Hibs chief gives update on Josh Doig situation - and makes vow over player sales

Just in the door at Hibs, new chief executive Ben Kensell says players will not be permitted to head in the opposite direction unless the club have been suitably recompensed.

Both Josh Doig and the Leith hierarchy are weighing up options after interest in the teenage full-back intensified over the weekend, with Watford and Burnley said to be topping the list of suitors.

But Kensell, who helped Norwich City evolve into a self-sustainable club during his seven years at Carrow Road, has stressed the importance of ensuring Hibs’ valuation and terms are met.

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“We have to ensure it’s right for the player and right for the club, and ultimately that means we extract the maximum value that’s appropriate for this club,” said Kensell. “That allows us to continue to rebuild and move forward. Ultimately, that’s running a club in the most appropriate and right way.

Hibs defender Josh Doig remains the focus of transfer interest. Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS GroupHibs defender Josh Doig remains the focus of transfer interest. Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group
Hibs defender Josh Doig remains the focus of transfer interest. Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group

“But, we’ve also got to think about Josh here. He’s a young lad, at a tender age, so we’ve got to tread carefully and make sure we give him the best possible opportunity to have the best career he can have. We’ve got to advise him appropriately, and so do his advisors.

“It’s a delicate situation, but we don’t want to undersell anyone. We want to get market rate – if not higher – for our players and players won’t leave unless we get that. I think that’s obvious and very clear.”

Outlining his strategy for growing the club, Kensell said that there are four areas to draw on. One is club-controlled income, including ticketing, retail, hospitality and partnerships, another is broadcasting and the collective value of the league, a third is owner funding but the fourth is player development and trading, which he said a lot of clubs “live and die by”.

“We have to be smart with that because there is a fine balance between providing young players with a pathway to come through, selling them at their maximum value, not replacing them or replacing them well and continuously having that focus on the playing model.

“The work Graeme [Mathie, Sporting Director] and Jack [Ross, manager] have done to date is shown in the contract extension for Jack, the performances on the pitch and players we have coming through.”

Doig is the latest player to be targeted by English sides, with Kevin Nisbet and Ryan Porteous the subject of bids in January. But, having worked hard to tie up players on long-term contracts, there was no onus on the Easter Road club to sell and after weighing up the players’ value as saleable assets compared to their worth to the team as they made their push for Europe and silverware, those advances were repelled.

With Doig, the deals appear to merit serious consideration by the player and club.

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“We have to think about the player first,” said Kensell. “Ultimately Josh has come through and done fantastic but also we have to admire how Jack, the coaching team and Graeme have dealt with bringing a young player through and giving him the opportunity.

“Of course there is going to be interest, as there would be with any player playing well at the tender age he’s at. But it has got to be right for the club, it’s got to be right for the player.”

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