Ron Gordon is right one for Hibs – says the man who spent six months checking him out
Rod Petrie has insisted he’s convinced new owner Ron Gordon is the man to take Hibs forward, having spent six months checking out the multi-millionaire American businessman.
Although he’d freely admitted to being open to offers since rescuing the Easter Road club from oblivion 28 years ago, Sir Tom Farmer had knocked back numerous approaches, with none of them meeting the strict criteria he’d set down before he’d sell.
Finally he found that buyer in Gordon who had been looking to invest in football for a number of years, considering clubs in Scotland, England, Spain and the United States before deciding to make his move for Hibs.
The wheels were set in motion by Archie Paton, a senior sports executive who will now take a seat on the Easter Road board as a non-executive director, who was acting on Gordon’s behalf.
Petrie said: “I got an email or a phone call from Archie, that’s where it started and we engaged from there. He said they were interested in the football club and I provided certain information and we soon understood where each other was coming from.
“Ron then came across and was introduced to Leeann (chief executive Dempster) and others. He spent some time at the training centre and the stadium, as well as Edinburgh. He then went away and came back another time for further engagement.”
However, revealed Petrie, Gordon and Sir Tom quickly bonded.
“One of the most pleasing parts of the process, for me, was when Ron sat down in Sir Tom’s office and the two of them started talking to each other,” said Petrie.
“These were two guys from different parts of the world, with different backgrounds, and yet they were brought up with the same values and the same philosophy. They’d run their businesses in not dissimilar ways.
“There was a real meeting of minds in a number of different levels. The fact Ron understood Sir Tom when he spoke about being a custodian of the football club. His plans for the future are very much in line what we’ve put in place and its incremental growth.
“It’s about trying to be the best you can out on the football pitch, and he’s got ambitions on that front. But there’s a place in the community which makes it a whole rounded package which made him by far and away the best guy that’s ever knocked on the door.”
As well as Sir Tom and Gordon might have got on personally, thorough checks were being made on the Peru-born newcomer.
Petrie said: “You don’t start a process unless you have confidence the person you’re dealing with can back up the things he says.
“We asked for certain assurances in terms of ability to follow through and complete a transaction. And we became very satisfied with the information we got.
“The process started more than six months ago. The club was too important for anything to be rushed. When you consider Hibernian supporters’ hearts and minds – and the club as an institution in the city – it was important we took our time to understand that this was the right person with the right plan and the right investment.
“There have been a number of other people previously who thought they were right for the football club, but we didn’t feel comfortable with what they planned to do.
“They couldn’t take the club forward in the way we feel confident Ron will do.”