The Hibs Club today hosted a meeting with representatives of 16 supporters groups followed by a press conference.
Groups in attendance included representatives of branches of The Hibs Club, trustees of The Hibs Club, members of the Let’s Work Together/Working Together group, members of the Hibernian FC Former Player’s Association, representatives of fan websites and other relevant groups.
Before the press conference began former Hibs player Paul Kane addressed the fans. He began by outlining what had happened during the meeting with Hibernian Football Club yesterday:
- Paul Kane, Mike Riley (Chairman of The Hibs Club), Kenny McLean Jnr and Simon Pia met with Rod Petrie, Hibernian FC director Bruce Langham and David Forsyth of Benchmark PR yesterday.
- At the meeting Rod Petrie was asked whether he would tender his resignation. Mr Petrie advised that he had no intention of resigning his position.
- A note of the meeting was taken and will be made available. The supporters representatives had requested that the meeting be recorded to ensure full transparency. The representatives of Hibernian Football Club turned down this request.
Paul then turned to the next steps and proposed:
- A concerted campaign to remove Mr Petrie from his position at Hibernian Football Club.
- The campaign must have a mandate and the backing of the supporter’s representatives in attendance was essential.
This was backed unanimously.
- There would be no calls for boycotts of season tickets and this was not threatened at yesterday’s meeting with Hibernian – any fan choosing not to renew season tickets would be making an individual choice.
- Paul Kane would act as spokesperson for the campaign to ensure a consistency of message – but would only do so with the backing of the fans.
- Unity as supporters is essential – there was a strong feeling that yesterday’s statement from Hibs had been an attempt to “divide and conquer.” This could not be allowed to happen.
- Representatives of various fans groups are meeting with Leeann Dempster on Saturday 7th June. It was proposed that a demonstration would be held outside Easter Road to coincide with this meeting.
This was backed unanimously.
The Chairman of the St Patrick’s Branch Hibs Supporters Club raised concerns over communication to the various fans groups over the last few days.
Paul accepted this. Regular meetings will be held and the campaign will be open and transparent. That is the only way to ensure the required unity across all groups.
Fans then joined the representatives of various media outlets.
Mike Riley, Paul Kane and Kenny McLean Jnr made statements.
- There had been a feeling among various supporters that the time was coming to act for the good of the football club for some time. That had been quickened by the events of recent weeks and the devastating blow of relegation.
- Mike reiterated the feeling that yesterday’s statement from Hibs proved that the football club’s tactic would be to try and splinter the support. With Paul Kane acting as spokesperson and representing the fans groups that won’t be allowed to happen.
Kenny McLean Jnr
- Delighted to be joined by so many fans of all ages.
- The meeting with Hibs was cordial but the point was simple. Mr Petrie was asked if he would resign and the answer was categorically no.
- Kenny’s father’s work with ‘Hands off Hibs’ proved what the passion and drive of supporters can achieve.
- Pat Stanton had been in contact this morning to offer his 100% backing to the campaign.
- Kenny read a statement from Hibs in 2008 in which Mr Petrie promised a football club that would compete in the upper echelons of Scottish football, regularly appear in European competitions and have the infrastructure required to deliver entertaining football while enjoying long term security. No supporters need reminded of the performances and results we have endured since those promises were made.
- The campaign was focused on removing Rod Petrie. Fans would never be asked to starve the football club – rather Mr Petrie has starved the football club of its heart, its soul and its success and now its status as a Premiership team.
- Hibs must make their way back to the upper echelons of Scottish football – the campaign was the start of ensuring that would happen.
- We welcome Leeann Dempster – but her arrival can only be a positive if it coincides with Rod Petrie leaving the club.
- This is not an ego trip for individuals. It is about representing the fans and ensuring Hibs can recover.
- Hibernian Football Club is a great club, with great supporters. Rod Petrie has been the main cause of its demise.
- Recovering won’t be easy but this campaign is simple: Petrie Out. That is the only way to remove the biggest obstacle on the road to our recovery.
- By refusing to resign Rod Petrie has forced the fans hands and the majority now feel they must act to ensure he leaves.
- The campaign is solely focused on the Rod Petrie’s failings at the football club and will be conducted with dignity – these are not personal attacks and the campaign will not attack Sir Tom Farmer.
- Many have feared the worst for some time but relegation has been a wake up call for all those that love the club.
- The Hibs support are fantastic and this campaign is about the Hibs family coming together in a show of unity. The football club might try to splinter that so fans must stick together.
- As spokesperson Paul will act on the wishes of supporters and raise questions suggested by the fans.
- There was no suggestion of a season ticket boycott at yesterday’s meeting with the football club – again, this is down to individual choice and definitely not a tactic of the Petrie Out campaign.
- Leeann Dempster will be welcomed by the Hibs support like we welcome everyone to the football club. However her work will be compromised if Rod Petrie retains any influence – this would simply repeat the pattern that was established when Scott Lindsay and Fyfe Hyland were chief executive and managing director.
- The demonstration at Easter Road will show the passion and spirit of the supporters, the support is the lifeblood of the club and their voices deserve to be heard.
Various supporters then spoke, all of them reiterating the need for Rod Petrie to be resign his position and pointing to the strength supporters have as the soul of the football club.
To get in touch with the Petrie Out campaign contact The Hibs Club and we’ll ensure your messages are passed on to Paul Kane.