'Hibs can bridge Old Firm gap' - Gordon sees silverware and Euro runs as just the start

Ron Gordon (left) and Hibs director of football Brian McDermott at Tuesday night's AGM.Ron Gordon (left) and Hibs director of football Brian McDermott at Tuesday night's AGM.
Ron Gordon (left) and Hibs director of football Brian McDermott at Tuesday night's AGM. | SNS Group
UEFA group stage football first priority following Bournemouth tie-in

Hibs hope joining billionaire Bournemouth owner Bill Foley’s football network will ultimately put them in a position to challenge the Old Firm. And Ian Gordon says the journey starts by putting a lock on third place every season.

Foley’s £6 million acquisition of a 25 per cent stake in Hibs was given the green light by shareholders at a packed Easter Road AGM on Tuesday night. As first reported here back in October, Foley has plans to make the Edinburgh outfit the undisputed third force in Scottish football.

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Gordon, who has taken on an increasingly important leadership role at Hibs following the death of his father, former chairman Ron Gordon, just over a year ago, believes gaining access to the Black Knight Football Group stable – which includes a majority stake in Bournemouth, a holding in French club FC Lorient and ownership of a licence to launch a new A-League franchise in Auckland – will have immediate and lasting benefits.

Asked about the ambition set by the new partnership, which will see Foley appoint two representatives to the Hibs board, Gordon said: “I think firstly it is to solidify third place and then we want to be a regular in European football, that is the ultimate goal. We need to be making the group stages on a year-on-year basis and then to bring more cups to the club - and then eventually hopefully bridge the gap on the Old Firm.”

American sports magnate Foley, who also owns the Stanley Cup-winning Las Vegas ice hockey franchise, has spoken about providing “help” for Hibs in the transfer market. And, although much of the £6 million buy-in will be spent on infrastructure projects at the stadium and the training ground, there will be an immediate effect on the transfer budget.

Gordon, whose family retain a controlling interest of just over 60 per cent in Hibs, said he recognised a lot of familiar traits in the new business partner, explaining: “I think in a way Bill shared a lot of the same characteristics and vision that my dad had. He has such a great background in sports so for us it was easy to connect and align in the direction we wanted to go in. I think we were aligned on many fronts and the ambition we had for the club.

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“I think you’re seeing benefits now, with some of the signings we made in January. But moving forward you’ll see massive improvements down at HTC, the north stand here at Easter Road. And then, come the summer, you’ll see an increase in the playing budget.”

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