It’s been a week, yes a week, since the Mad Axeman of East Mains wielded his axe and cut fourteen players from our squad. All out of contract or loan players and probably most did deserve it. So it’s goodbye to them and hello to…well, Leeann Dempster who takes over CEO duties for the club today.
Good luck Leeann, you’ll need it.
Leeann takes over at a time of turmoil for our club. A week ago yesterday the team were relegated from the Premiership to the Championship. Again, deserved but sickening all the same. And yes, that really was just eight days ago. It feels like a lot longer but it was a mere week and a day.
Since then, as fans, we’ve rumbled away about who is at fault. The simple answer is just about everyone. The players, the manager, the chairman and even the owner. Our owner, Sir Tom Farmer, frustrates because he won’t be drawn into making any kind of statement. His last might have been in 2011 when he spoke out to back up Rod Petrie who was under fire then.
How many times can one man come under fire though? As fans mobilise again to protest against Rod Petrie, can he hold on this time? He’s determined, categorically stating last week after Sunday’s tragedy, in a terrible apology from the club, that he wouldn’t be going anywhere.
“Some supporters have suggested that I should resign as Chairman. I take responsibility for the position that the Club finds itself in. However, it would be wrong for me to abdicate that responsibility at this time and walk away and it would be wrong for the Club.”
Will protesting fans finally persuade him to step down? I really don’t know. He certainly knows the depth of feeling of fans I suspect, having met with some last week, having seen the protests outside Easter Road last Sunday and having read the many articles that have appeared in the press over the past week.
One man who has gone quiet since last Monday is the Mad Axeman himself, Terry Butcher. He may well be relieved that the pressure has turned from him and all focusses on the chairman. Less pressure on himself has given him time to sit back and think. He might find himself in the firing line yet again though if we supporters don’t get a inkling of what he’s thinking very soon. He got rid of fans favourites Kevin Thomson and James McPake, who seem to have landed on their feet at least, both signing for Dundee, KT as captain as well. He got rid of another favourite Ben Williams, though out of contract I don’t suspect Williams would have signed a new deal, I don’t know but my gut tells me he wasn’t coming back.
What of the rest though? Professional Hoofballers, Michael Nelson and Ryan McGivern remain. Neither popular with fans. James Collins, striker who doesn’t know what the back of the net looks like, remains. All in contract players but does that mean we have to suffer them next season as well? (Let’s remember Tudur-Jones and the others as well).
Collins, in my opinion, has potential but he is lazy. Unlike Leigh Griffiths who would create his own chances and take the ball all over the park and then score, Collins needs someone to pass the ball to him, to a position where all he has to do is (potentially) knock it in the net. He’s also on the unfit side. A summer of work will see to that though. Will he dedicate his time to that? He’s going to have to. I don’t think he’ll be tolerated if he doesn’t and January would have to see him off to pastures new.
So what of Butcher? The heat definitely is off him at the moment. Following various conversations with different people I have had my own jets cooled and, while last week I would have happily seen the back of him, I now feel he should be given the chance to build his own squad and to take us into next season. Yes, there is anger there that he remains at Easter Road but it’s simmering at the moment and really, if he had been sacked or left we’d still be in the same position as a new manager would have to rebuild. A rebuild was always needed regardless of whether Butcher is the one doing it or Yet Another Manager. Hopefully Butcher has learned a few lessons though. He can’t come into a team and warn them they’ll not survive his cuts and he can’t allow rumours to circulate of tension in the changing room. As fans we don’t want to hear that and it appears, judging by hints from KT and JMcP last Monday that there might just be something wrong in the changing room which Butcher must change.
One more frustrating thing about Hibs at the moment, and there are many, is the lack of comment from the club. Since Hamilton condemned us to the Championship last Sunday we’ve had a pointless apology on the same day, notice that the club was shut on Monday morning – lulling us into a false sense of security, Easter Road may well have been closed but East Mains wasn’t and the Massacre took place, we’ve had notification of the list of casualties on Monday evening, then on Thursday a statement after Petrie met with supporters representatives and then today the statement saying Leeann Dempster had commenced her employment with the club. It might seem a lot but it’s told us nothing.
Instead rumours fly about about people leaving, players taking wage cuts and all of that in itself does the club absolutely no good. If the club says they understand the frustrations of the supporters they might work to quash some of the rumours because the rumours frustrate us even more.
At the end of the day, and the end of this blog, I still support Hibernian. It’s up to the club to now repay my support and the support of every other Hibernian fan, and they owe us a lot.
Note: Since publishing this blog James Collins has left the club.