Leeann Dempster discusses new owner Ron Gordon’s plans for Hibs

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Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster insists new owner Ron Gordon is determined to make the club successful on the park and a global brand off it.

The American businessman will address supporters on Wednesday at his first AGM since buying out Sir Tom Farmer last July.

Gordon immediately paid off a £2.25 million mortgage and deposited £1.25 million into the club’s bank account when he acquired the majority shareholding, with Hibs now debt-free.

Picture: Alan Rennie

With that in mind, Dempster believes the supporters will be hugely encouraged by what the chairman has to say when he outlines his vision for the Leith outfit.

Dempster said: “Undoubtedly he has got significant aspirations for us all and the club.

“And he is excited about the opportunity for the club to participate in Europe, to become much more global, to maybe do different things, maybe tweak things a little with how we do our academy.

“It’s funny, I came from Motherwell and (former owner) John Boyle was pretty clear, he’d invested his £10 million, he’d lost his £10 million and what he was looking for was a positive exit for him and the club.

“That was the direction of travel for me there. Breaking even for John was manna from heaven because it meant he didn’t have to put more money in, and I mean that respectfully.

“So there has been this narrative at clubs where breaking even is seen as the most important thing. Ron has completely flipped that on its head.

“He has said if all we’re doing is breaking even we’re not creating cash to invest, we’re not actually allowing ourselves to grow in a positive way.

“So it’s a different way of thinking.

“You don’t buy a football club just to let it wither on the vine, that’s not what he is going to do.

“He has bought this club to be a big part of it and be a big influence, and hopefully our club can be a big player in the marketplace not just in Scotland, but in Europe.”

Dempster insists the money Gordon has already ploughed in reiterates his commitment to making the club a success.

She added: “We’re one of the clubs who are in a great position in that we don’t have any debt.

“Let’s be honest, that is fairly and squarely down to him, he has helped us with that.

“There are other clubs in Scotland who might have got there before us, whether that be through discussions or benefactors or whatever that might have been.

“But we’re sitting in a good position, our bank balance is strong.”

Dempster, meanwhile, insists making the right appointments behind the scenes is also crucial to laying the foundation for a brighter future.

She added: “We have had a hard reset within the club on the way we want to work, and he has brought some practices in and he’s encouraged us to think in a different way.

“I know you hear that all the time, but it really is true.

“He has helped us focus on people too whereas before we probably asked a lot of the people who were in the stadium for a long time.

“We asked a lot of our staff to carry a lot of weight and a lot of responsibility.

“So we have added some senior people to our group and that probably elevates us again.

“If you look at clubs like Aberdeen, for example, in terms of revenue they’re ahead of us.

“That’s because they did that kind of underpinning a couple of years before we did.” 

 
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