BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
LEEANN Dempster has vowed to hand Neil Lennon a big enough war chest to clinch automatic promotion back to the Premiership next season.
With the former Celtic boss being appointed on a two-year deal on Wednesday night, Dempster has promised Alan Stubbs’ successor will be given the ‘means necessary’ to win the Championship.
The Hibs chief executive has stressed the link between supporters buying season tickets and the transfer business that can be completed as the capital club seek to return to the top-flight at the third time of asking.
The Scottish Cup winners have sold almost 8,000 season tickets for next season, including 1,000 new holders – an encouraging figure, according to Dempster.
However, around 2,000 season ticket holders from last term have still to renew and Dempster is targeting a final figure of at least 10,000 to give Lennon the financial muscle to put together a team strong enough to land the Championship title.
Addressing supporters ahead of Friday’s renewal deadline and before Lennon’s appointment, she said: “We know you can help us get there to give us the best possible chance of winning the Championship outright and returning to the top-flight where this club belongs.
“The way to do it is to get back to games at Easter Road.
“Don’t watch from afar, don’t wait for anyone else, just get yourself to Easter Road and support us over the line in 2017. If you can, rally your friends and family to come to games.
“I plan to give our new head coach the means necessary to win the Championship – it is easier to do this with you beside me.
“It is simple, the sooner you can commit to a season ticket, then the more and the sooner we can support our new head coach to get players signed up and prepared for the initial games.
“Life with Hibs has been pretty incredible over the last few weeks. Join us for more next season.”
Dempster is hopeful the feel-good factor clearly in evidence when Hibs paraded the Scottish Cup through Edinburgh and Leith a little over a fortnight ago will continue into the new season.
And she is eager to tap into the potential she witnessed as well over 100,000 thronged the streets to acclaim the first Hibs team to have won the Scottish Cup in 114 years.
She added: “The win will live long in the life of every Hibernian supporter. It was a fantastic performance and to win in the final minutes of the game was incredible.
“I have spoken to so many supporters. Some young and some older, current season ticket holders and those who are not, and everyone agrees – winning the Scottish Cup gave us all a weekend to remember and a performance to be proud of together.
“In some ways, the victory parade was even more impressive. To have well over 150,000 people line the streets of Edinburgh, dressed in green and white and cheering the team, left me speechless.
“It was a visual representation of the potential of our club. Tens of thousands of people, all touched by our achievement and wanting to join us on that momentous day.
“Now we want to realise that potential on a permanent basis and I really want us to create that togetherness longer term, to be a launch pad for all the things that are already great about our club.”