Hibs fan chief hits out at SPL schedule

Mike Reilly
Mike Reilly
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HIBS fans’ chief Mike Reilly today hit out at the SPL after the Easter Road side were handed a raw deal in the post-split fixture list.

Three of their five remaining games after the league splits will be played on a Sunday, while their home clash with relegation rivals Dunfermline has been scheduled for a Monday night and will be shown live on television.

Their only Saturday fixture is the 300-mile round trip to face Inverness on the final day – and the game against Terry Butcher’s side will be their third trip to the Highlands this season.

And Reilly insisted today that fans’ concerns are not being taken into consideration by the league’s governing body. Reilly, chairman of the Hibs Supporters’ Club, said: “It is glaringly obvious to me that the fans are secondary on how things are worked out now. I think that it is really foolish to go down this route, crowd numbers are already dwindling.

“To me they have to go back to the logical way of playing football – and that is at 3 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon. That is the only way that you will get fans to come back to the game in numbers.

“It’s okay playing a game on a Sunday, but only if it is the odd occasion, not as many times as we are having to. And making us travel back up to Inverness for the third time this season is just a joke. It’s not just about the time and distance that you have to travel. People have to take time off work and it’s costing more and more to go to matches.

“If you look at the Inverness game on Sunday there, they changed the kick-off three times. It had orginally been planned for the Saturday at lunchtime and was then moved to the Sunday lunchtime before they eventually decided to play it at 3 o’clock.

“I know people who had already booked hotels and travel for the Saturday night. The fans will turn away in droves at this rate.”

Meanwhile, Hibs have confirmed that managing director Fife Hyland will leave the club at the end of the season.

Following Hyland’s departure, Scott Lindsay will return to the post of chief executive – which he previously held from 2008-2010.

Hibs also confirmed the appointment of Brian Houston as a non-executive director, an addition that was made last December.

Chairman Rod Petrie said: “I should like to thank Fife for the experience, flair and acumen he has brought to the club’s commercial and communications operations. We understand his decision and wish him every success in the future.”

Hyland, who joined the Hibs board in 2008, said: “I have enjoyed the privilege of serving on the board over the past four seasons, and will deeply miss not being part of the club day-to-day and working with such dedicated people.

“I’d like to thank both Rod and Scott in particular for their support and counsel, and the board and supporters of Hibernian for the opportunity to represent the club.

“I’ll be fully committed to helping the team succeed to the end of the season.”