'He properly cared about you' - Hibs captain Paul Hanlon speaks on 'people person' Ron Gordon
Hibs club captain Paul Hanlon has paid tribute to the club’s late owner Ron Gordon, describing him as ‘not just a player person, but a people person’.
The 33-year-old is one of just a few current players to have been at the club for the changing of the guard, and told of how he got to know a man whose personality belied his business background.
"There was complete shock at the start. No one was really aware how serious his condition was and what stage his treatment was at so there was real sadness and shock to begin with, then the lads who have had that more personal interaction with him, and all the staff who have had that with him, everyone has felt that really deeply,” Hanlon said.
"He cared about you and how you were, about your family, and everything like that. He didn't have to take that interest, he was well above us as players and it is his organisation, his business, but he did take that time to properly care and that is why so many people have so many nice words to say about him.
"He went the extra few yards that you probably don't expect from someone so high up in the business but I think that was one of his best qualities and what made him so successful. He treated you like a normal person, not just someone who worked for him. He properly cared about you. He wanted to know all about your life and how he could help you as well. It is a big loss for the whole football club.”
As a boyhood fan, Hibs had been under Sir Tom Farmer’s stewardship for the bulk of Hanlon’s time on earth until Gordon took the reins in the summer of 2019. The arrival of the vivacious, American-based businessman with roots in Peru and Scotland and a zest for life – and football – sparked a change in atmosphere at the Capital club.
"At this club things had been a set way for so long, it was a different way of thinking but I can see what he was thinking,” the skipper continued. “He brought a lot of different ways of doing things or ways of thinking into the football club and a lot of that has been really beneficial. He has improved every aspect of this club and he wasn’t planning on stopping until we were successful, and that is our motivation now.
"I remember discussing bonuses with him. The first time I had to do it I don't think Ben [Kensell, chief executive] was in place so it was direct conversations with Graeme Mathie, and then Ron. That was my main 1-1 over a decent length of conversation and there was negotiation as well.
"It was all focused on being successful. That was his main aim for this club. He wanted to continuously make it better. The only way the bonuses were going to be paid was if we were successful or improving. It showed he had that drive and passion for the club to be successful and he was determined to improve it in every aspect.
“He wasn't an out-of-touch owner who was running things from afar. He got the club, and he understood the club.”