No Hibs replacement for Graeme Mathie as sporting director role sidelined in management shake-up

Hibs have decided not to appoint a new sporting director following last month’s departure of Graeme Mathie.

It is understood that having studied the management structure of the club’s football department, the position was deemed surplus to requirements, and recently appointed chief executive Ben Kensell will instead work closely with manager Jack Ross on first team matters and the support network at the club’s training ground, while a soon-to-be-appointed academy director will oversee the running of the youth and development sector of the football department.

The streamlined structure is due to be announced next week and makes best use of the strong working relationship that has developed between Ross and the former Norwich City supremo, who has years of experience handling contractual matters and negotiating with clubs and agents.

It is hoped that the pared back structure will also allow for more agile working practices and decision making.

Hibs owner Ron Gordon (R) alongside chief executive Ben Kensell, who will be more involved in football contracts and negotiations going forward. Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group

The reshuffle follows the club’s decision to part company with Mathie, who joined the Easter Road outfit as head of player identification and recruitment seven years ago, when the club had been relegated to the Championship. Having played a key role in helping the side reassert itself, winning the Scottish Cup and regaining its place in the top tier, he was promoted to the newly-created role of sporting director in 2020, taking over from George Craig, who had served as Hibs’ head of football operations since 2014.

Mathie also took on added responsibility as Interim Head of Academy when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the Leith club, leading to stripped back staffing levels.

That period presented owner Ron Gordon and, latterly, new chief executive Kensell the opportunity to reassess what was needed as they push forward and attempt to build on last season, when the club finished in the top three for the first time in 16 years, to book a return to European action, and reached a semi final and a final in the two cup competitions.

The writing was already on the wall for Mathie prior to the winter transfer window but the club’s failure to land some of the manager’s key targets validated the decision in the minds of several of the club’s main operators and cemented the desire to go ahead with the structural shake-up.

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