'We'll keep moving Hibs forward' says family as they vow to continue Ron Gordon's work

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Kit and Ian Gordon have said there was never any question that they would continue their late husband and father’s work in taking Hibs forward on and off the pitch, insisting: “We never even thought about it.”

The co-owners of the Easter Road side were speaking on Saturday at the Ron Gordon 24-Hour Football Challenge, arranged in memory of the former Hibs executive chairman, with members of the Hibs staff joining supporters in playing a game of football for 24 hours to raise money for the Hibs Community Foundation – something about which Ron had been deeply passionate. Those taking part paid £15 to play and were tasked with raising at least £100 each with the money being used in the local community.

Kit said: “It’s great to see things like this come together. This is a combination of all Ron’s loves – his love for the game, his love for Hibs, and his love for the community. All the funds raised will go to the Hibernian Community Foundation and it’s a great chance for the fans and staff to come together."

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Mags McPherson, chair of the Hibernian Community Foundation, explained how the day of football had come about.

Ben Kensell, centre, flanked by Kit and Ian Gordon. Picture: Mark Scates/SNS GroupBen Kensell, centre, flanked by Kit and Ian Gordon. Picture: Mark Scates/SNS Group
Ben Kensell, centre, flanked by Kit and Ian Gordon. Picture: Mark Scates/SNS Group

"Ron believed a successful football club had three elements: success on the pitch, success commercially, and a force for good in the community,” she said. “The challenge was Ben Kensell’s brainchild; he wanted to create an event in Ron’s memory to recognise what he contributed to the club and the community, and we can’t believe how it has come together – we have got people playing football for 24 hours, which is tremendous.”

Reaffirming the family’s commitment to Hibs and to carrying on the work started by Ron, Kit continued: “Ron always had a passion for football but Hibs had a very special part in his heart and we as a family are so committed to continuing his legacy. We never even thought about it. It started out as Ron's dream, he made it happen, and he's built it up to what it is today. We're very proud of everything he's done and by no means are we stepping away. We want to continue. Ron had plans and we plan to keep moving forward. He was very passionate about Hibs, it was Hibs all the time. He loved it, ups and downs, everything – he loved it.”

Ian and Kit both paid tribute to the outpouring of love and support that greeted them on their return to Edinburgh following Ron’s tragic passing, with Kit admitting the family had been ‘blown over’ by the support.

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"Just being in the city and immersing ourselves in the fanbase it became apparent that this was something much bigger than we originally signed up for,” Ian said. "But we've kinda caught onto everything Hibs is, what it means, and the city itself. Looking back on it, the reaction to Ron's passing has been incredible, and so has the support we've got as a family."

"We came back to Edinburgh a few days after Ron's funeral in Washington DC and couldn't believe everything that, not just Hibs, but the football community in Scotland did for us. It makes us feel very welcome for sure,” Kit added.

Revealing that Ron had been a big reason behind his move to the club in July 2021, Kensell paid tribute to the former executive chairman as he said: “I still miss him.”

"Ron was a massive reason why I came to the club. He had an infectious personality so we still miss that on a daily basis,” the Easter Road chief executive added. “I still miss those conversations and that energy that he brought but there is a renewed commitment now to see it through.

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"I miss him in general and the grieving process takes a period of time when you get so close to someone. When that person was so committed to what they wanted to deliver, and was so important to that, then it is normal that you want to see that through because you know how much it would mean to them.”

Kensell is hopeful that the 24-hour challenge can become an annual event – just one of many ways the club hopes to honour their former owner’s legacy.

"It’s raising money for a brilliant cause and our Foundation is growing, which is what he wanted. There has been a lot of good work done by Mags and Kit and others so this will go towards helping. It will be one of our massive fundraisers along with the ‘feeding 500’ on Christmas Day. This will be an annual event and it is raising a lot of money. It is a great cause, a great day, and all for a great man.”

He also insisted Hibs would be ‘sticking to the plan’, with Kit and Ian – now owners of the club following Ron’s sad passing – committed to helping the club continue to make strides on and off the pitch.

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“Even when Ron was with us he was committed tenfold to this football club and to growing it and Kit and Ian’s strategic investments since that point, in player purchases like Élie Youan, and what we are doing on the capital expenditure side around Easter Road and HTC demonstrate that. They have proved that they are very, very committed and they are very, very involved with the club. I think they trust me and believe that the plan we have for the club is the right plan.

“The investments we are making, we were going to be making under Ron anyway so I don’t think anything has changed. Their commitment and their support for me and the club and the staff has been unwavering and it is consistent. We are just sticking to the plan.”

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