Paul Heckingbottom: Hibs have to believe title status quo with Celtic and Rangers can be broken
Paul Heckingbottom says the financial clout of Celtic and Rangers shouldn’t stop Hibs believing they can win the Premiership title – but admitted they’ll never have the biggest budget to achieve that goal.
Multi-millionaire American businessman Ron Gordon revealed he wanted to see the Easter Road club compete at the top end of the table – with the ultimate target being to break the dominance of the Old Firm – on the day he bought out former owner Sir Tom Farmer.
Gordon conceded, however, that he wasn’t naive enough to think such an ambition could be fulfilled overnight and although he’s kept a low profile since, Heckingbottom revealed Gordon is looking closely at how the club is run.
He said: “The way the club works hasn’t changed. The performance side of things haven’t changed and what the fans care about is what happens on the pitch. They care about the football and nothing has affected us as of yet.
“We want to keep improving and we want to be really good in every other department. We want player sales to increase and we want to improve our prospects for being better and stronger in every window. We aren’t in a position to change anything regarding that. We need to earn that by increasing profits elsewhere and increasing profits in player trading.”
The acid question, of course, is can that take Hibs towards the title? Heckingbottom said: “You know the landscape of Scottish football, but nothing is guaranteed. It’s been the status quo for such a long period that it’s now just accepted.
“If you look at budgets and look at squads, wages and expenditure in the English Championship last season then Sheffield United and Norwich shouldn’t have gone up. Nowhere near. But good planning, good strategy and good people at the club and having a long-term view on things and good decisions over a longer period can make things happen.
“I might be long gone before it happens, but with the new owners the aim is to be up there competing. It could be in ten years time, but I guarantee that if Hibs win the league in ten years time, then it won’t be because we have the biggest budget.
“You have to believe that status quo can be broken. Whether that’s going to be in ten or 15 years, then you have to believe it can happen.
“Ron wants a football club which is run as well and as efficiently as it possibly can. It’s a new set of eyes and a new way of thinking in running a club, so everyone should welcome it.
“It’s probably a bit stressful for some people as they’re under the pump more and getting questioned a bit more. But that’s what they should be.”