The Hibs Club has watched events in Scottish football this summer with increasing concern:
For Hibs and their fans this summer should have been solely about a much needed rebuilding process.
Instead we have watched with increasing concern as the whole Scottish game has been tarnished by the financial collapse of Rangers.
As Hibs fans we know only too well how men concerned more with profiteering than the wishes of fans can risk the very existence of a football club.
So it is with increasing dismay that we have watched Scottish football tear itself apart in its attempts to protect a business model that operates more for the benefit of TV executives than ordinary supporters.
We believe that the new Rangers – if they can satisfy the usual standards demanded for SFA membership – should start out again in the Third Division.
We welcomed the “no” vote passed by the SPL, including our own club, but we have watched with dismay as the SPL clubs have stood silently on the sidelines as their own Chief Executive – with the help and approval of a now entirely discredited SFA – has tried to bully and threaten lower division clubs into submission.
Not only do we find the tactics used by Neil Doncaster and Stewart Regan abhorrent, we also take issue with the doomsday scenarios they have offered as evidence.
While TV money and corporate sponsorship are undoubtedly important we do not believe that all of them would vanish if the Rangers newco was not guaranteed a place in the SPL within 12 months.
We would also argue that additional benefits – including a return to more regular 3pm Saturday kick off times – would offset some of the lost revenue.
This, however, is an issue that should go beyond finances.
It is essential that Hibernian – like all clubs – are part of a fair and equitable league structure with governing bodies that are consistent and reasonable in their treatment of all clubs.
We do not believe that is currently the case and we would call on all SPL clubs – including our own – to urgently address the damage being done to the game by Neil Doncaster and Stewart Regan.
We have long felt that reconstruction of the league structure was a critical factor in strengthening the Scottish game.
The proposals that are currently being discussed destroy the prospect of a strong Scottish game and are aimed solely at rebuilding a strong Rangers.
These attempts at craven gerrymandering for the sake of one club are an affront to all the commitments to “sporting integrity” we have heard over the last few months.
Many Hibernian fans feel cheated. While the financial sacrifices made at Easter Road have not always found favour with many of our fans we do appreciate that these decisions have been made in the interests of long term stability.
We now find our voices ignored as rules are broken or rewritten to favour a club that has spent money it could not afford to buy success.
It is heartbreaking for us to hear members speak of not going back to Easter Road or of turning their back on the Scottish national team.
These are not hollow threats. They are a symptom of the disillusionment many fans feel at a game that seems to constantly betray its paying customers.
While we have sympathy for ordinary Rangers fans left bewildered by current events we have also been saddened over the last few months to hear Ally McCoist attempt to destroy a disciplinary process that had been created to help move the game forward.
Other comments from high profile Rangers figures such as Sandy Jardine have seemed to be nothing more than vindictive threats against other clubs. These have left us shocked and angered.
Now we find ourselves in the unacceptable position of watching Charles Green attempt to sign players while footballing debts to other clubs – debts that are as important as any projected TV or sponsorship income – remain unpaid.
Yet this apparent lack of contrition is being ignored as the Scottish football authorities unite to do what they feel is best for just one club.
We would hope that the European and global footballing authorities are watching these developments with interest and will move to censure the Scottish governing bodies.
Hibernian Football Club is our passion. We want to see a strong Hibs on the pitch and off the pitch. We want to see a sustainable Hibernian at the heart of our community.
22 years ago we united as fans to save Hibernian.
Today we find ourselves united in calling for Scottish football to end the current uncertainty, withdraw the the current campaign of bullying and threats aimed at our friends in the Scottish Football League and allow Rangers to rebuild their devastated club from the Third Division.
Fans of other clubs have been accused of “hating” Rangers.
We are defined not by hatred of any club but by our love of Hibernian.
A strong Hibernian in a strong Scottish game will forever be our one and only aim.
A few men motivated by greed and money currently risk that vision.
Fans of Hibernian and every other club cannot stand silently by and let that happen.