Paul Heckingbottom speaks on Hibs transfer plans after Ronald Gordon takeover
Hibs head coach Paul Heckingbottom has admitted American multi-millionaire businessman Ron Gordon’s buyout of the Easter Road club won’t mean he’ll be allowed to plunge head-long into the transfer market.
In ending Sir Tom Farmer’s 28-year-long ownership of Hibs, Gordon has made “a seven-figure” cash injection in a deal which also leaves the club debt-free six years ahead of plan.
But Heckingbottom, who described the timing of Gordon’s take over as “excellent”, insisted it won’t see him embark on a spending splurge to follow the arrival of six signings so far this summer.
“Nothing is going to change in that respect,” he said. “We’ve been told we’re working to a budget we were working to. The investment has come to clear debts, for the infrastructure and the academy and we have been assured the plan is not going to change.
“What would be the point in signing players to replace the players we have just signed. We haven’t played a game, we can’t be doing that. It’s about improving what the club do really well. There will be significant improvements throughout the club, but at the minute the playing side of it is remaining exactly the same strategy.”
Heckingbottom revealed he’d been in the dark as much as anyone else regarding Gordon’s intentions until he was told just 24 hours before the public announcement was made.
He said: “I was excited anyway before I heard the news like everyone else, excited about the new season, a big turnover of players, trying to get players in to improve us, which is still ongoing. And then, like everyone else, excited about the news.
“The timing is excellent. I spoke to the new owner and his family on Tuesday and told him it couldn’t be better and that’s what he said he’d pushed for, he wanted to get it done before the end of June, before the new season. So I don’t think the timing could be any better.”
After completing the formalities and the subsequent round of media interviews, Gordon accompanied Sir Tom to the club’s East Mains training centre where, according to Heckingbottom, he cut an impressive figure.
He said: “I really enjoyed the day. Sir Tom came in. We hadn’t spoken face-to-face before so it was good to sit down and have a chat with him and Rod. It was a case of out with the old and in with the new but it was nice that everyone was there together.
“They’ve been looking after the club really well and I think everyone can take great comfort. The new owner has had to satisfy a lot of people, the owners, the board and satisfy them with his intentions and probably his plans for the club. Everyone wants the best and he’s had to impress a lot of people.
“He was at East Mains with his family, his wife and son and his son’s girlfriend so we wandered about, met a few players. Some had gone, but it was really informal and, I felt, a nice touch.
“There was no entourage, just a humble down-to-earth man walking about meeting people, greeting people. I thought it helped a hell of a lot. Change can be worrying for lots of people but I think the way he took time out of his day to come down and speak to people and the manner in which he did was impressive and for me it fits in with what we think the club is all about.”