Michael Weir: New Hibs boss has big task ahead

Terry Butcher leaves Easter Road. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Terry Butcher leaves Easter Road. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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I had expected by the time of writing my column this week that the new manager at the club would have officially been unveiled.

We all know Terry Butcher is expected to be announced, but I have been in this game far too long and I know how quickly things can change. All we can do is hope the correct appointment is made in due course. One thing is certain: whoever is brought in to succeed Pat Fenlon as manager of the club, there lies a mammoth task ahead of him as he is tasked with restoring some pride into the name of Hibernian.

There has been far too much negativity surrounding Hibs over the past few years for a club of this stature, and if I am being completely honest, there is an abundance of work to be done to reignite some passion around Easter Road.

While many clubs have rolled with the times and ensured suitable structures are in place, we have, instead, chosen to live off our own reputation and have convinced ourselves that the name of Hibernian alone, can strike fear into the opposition, which is a mistake a whole host of clubs with similar traditions have made. The reality is staring us straight in the face. We must get back to basics, be more astute in the transfer market and demand a lot more from every department at the club. In any institution, be it football or an alternative business, there must be some accountability taken. The selection process with either the first team or even the youths for that matter must be carefully considered so that we can produce the very best available to the club and its supporters.

The short-term goals for the new manager must be to start picking up some much-needed points in the league once again and, whoever is in put in charge, whether that is indeed Terry Butcher, will need to breathe some confidence into the squad he inherits. Only a few weeks ago we had a small gap developing between ourselves and some of the teams below. However, defeat in our last three league fixtures, not to mention the loss to Hearts in the League Cup, has allowed a complacency to creep in and opposing teams now sense our vulnerability.

We are in a precarious position having also failed to score in our last four competitive fixtures. A victory is urgently required to stop the rot and, the uncertainty in the dressing-room over players’ future with a new man taking charge will certainly affect morale within the camp. Of course, had we put more points on the board, Pat Fenlon might never have quit and we would not be looking for a new manager.

The loss to Inverness on Saturday was not totally unexpected, and it is a result that epitomises the slump the club finds itself in. I was not there myself but, by all accounts, the scoreline could have been far greater, particularly in the first half. This is something that has been allowed to develop in recent seasons where the so called ‘smaller teams’ are given the freedom to play their game at Easter Road and dictate proceedings. This has become a trend in recent years and there is a softness about the squad that we can’t seem to erase.

Goalkeeper Ben Williams was fairly outspoken in the aftermath and vented his frustrations with regards to a performance that was simply not good enough. However, the international break may allow the new manager more time to take stock of our current decline, assess the squad, and decide his best way forward.

I cannot emphasise the enormity of the task he faces in trying to bring some sort of positivity back to the club. I just hope the new man is given autonomy to decide what he must do to lift Hibernian out of this 
dark hole.