A fans movement intent on ousting Hibs chairman Rod Petrie will not make any effort to sabotage the club.
After a meeting between the Petrie Out fans group and the embattled supremo at Easter Road yesterday, Hibs released a statement last night voicing concern that the group – fronted by fans’ chief Mike Riley, former player Paul Kane and Kenny McLean jnr, the son of a former club director – would bid to starve the relegated club of funds ahead of their attempts to rebuild for a Championship promotion push. While season-ticket boycotts were spoken about earlier in the week, Kane, the spokesman for the group, insisted there will be no attempt to encourage protesting supporters to deny the club much-needed income.
Kane, who feels Petrie’s position has become untenable, stressed that all efforts to oust the chairman will be respectful to the club and to the chairman himself. “At no point in yesterday’s meeting was there any talk of depriving the club of anything,” he said. “Boycotting season tickets and things like that was never mentioned. I think what’s happened there is that we’ve had too many spokesmen and emotions have been running high in the aftermath of our great club being relegated. Earlier in the week, Mike Riley said a few things in the papers that were discussed at the meeting we had on Monday but we would never deprive the club of money. That is an individual supporter’s decision but we will certainly not be telling people not to back the club.
“You see people after the game on Sunday pushing gates and things like that but we want to organise the protest in a manner that is fitting for the club. Our campaign will be very respectful to the club. It will also be respectful to Rod Petrie and his family.”
The Petrie Out group were due to meet in the Hibs Supporters Club today to discuss how to move forward with their bid to oust the chairman in the wake of relegation.
“The issue is Rod Petrie. There’s nothing been spoken about the football side or the owner, Tom Farmer. The campaign has started to get Rod Petrie out. That came about due to the meeting yesterday, when we asked him to resign with immediate effect and sever all ties with the club. Hibs have counter-claimed that last night by saying he’s got to be there to help with Leeann Dempster coming over.
“However, he will still remain on the board and unless he severs all ties, he will still have an influence, like he did before when Scott Lindsay and Fyfe Hyland were chief exec and managing director and Rod, in our eyes, was still running the show. The group will support Leeann in every way. We don’t know her but every person who comes to Hibernian Football Club is always given a chance by the fans, but she’s got to be given a chance to do it on her own, not be influenced by people.”
Kane insists it is regrettable that the situation between supporters and the Hibs board has degenerated and hopes that Petrie goes swiftly in order to avoid indignity for the club. “We don’t want to be against the club similar to the Rangers situation where the board and the fans are against each other and coming out in the press having a go at each other. That’s not good for the club and one of the reasons we went to meet Rod yesterday was to try and get him to resign in a dignified way and not have this kind of situation.
“What we asked for was turned down. We do feel that every member of the board has a part to play in the club’s demise, but the main person, the man who has had leadership of the club, not just this season but throughout the last four, five, six seasons, has to go. Rod Petrie’s position is untenable. In terms of the club’s position, I don’t think there’s ever been a darker day.
“Rod has to come away from the club. Our campaign is to give the fans a voice, which I don’t think they feel they’ve had. Now is the time for them to decide what we do.”
Kane says that any supporters groups who wish to oust Petrie are welcome to come on board.
“Any supporters group of ilk has been invited to today’s meeting but we know we may have missed groups. Any groups who believe in what the rest of us believe in are more than welcome to come on board. If there are organised groups of Hibs-minded people who are respectful of the club, they are more than welcome to come on board. I just want to make it clear that this decision will not be made by myself, Mike Riley or Kenny McLean.
“It will be made by the Hibernian supporters, the lifeblood of the club. Whenever supporters have wanted to do something like this, they generally get what they want. My feeling and the group’s feeling is that will happen now as a result of our campaign.”