The move towards fan ownership at Easter Road has passed another milestone as it was revealed today that supporters have pumped £100,000 into the club.
And that figure is set to soar to £250,000 by the end of the year, funds which, Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster insisted, will make a significant difference in helping head coach Alan Stubbs plan for next season. Hibernian Supporters Limited have disclosed that they now hold a four per cent stake in the Capital outfit, a further 500,000 shares having been secured as another £20,000 was handed over to the club.
While heartened by the six-figure sum, HSL chairman Kenny MacAskill believes there are still many supporters who have adopted a “wait and see” approach but hopes they’ll be encouraged to commit as they see the money coming in going directly to boost Stubbs’ squad. MacAskill said: “We are so pleased we have been able to raise £100,000 in such a relatively short period and, as a result of our members’ monthly contributions, we are confident that we can get this figure to £250,000 by the end of the year.
“Leeann and her board have already confirmed that these funds have made a real difference to the club’s football plans and we are determined to continue to support our club in getting us back to where we all want to be. We are encouraged by the take up to date and we have noted that many fans are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach. While this is understandable we are really keen to get much more funds to Leeann and her team to allow them to build now for next season.”
Dempster said: “It’s not just the £100,000 that we have already received, but the knowledge of the additional £150,000 now coming over the remainder of the year is making a significant difference to our thinking.
“We promised fans that all funds would be supporting our football ambitions and I can now assure them that their generosity is really helping Alan Stubbs develop things for next year.”
HSL are also inching their way to the point where they will have their own representative on the Easter Road board. HSL director Jim Aidie said: “We have a legally binding agreement with the club that allows us to appoint a director once our shareholding reaches 20 per cent. To do this, however, does require more supporters to step forward and share responsibility for our club.”
HSL has been working to explain the share offer – which ultimately could see fans take control of 51 per cent of the club – and they’ll be holding a “breakfast event” at the Supporters’ Association clubrooms at Sunnyside ahead of tomorrow’s play-off clash with Rangers to further increase awareness.
Former Hibs stars Pat Stanton, John Brownlie, Tony Higgins and George Stewart, along with HSL directors, Dempster and the club’s head of football operations George Craig, will all be there from 10am.