Generous Hibs fans have helped wipe out more than half of cash-strapped Vale of Leithen’s £10,000 debt, Mark Lamb, the boss of the Borders club, revealed today.
And Lamb hopes that with the Innerleithen club now on a more sound financial footing as it approaches its 125th anniversary, it will help him attract new players with Vale’s money problems having previously put off potential signings.
Revealing the 1375 crowd which descended on Victoria Park was double what he had expected for Alan Stubbs’ first match as Hibs head coach, Lamb, a lifelong fan of the Easter Road club, said: “It was a massive day for us. We probably cleared around £6000 after expenses which will account for about 60 per cent of our debt.
“I’d gone onto hibs.net and was honest with the fans in Edinburgh, telling them ‘we are struggling, can you help’. So it was extremely touching to hear one of our committee members saying at half-time Hibs fans had been handing over £20 notes for two £7 tickets and telling us to keep the change. It brought a tear to the eye to see football as a family coming together to help and Saturday has certainly gone a long way to help us.
“I also think the local shops, pubs and hotels enjoyed a good bit of business with the number of Hibs fans who had come down, some of them turning it into a weekend away.
“All in all it was a good day out for the fans, a nice relaxed atmosphere, brilliant weather and a match played in good spirit with both teams intent on playing football. We were left chasing shadows at times, but we have a young team with a number still on holiday and they’d also played last Thursday night against Dumbarton.
“We’ve also found it tough to bring in new players as they’ve been asking if we are going to survive. We’re trying to eradicate the debt and while we know we face a tough season in the Lowland League because we have such a young team, if we are sitting with money in the bank at the end of it then we’ll be happy.”