BY IAIN COLLIN –[email protected]_sport
HIBERNIAN chief executive Leeann Dempster insists she is relishing working for the greater good of Scottish football after helping to turn around fortunes at Easter Road.
Dempster was elected to the SPFL board ahead of the kick-off to the new campaign as one of two Championship representatives, with Hearts counterpart Ann Budge also being voted on to the new-look structure from the Premiership.
The revamped board, responsible for the ‘strategy and governance’ of the body, met for the first time last week and Dempster says she is eager to do what she can to help the game thrive north of the border.
She said: “I have always felt that during the time I’ve been in Scottish football it can only go one way and that’s upwards.
“I feel that’s happening at the moment.
“I’m looking forward to working on the board and I feel I have the experience now for it.
“I’ve been in football since 2008 and have worked for both Motherwell and Hibernian now.
“I have worked in both the Premiership and the Championship so I hope to be able to contribute something worthwhile.
“If I can bring some of my skills and help out then that would be great.”
The former Fir Park CEO took the helm at Hibs in 2014 following the club’s relegation from the top-flight and, although promotion back to the Premiership has so far proved elusive, she did oversee the club’s historic Scottish Cup triumph in May.
Having since landed Neil Lennon as the club’s new manager, the Championship title is in Hibs’ sights this season but Dempster has clear aims for the game in general.
She added: “You have to give credit to the SPFL because I think things are looking up. We have a lot of sponsorship now and there are new competition formats.
“I believe the next step is to build a narrative for Scottish football and that will involve everyone, not just one club or a few doing their thing.
“If you look at other leagues, there’s a story there; they’re either the richest league, the best league or whatever.
“We need an identity for the game in Scotland and I think we’re in a strong position to find that.
“There’s a huge enthusiasm for football in Scotland, the crowds we get and the participation levels in the sport.
“Often we focus on money, and of course that’s important, but there’s a story to be told about football.
“In Scotland there’s an interaction between football and social life and bigger community life.
“We work on it individually as clubs but we don’t do anything collectively.
“That subject is something which I find really interesting and I’m keen to work on it because I think it could be beneficial for a long, long time.”