Hibernian 0-1 Motherwell
Worrying times continue for the Hibees after another defeat, this time to a late John Sutton goal from Motherwell at Easter Road. It’s yet another blow for this toothless team in green and white that is long past beginning to concern me. Following on from an embarrasssing 3-4 defeat at the hands of Greenock Morton – a team two divisions below Hibs, last Tuesday evening.
The hopeful diversion of a possible return of former Hibs star Derek Riordan has perhaps contributed to some of us with the Easter Road club at heart taking our eye off the ball as matters are truly dire at the club presently. It will take more than a fit and scoring Riordan to turn things around for our currently ailing team sadly.
There are reports that towards the end of the game today there were shouts of ‘Petrie out’ directed towards the CEO who is taking a fair amount of the flack from sections of the support for a lack of re-investment in the team after taking in approximately £11m of late in player sales. It’s a stance I have a lot of time for as we watch a denuded team attempt to replace a galaxy of great young talent with generally very ordinary journeymen football players.
Others will point to healthy movements forward for the club as a whole. Certainly the East Mains Training Centre in particular and the prospective completion of the rebuilding of Easter Road with a brand-spanking new East Stand measure some of the progress the club has made over the past few seasons. Unfortunately Chairman Petrie seems to have forgotten that Hibernian FC is actually a football club. The training centre is a marvellous move for the future whilst the new stand’s immediate worth must be in some doubt. Hibs don’t have a team on the pitch worthy of filling the new spectator area sad to say.
My personal opinion for what it’s worth is that there has been a lack of balance in the way that the clubs financial affairs have been managed for some time now. There is little balance between expenditure on team matters and other areas of the football club. Hibs fans have been let down badly in seeing an extremely talented young team dismantled and being replaced with players of inferior quality and pedigree. It’s easy to see why so many are angry and I count myself as one of that number.
It’s always a blame game nowadays as people seek to find a scapegoat for most every general situation. This is no different at Easter Road. Whilst a proportion of the Hibs faithful blame Chairman Petrie for his tight-wallet fiscal approach, others go further in seeing him as a puppet of Hibs owner Sir Tom Farmer. Others still pour scorn on individual players, the goalkeepers in particular. There is also a sizable body of supporters that blame the woes of the club on manager Mixu Paatelainen. I’m not yet certain of Mixu’s capabilities and I’ll lay my cards on the table in saying that he would not have been my first choice for Hibs boss when the vacancy last occurred. It does seem unfair however to lay all of the blame at the former player’s door in spite of some of his well-documented weaknesses tactically and with team selections. Mixu, like most Hib managers has to operate with an arm tied firmly behind his back. It was the same for John Collins and Tony Mowbray in recent times. Collins in particular in spite of having a reportedly larger amount of money to spend on team matters than some others also presided over the selling off of a great young set of players from underneath him without adequately priced replacements being installed.
Finally regarding today’s game, it was telling to note that a crowd of around 11,000-odd turned up. This is certainly down by a good piece when compared to last season’s figures. I find this one of the most worrying factors about the game today. Is our ‘upward spiral’ finally grinding to a halt in the face of lack of ambition? I’m sorry to admit that I believe it is. Who knows, a run of a few decent performances and results will see me and others feeling differently but I have no confidence that this will happen without a re-think fromthe individuals charged with the running of Hibernian Football club