Ron Gordon admits Hibs relegation ‘fears’ were driving force behind Shaun Maloney sacking

Hibs owner Ron Gordon admitted that the slump into the bottom six and the specter of relegation was one of the driving forces behind the shock decision to ax Shaun Maloney after just 19 games.

And he has vowed to give the next Easter Road gaffer much more time to turn around the fortunes of the Leith club.

The Stateside-based executive chairman has taken responsibility for the ‘risky’ appointment of rookie manager Maloney, who was axed on Tuesday after only four months in the dugout.

And Gordon admitted that memories of going down under Terry Butcher in 2014 played its part in the decision to get rid of the manager so early in his tenure.

The 71-year-old said: “There was a general feeling on the board that it was the right time for us to make a decisive change.

“We have been having conversations over the last month or so, looking at the trend of the club and where we were going as a football team.

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“Those are all the conversations that we had and the board was very decisive in its view that we needed to make the change. That gave us the best possibility of turning things around and moving in the right direction for a variety of reasons.

“We have five important games coming up and we wanted to make sure we were in the best position to tackle that.

“There was just no improvement week-to-week and a very definitive feeling that we needed to make the change.

‘We took a risk in terms of bringing Shaun in and I have to take full responsibility for that.

“It was an exciting risk but it didn’t pan out.”

Asked if he feared Hibs could have ended up in the relegation play-off spot if action had not been taken, Gordon replied: “That’s always a fear, right? And it is.

“We don’t visualize it that way, but it’s always a possibility.

“I don’t anticipate us being there but the board thought it was a good time to make the change and position us differently for the next five games, which are important. Those are critical games, so we need to perform.

“Somebody brought up the Terry Butcher situation from before my time. We were looking to win one game to avoid relegation and didn’t get around to doing that.

“There are some lessons to be learned, to be honest with you, big lessons.

“The next appointment will have a commitment to continuity and long term. We will work very closely to make sure we provide the support that he needs and to succeed.

“But we need to see the progress, obviously.

“But we will be very committed to finding a longer tenured appointment.

“I still believe Hibs is a phenomenal opportunity for the right manager. It’s a club committed to succeeding and the right manager will see it’s a great club with an infrastructure that can deliver high end performance. But we need stability.

“The one thing I am disappointed with is that we have not got the football management right and we’ve made too many changes. I wish we had not had to make the changes we’ve made.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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