Hibernian: Club welcome Pat Stanton-led buyout campaign

Pat Stanton
Pat Stanton is a former Hibernian player and manager

Hibernian have welcomed the creation of a fans campaign led by club legend Pat Stanton to buy the Edinburgh club.

Chief executive Leeann Dempster said: "We look forward to having a positive conversation with BuyHibs so that we can understand their proposals."

BuyHibs is backed by the Erin Trust, Hibernian Supporters Association, the Formers Players Association and Hibernian Shareholders Association.

Stanton has called on owner Tom Farmer to name his price for the club.

"We are delighted to learn that Pat Stanton is leading and has launched a campaign to encourage supporters to invest in the ownership of the club and fund its sporting ambitions," said Dempster on the club website.

BuyHibs campaign director Neil Wheelan
"The club are failing on and off the park and the need for change has never been greater; the club needs a new direction with fresh drive and investment coming into the club."

"It is well known that the board has been consulting widely with supporters and is fine tuning its strategy for the future of the club.

"This will be presented to the existing 1,700 shareholders of the club at the forthcoming AGM and shared with supporters and the wider Hibernian family.

"This is a genuinely exciting period of change at the club and the board has consulted widely and will continue to listen to all contributions to make sure that all supporters are involved."

Stanton, who is a former Hibs player and team manager, said the group wants to meet Farmer and chairman Rod Petrie with "the ultimate aim of buying our club".

The group was formed following supporters groups meetings and a survey of more than 4,000 fans carried out by Supporters Direct Scotland.

"We are in the fortunate position that the motivation for BuyHibs has not been generated from an emergency situation through a threatened insolvency like supporters of other clubs have been faced with," said Stanton.

"We want to be in a position where we can make a positive contribution to the long-term position of our club and to be ready to buy the club when the opportunity arises.

"We are asking fans to pledge to provide funds which will allow BuyHibs to drive positive change and to give an indication of what size of stake is achievable.

"We are open to work with all Hibernian-minded people and groups who share the same goal."

Hibs are presently playing in the Scottish Championship after being relegated from the top flight last season.

Cowdenbeath's Callum Gallagher challenges Hibs' Matthew Kennedy
Hibernian are in the Scottish Championship after being relegated last season

BuyHibs campaign director Neil Wheelan said: "The club are failing on and off the park and the need for change has never been greater; the club needs a new direction with fresh drive and investment coming into the club.

"The potential within the Hibernian fan base is enormous and this must be used to take the club forward.

"The club needs sweeping changes to bring a new and more positive outlook and the required fresh investment.

"It would appear that the current custodians have no desire to invest to move the club forward so we call on Sir Tom Farmer to remain true to his word and pass the Football Club, Easter Road Stadium and the East Main Training Academy into a community-backed vehicle that safeguards the future of all assets."

In August, a consortium of investors claimed to have made a £3.5m offer to take control HFC Holdings Ltd, the company that owns about 98% of the Easter Road club.

The fans survey by Supporters Direct Scotland, which has helped other clubs move to fan ownership, revealed that 84% of Hibs fans wanted the Edinburgh club to follow that path.

Slightly less - 80% - also believe Easter Road Stadium should be safeguarded and that any change to that would require fan approval, while 68% said that they would be willing to join a membership scheme to provide additional income for the club.

Andrew Jenkin, of Supporters Direct Scotland, added: "Supporters are the heart and soul of any football club and the BuyHibs campaign shows Hibernian have many passionate, knowledgeable and highly-skilled supporters who would like to be further involved in the running of the club."