'Ron would approve' - Gordon family on billionaire Bournemouth owner's buy-in

Kit and Ian Gordon believe the late chairman would have shared Foley's vision for Hibs.Kit and Ian Gordon believe the late chairman would have shared Foley's vision for Hibs.
Kit and Ian Gordon believe the late chairman would have shared Foley's vision for Hibs. | SNS Group
Hibs have already signed agreements on Foley's investment

Ron Gordon’s family believe the late Hibs chairman would have approved of billionaire Bournemouth owner Billy Foley’s Easter Road buy-in – because his “vision” for the club always included attracting a heavyweight minority investor. Gordon’s son, Ian, and widow Kit remain completely committed to the club and have repeatedly stressed that Foley’s investment will not result in the current Hibs hierarchy ceding control when it comes to major decisions.

The SFA Board have given the green light for Foley to acquire a 25 per cent stake in Hibs, in return for an initial investment believed to be in the region of £6 million. The next step is for existing shareholders to approve the deal, first reported here back in October, at next months’ AGM.

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But a statement on behalf of the Gordon family this afternoon revealed that the club has already signed agreements with the American’s Black Knight group. And the family believe they’ve secured the long-term prosperity of Hibs by joining forces with a group that includes Bournemouth, French club Lorient, and a new A-League expansion team in New Zealand, not to mention the Stanley Cup-winning Las Vegas Knights ice hockey franchise.

The family declared: “We see the bright future ahead, one we can all be proud of. Ron’s vision, and long-term plan, included bringing in a minority partner, like Black Knight, which would help us achieve our goals.

“We share the same values and ambitions as Black Knight in our partnership. Our continued commitment to building a winning and successful club is unwavering.

“Over the past 12 months we have invested in the club and made positive strides. We have improved the infrastructure at Easter Road and HTC, grown our club-controlled income, increased the first team player budget, and driven the club forward commercially.

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“The year ahead includes developing the space inside the Famous Five Stand, introducing safe standing, and continuing to make HTC a high-performance training centre. We take pride in the journey and progress of this football club; our commitment remains to meet the high expectations of Ron and our supporters and achieve sustained success on and off the pitch.”

The family said they’d been keen to keep fans updated during “negotiations and rigorous steps” taken to get this deal approved by the SFA, who had to grant a “dual interest” dispensation likely to become increasingly common in an age of multi-team football groups.

In their statement, the Gordons said of the process: “We are now coming to the end of this phase, one that will benefit the long-term future of Hibernian FC. Through very positive conversations with the Scottish FA in regard to their rules and regulations, specifically Article 13, and following a series of meetings, we can confirm their approval of our minority investment proposal.

“With that approval, we have also signed agreements between Black Knight Football Club and Hibernian FC. This proposal will be shared at the Club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in February, which is the final step of ratifying the minority investment.

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“The Gordon Family would like to thank our Chief Executive, Ben Kensell, for his tireless work and efforts over the last eight months. Ben has played an integral role throughout this process, completing extensive due diligence, and ensuring the growth this investment will help us achieve.

“Lastly, we would like to thank every one of you, our Hibernian FC supporters. The last 12 months have been challenging for the family, and we are immensely grateful for your outpouring of love and support. Our sincerest gratitude to Ben Kensell and Malcolm McPherson for their leadership and to the entire staff for their unity in helping the club during this difficult time.”

Head coach Nick Montgomery has spoken previously about the Foley investment allowing Hibs to “move up the pecking order” in pursuit of players previously out of reach, while there will also be options to take in players on loan from one of the American’s other clubs.

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