Hibs supporters are now the second biggest shareholder in the Easter Road club only a month after the Edinburgh outfit’s share issue was launched.
Nearly 600 supporters have signed up to become members of Hibernian Supporters Limited, the company set up to simplify the buying of shares, and a figure which HSL declared was ahead of expectations, leading it to believe it could own ten per cent of the club within a year.
Already one million shares have been bought on behalf of fans, who have been offered the chance to own up to 51 per cent of the club with the potential to raise £2.5m, with a further surge expected following February’s pay day.
Although minimum donations suggested by HSL, a company set up with the sole objective and aim of buying shares in Hibs for the benefit of supporters, were for a lump sum of £225 or £18.75 a month, chairman Kenny MacAskill today revealed average monthly contributions are running at £318 and £20 respectively.
In addition to direct debits, they have also been heartened by the number of one-off contributions, many from overseas.
Describing the progress as remarkable given the “headwinds” HSL encountered before its launch – a number of supporters groups voiced their opposition but then withdrew it – MacAskill said: “We are delighted with the take up so far, particularly as we now expect a further surge after the February pay day.
“We always thought this was a marathon and not a sprint. What is equally pleasing is the number of supporters who have contributed above the minimum level.
“The progress is remarkable given the headwinds we faced prior to launch.”
Now HSL intend to step up their campaign to raise awareness and convince supporters to play their part in moving towards fans’ ownership by printing 20,000 information leaflets which will be distributed at the forthcoming Rangers game at the end of the month and in the local community.
MacAskill said: “Whilst most of the effort so far has been through social media, we have now commenced direct consultations with Hibernian Supporters Association branches to explain what we are trying to achieve, a step that has been very positively received.
“What is clear is that fans want to hear from us directly and get the story first hand rather than rely on hearsay and misinformation.
“All the meetings we are having and the feedback we have received indicates to us that there is a real interest in what we are trying to achieve.
“Supporters are joining every day and more and more are recognising the benefit of a collective such as HSL.
“We believe that it is possible that by the end of the first year we will be in a position to own ten per cent of the shares on offer.
“We have a subscription agreement that enables us to buy whatever shares are available, so long as they are available.”
HSL revealed that one of their latest recruits is former Hibs skipper George Stewart, who now lives in Yorkshire, along with his sons Dean from Australia and Grant here in Scotland. Stewart, who played more than 100 games for the club including the twice replayed Scottish Cup final against Rangers, said: “We had stated our position last summer and looked for change and change has been forthcoming.
“On the park we are a completely different outfit and credit to the club on the appointment of Alan Stubbs and his team.
“We need to play our part now and that is why I am backing HSL. The money goes towards the football and that’s what we are all after.”