executive Ben Kensell and director Ian Gordon with the Scottish Football Association, Hibs are increasingly confident of getting the green light to circumvent existing dual interest rules in the SFA charter. Foley has made no secret of wanting to help Hibs become a stronger force in the Premiership and as owner of EPL outfit Bournemouth, a stakeholder in Ligue 1 side Lorient and on the cusp of founding a new A-League team in New Zealand, the 78-year-old means business when it comes to sport. His ice hockey franchise, Las Vegas Knights, won the Stanley Cup earlier this year.

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“It’s exciting for any club to have external investment,” said Montgomery on the prospect of Foley’s interest. “What that will look like, I’ve no idea because it’s just conversations that are going on. Ben, Ian, Brian [McDermott, director of football] and the club will deal with stuff like that, they’ve kept me pretty much out of the loop – I would rather know stuff that’s concrete other than speculation. I’m purely focused on right here, right now and what I have at the training ground.”

Hibs manager Nick Montgomery speaks to the press at HTC.Hibs manager Nick Montgomery speaks to the press at HTC.
Hibs manager Nick Montgomery speaks to the press at HTC.

Foley’s first goal would be to help Hibs become the undisputed third force in Scottish football. Montgomery accepts his involvement would give them a far better chance. “We know the history, the fanbase, and what a fantastic club this is,” the manager continued. “There’s other big teams in the competition and we’re definitely down the pecking order, in terms of budgets, from those top teams. We want to be one of the biggest teams every season fighting for those top three or four spots. To do that we have to perform on the pitch.

“What goes on off the pitch, there’s been a lot of work on that since Ron [Gordon, deceased former owner] took over the club, and now with Kit [Gordon’s wife], Ian, and Ben as CEO. They’re always working hard, looking at ways to continue to grow the club off the field, because we know the reward can then come on the field where we can possibly upgrade the training ground, look at players out of our reach and maybe build a stronger squad moving forward. These are things that will possibly progress in the future, but right now we’re in a good place and we’re happy with where we’re at. What will be, will be.”

Montgomery has never spoken to Foley directly but knows those who have. One of his mates is currently on the coaching staff at the Cherries and has told Montgomery good things. “I’ve followed him buying the team in Auckland, I know people involved in that,” said Montgomery. “That’s exciting for Bill and his group. I’ve got some good friends at Bournemouth, as well. Simon Francis is a good friend of mine and an ex-team mate. I’ve kept in touch with him over my career. It’s nice to be talked about with other clubs, but I’ve never spoken to Bill, unfortunately.

“He's obviously a really successful guy and loves football. If he's willing to invest his money in football ... it's fantastic that he's putting his money into Auckland City. New Zealand is a beautiful country and it's only got one A-League team in it. I think it's definitely exciting for New Zealand and for Auckland, which is an amazing city. That multi-group set-up is part and parcel of football. There's a lot of that now and a lot of positives involved in that.”

Bill Foley of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates the Stanley Cup victory over the Florida Panthers earlier this year.Bill Foley of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates the Stanley Cup victory over the Florida Panthers earlier this year.
Bill Foley of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates the Stanley Cup victory over the Florida Panthers earlier this year.

Montgomery sees the development as a huge compliment to Hibs. “That's the most exciting thing of all, you're talking someone of Bill's stature who could realistically choose any club in the Premiership to sponsor or be involved in, but that fact he has chosen Hibs doesn't surprise me because of the history and size of the club, and the fanbase,” he added. “There's a lot of things to like about Hibs but my job is to make sure I get it right on the pitch and try to win games of football.”