Hibernian skipper David Gray hails ‘remarkable’ season ticket response amid coronavirus uncertainty

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DAVID GRAY has been tackling coaching conundrums as he bids to land a diploma.

However, a complete shut-down of Scottish football is a head-scratcher he never dreamed of contemplating.

The Hibernian captain has opened up on his lockdown routine, revealing that it has allowed him to focus on the management course he is undertaking at Napier University as he prepares for life after football.

(L-R) Hibs stars Ryan Porteous, Darren McGregor and David Gray  (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

As part of the syllabus, Gray had to complete a series of ‘challenging’ situations and outline how he would approach them.

However, it would be fair to say they all paled in comparison to the current strain being placed on bosses – as well as everyone else affected by the coronavirus crisis.

“I’m doing a course at Napier University at the minute, a diploma in football management,” said Gray, who is also due to complete his UEFA ‘A’ Licence this June.

“I’ve had a report to do over the last couple of weeks which has kept me busy at nights.

“The report is on managing situations and I just finished it. You are given a case study and you have to write up how you would deal with four challenging situations as a manager.

“And no, one of the situations wasn’t a complete shut-down!

“It’s interesting stuff because it allows you to think about how football clubs are run. There’s a huge difference between turning up as a player and having to manage people and situations.

“It sits alongside the coaching badges. Football is all I’ve known my whole life and I’m getting to that point in my career where I know it’s not going to go on forever.”

As well as his ongoing studies, Gray has been indulging in daily doses of ‘P.E with Joe Wicks’ with his kids and keeping fit courtesy of the regimes and dietary tips being dropped into the Hibs WhatsApp group.

But regardless of the distractions, the uncertainty of this continued hiatus looms large.

Hibs owner Ron Gordon conceded that the Easter Road club, while comparatively healthy, still face ‘severe strain and threat’ from a sustained period with no gate receipts or hospitality income.

However, Gray has confirmed that there have been no suggestions that the Hibees will follow the lead of Hearts, Inverness, Dumbarton and Elgin City by reviewing their salary structure.

“It [wages] are something we’ve been talking about at the minute,” continued Gray. “I saw the chairman’s comments in the paper and he’s just stating the facts. These are challenging times for everyone and football is no different.

“Hibs are no different from any other club – we’ve got bills and wages to pay.

“Whatever happens over the next weeks, months – however long – is yet to be seen.

“There is no clarity over when we’re actually going to be back and the obvious conclusion is teams are going to struggle. That’s inevitable when there is no cash coming in.

“With wages still to be paid, clubs are going to struggle on that front. I think the most important thing is that everybody appreciates how challenging it is.”

As such, season tickets could prove a pivotal source of income.

REMARKABLE

Despite no clarity regarding when the next campaign will actually start, the capital club were willing to bite the bullet and put them on sale yesterday.

And Gray admits he was humbled when he glanced ta social media and saw the amount of punters willing to put their hand in their pocket during such trying circumstances.

“It’s remarkable and the season ticket support has been phenomenal over recent years,” continued Gray. “It’s a difficult one to pitch to fans, especially in such challenging times.

“It’s a lot to be asking people to put their hand in their pocket and spend money on a season ticket.

“But, at the same time, they appreciate that we’re all in it together – and the football club needs to try to bring some cash in as well. It’s a balancing act.”

David Gray was speaking as Hibernian launched their season tickets for the next season. You can find out more at seasontickets.hibernianfc.org.uk

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