Next Hibs manager: Roy Keane, Phillip Cocu and other contenders come with risk as board takes time despite meetings

The Oxford dictionary defines ‘risk’ as something that offers a chance or possibility of danger, loss, injury, or other adverse consequences.

Phillip Cocu is the latest name to be linked with the Hibs job.
Phillip Cocu is the latest name to be linked with the Hibs job.

Last week, Hibs owner Ron Gordon said that the appointment of Shaun Maloney had been ‘an exciting risk” but it was one that backfired. It brought more losses (and draws) than the board had envisaged and the team’s place in the bottom six threw up the danger of relegation, albeit a threat that has since been quashed thanks to securing three points in Paisley.

“We need to take risks from time to time, that one was a little bit too ambitious on our part.”

So, where do the likes of Roy Keane and Phillip Cocu fit into the mix? Even David Gray?

Hibs are still in the process of drawing up a long-list that can be whittled down to serious contenders. With chief executive Ben Kensell and head of recruitment Ian Gordon in London this week for meetings with prospective managers and/or the representatives of several interested parties, that shortlist is unlikely to be agreed before next week.

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Then the serious meetings and due diligence can be carried out as those with the task of making sure they bring in someone who can elevate the club’s league standing and deliver silverware, all in a manner that excites the fans and the hierarchy, get on with the job of risk-management.

While admitting they possibly over-reached last time, in their rush to bring in Maloney, the Easter Road chairman has reiterated his desire for Hibs to be “a club that is innovative and takes some risks”.

But, having gone through two managers in one season, and taken a step back on the pitch as a consequence, he also acknowledged the need to get footballing matters right this time around.

Against that backdrop, how big a risk is too big a risk?

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Keane and Cocu are household names and, particularly in the case of the Irishman, would generate that frisson of excitement and shift season tickets, and neither are managerial rookies. Both men have worked in the British game. But while their names would convey a certain stature and raise the club’s profile, do the results delivered throughout previous employment point to a high likelihood of on field success.

The fact that Keane has not managed since he parted company with Ipswich Town in 2011 is something worth considering, while the fact he failed to set the heather alight there is another. At Sunderland, results were a mixed bag, while his management style was reportedly too harsh for players who celebrated his departure.

A winner as a player can he translate that to man-management in the current era?

Dutchman Cocu left Fenerbahce one place above the relegation zone and Derby were bottom of the table when he left so there are question marks, while other contenders like Malky Mackay come with personal baggage, and Gray’s lack of experience could cancel out his legendary status – for now.

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The reality is there are many more names in the frame and none come with a guarantee.

Which is why, while bookies juggle with the odds and rumours continue to swirl, the board and those who will have to put their reputations on the line once more, will take their time.