Yesterday, the news was released that Hibernian’s financial results for 2023 were “horrendous”.
Considering the size of their club, a £3.9 million loss for the year to June 2023 is pretty damning.
For a club that has a modest turnover of £12.4 million, that’s nothing short of catastrophic.
For a long time, Hibernian has been a club that has been mismanaged.
In terms of size, well, they could be classed as a club of decent magnitude.
They are one of two capital clubs that could be, and should be, doing much better than they are.
For me, the root cause of their problem is a lack of ambition.
You might say that I spend an awful lot of time talking about the lack of ambition our club displays, but I’m pretty sure that Hibs fans feel exactly the same when it comes to their club.
In fact, I’ve no doubt they do after hearing the news of their latest financials.
We, as Celtic fans, might have the luxury of complaining that we have too much money, which our board refuses to spend.
Hibs fans do not have that luxury.
So, why has this club idled around in the doldrums since their Scottish Cup win in 2016?
For me, a big part of it stems from poor managerial appointments.
Since their cup win in 2016, they have appointed 6 different managers.
Only one, Neil Lennon, was relatively successful, and that success came in the guise of promotion from the Championship in 2017.
Which was followed by a 4th place finish in the Scottish Premiership.
Lennon, though, which has become very evident throughout his managerial career, had his customary implosion in 2019.
An implosion, which unfortunately, brought him back to Celtic, much to the dismay of many Celtic fans, including me.
That’s a story for another day, which, as we all know, does not have a happy ending.
The managerial appointments which followed Neil Lennon’s departure at Hibs, are a big part of where the club now finds itself.
While our club spends an awful lot of time pissing around with “project” players, I think it’s fair to say Hibernian have spent an awful amount of time pissing around with “project” managers.
Which has delivered the square root of f*** all for the club.
Now, I’m only making these deductions as an observer, but I’ve often wondered if someone with serious financial clout, and a head for business, approached one of the Edinburgh clubs, would he, or she, be able to turn them into a serious force?
A force which could challenge the Glasgow duopoly.
Because, lets face it, that challenge is needed for the good of our game.
While our rivalry with the Ibrox club keeps us engaged, you cannot deny that it is monotonous.
Don’t get me wrong, I will never tire of beating them, but neither would I shirk the challenge of another club if it ever came to pass.
Well, that challenge may be closer than we think.
Step forward Bill Foley.
Bill Foley is someone I’d never really heard of until his interest in Hibernian came to light.
I suppose if I had some interest in the EPL, which I don’t, I might have known who he was.
Foley is an American businessman, and he owns Bournemouth FC in the EPL.
He is a billionaire, with an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion.
Last December, it was announced that he was investing £6 million in Hibs, almost half of their annual turnover.
This would give him a 24.9% stake in the club.
While that will not make him the controlling shareholder at Hibs, it still puts him in a relatively strong position.
Our controlling shareholder, Dermot Desmond, hold a 34.65% stake in our club.
It should also be noted that Desmond puts very little into the club these days.
But he makes a hell of a lot out of it.
I’ve spoken about this often enough, especially in my recent article in relation to our expectations as Celtic fans.
Celtic’s earnings, and turnover, make them very much self sufficient, and to that end, Desmond is very much getting a return on his initial investment of £4 million in the club back in 1994.
Foley is putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to Hibernian, and you get the feeling with his initial purchase of 24.9% of the club’s shares, he won’t stop there.
His investment in the Edinburgh club may put them in a position to challenge us or the Ibrox club.
It was this kind of investment from Fergus McCann and Dermot Desmond that put the foundations in place for Celtic to dominate Scottish football as it does today.
But in reality, in order for them to be able to challenge us, they need to make a brave managerial appointment.
Right now, Nick Montgomery is not the manager to take that club forward.
And once Foley is ratified as a prominent shareholder in the club’s AGM on the 27th of this month, then it’s quite possible you might see a change in manager.
The next appointment for Hibs needs to be brave.
In reality, it needs to be box office.
The kind of box office that gets bums on seats.
Something that Hibs are failing miserably to do at the moment.
That much was there for all to see in the amount of empty seats in evidence at Easter Road on Wednesday night.
Bill Foley is no fool when it comes to his involvement in Sports.
His NHL franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights won last season’s Stanley Cup.
They also won the their first Conference Championship in the 2017/18 season, and won it again in the 2022/23 NHL season.
Foley clearly sees potential in Hibernian.
He would not have invested in the club unless he did.
Having said that, he has to be alarmed by the club’s recent financials, which I’m sure he will want to get in hand.
As a Celtic supporter, I welcome his involvement in the game in Scotland.
I believe he might be the man to turn Hibernian into a force in the Scottish game.
But first he will need to make the club self-sustainable, and judging by the most recent losses, that in itself will be a major feat.
However, I would suggest that the Leith club will be one to keep an eye on from here on out.
The changes might only be subtle to begin with.
I reckon we might be surprised by their next managerial appointment.
That could happen sooner rather than later, if Caley Thistle go ballistic at the weekend in the Scottish Cup.
Either way, the Scottish game needs a new kid on the block.
Bill Foley might just be the man to make that happen.
I, for one, would welcome it.