Billionaire investor's title talk leaves Hibs boss wanting to hear more
Hibs boss Nick Montgomery wants to hear more about billionaire investor Bill Foley’s plans to turn the Easter Road club into title challengers. And he’s hoping to get a sit-down with the American saviour promising a long-term transformation of the Scottish footballing landscape.
Foley’s purchase of a 25 per cent stake in Hibs, in exchange for an initial investment of around £6 million, was given the green light by the SFA Board this week. And the successful sports magnate, who has interests in franchises from Las Vegas to Auckland, New Zealand, immediately went public with some lofty goals for the latest addition to his stable.
“Short-term is to be in Europe, get into the Europa League,” the American told BBC Scotland. “Be number three or four (in Scotland) so we can work our way up.
“My long-term ambition is to challenge Celtic and Rangers for one of the top spots, but that is a longer-term ambition. I hope I'm around to see it. I like to set unrealistic ambitions – and then exceed them.”
Montgomery, aware that Foley turned his Las Vegas Golden Knights ice hockey team into Stanley Cup winners within six years of the club’s formation, had already been sold on the new man’s qualities through his long-standing football contacts at Bournemouth. And he’s clearly eager to climb on board a potentially exciting project.
“I’ve not spoken to Bill at all,” revealed Monty. “Hopefully once everything gets settled, we can have a conversation about his vision and what he did in ice hockey.
“It’s been mentioned about the investment in the stadium and training ground, and we’ll work out what will come into the budget. Hopefully that will give us the opportunity to bring in a few more quality players to build a competitive team.
“It says a lot about Hibs that this is the club he chose. It says a lot about the fans and the history of the club. It’s a well-run club that is well supported, all over the world.
“There is expectation here, but I like that he chose Hibs. I’ve got big ambitions as well. I understood the expectations and knew the challenge when I took the job on.
“We want to build the team moving forward. Like in life, nothing comes easy and there are ups and downs in football. But I think the club is in a good place.
“The whole Bournemouth partnership is really exciting for the club and for the fans. My relationship with the club was before there was any investment of anything agreed.
“It just adds to the relationship we have with the club. I’m not privy to the other stuff and it’s not been discussed internally.
“I know Ben (Kensell, CEO) has worked very hard with the SFA to get that rubber stamped. But for me it’s been about getting through this window within budget and looking to next season. I’ll sit down and see that the situation looks like for next year because there is an opportunity to bring in a few players.”