Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster has insisted she’s totally unfazed by the declaration from Rangers new chairman Dave King that the Ibrox club will spend whatever it takes to win next season’s Championship.
Taking the title is the only guaranteed route back to the top flight of Scottish football and having failed, like Hibs, to win promotion via the play-offs, King is determined Rangers don’t lose out again.
It remains to be seen how much the South African-based businessman is prepared to pour into the Glasgow club but no matter what, Dempster was adamant Hibs are in “great shape” with season ticket sales running ahead of last year and the increasing membership of Hibernian Supporters Limited, the vehicle designed to help fans buy a 51 per cent stake in their club.
Asked about King’s declaration Dempster told the Evening News: “I can only say I need to worry about what we can achieve here and I know the group of people I have around me. We are very organised, I have faith in the people who are here so we are going into this Championship with a clear direction – we want to win it.
“Am I being foolish in saying that? We are in it with a number of other good teams, Rangers are still there and we have to face that fact as well, but we are in good shape – no, I’m going to change that – we are in great shape.
“We can only improve and the more people who start to come back to Hibernian, who buy season tickets and participate in other ways puts the club in even better shape and we can then compete, be at the table for players and we can make sure we fund the development of the young players at the academy.”
Dempster said she was “absolutely thrilled” to reveal that season ticket sales were at this moment more than 6500, adding: “We’ve been running ahead with season tickets since they went on sale. Importantly there’s been a lot of new season tickets sold as well, there’s still a number of people to renew and there’s a new repayment package in place.”
And she stressed the importance to the Easter Road club of increased home gates, stressing that there was no bottomless pit of money at her disposal. She said: “When you are relegated you normally contract, but we haven’t.
“The money that the supporters are generating is helping us do these things. The more we do that the more I feel we can go on and do other things. It’s difficult in the Championship, particularly as we do not get the same distribution as the Premiership and that’s a seven-figure knock straight away.
“You don’t get the same crowds and I’m not talking here about the home support but the away fans. Look at the Premiership, you have Aberdeen travelling in numbers, Hearts will be too, Partick relative to their size and Dundee as well. These are things we could obviously benefit from next season, so we have to make sure we are doing everything we can to get our own home support through.
“We’re working hard to get people to buy season tickets. If you are a supporter who can afford a season ticket this is absolutely the year to do it, come and enjoy your football at Easter Road.”