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Hibernian Board Statement

By Alan Turnbull
May 1 2003

The Board of Hibernian Football club have released a statement regarding the future of certain playrs within the club as to their future. The full statement can be has been posted on this site TAKEN FROM THE OFFICIAL HIBS CLUB SITE Hibernian FC today issued a statement for supporters seeking to clarify the situation regarding the player pool at Easter Road. The statement follows reports in the media speculating as to the future of several players. The Club wishes to make it clear to supporters that, while costs are being reduced to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Football Club, the player pool budget for next year will ensure that Hibernian FC will compete in the market for players with other Scottish Clubs outwith the Old Firm. Managing Director Rod Petrie said: "Along with other clubs, Hibernian is seeking to reduce costs following the collapse of significant areas of revenue, most notably TV. The Club needs to reduce costs to bring them into line with our reduced income. " That means that the Manager, Bobby Williamson, has less money available to him than was available two or three years ago. Bobby knew that cost reductions were required when he joined us last year and he is aware of the budget available to him for next Season. Bobby also knows that our budget is competitive when compared to the player pool budgets of other Scottish Premier League Clubs. We remain committed to seeking success on the pitch for Hibernian. To suggest otherwise is not correct. " Bobby has been working hard for some time to identify potential signing targets that can add to the strength of our playing squad within our budget. The bottom line is that supporters can expect the Manager to bring several new faces to Easter Road for next season." Bobby Williamson added: " Every Manager would like to have a bigger budget, but I understand the situation that the Club faces and that it is no different from every other Club in Scotland. Everybody, even the Old Firm, is having to reduce the costs of the player pool. That means we need to see a couple of faces leave before we see new faces arrive. " I am looking at a number of players I believe could add to the quality and strength of our squad and who I believe will help achieve greater success where fans want to see it, on the pitch." A total of nine first team pool players are out of contract at the end of this Season. The Manager added: " Some of these guys have three or four games left to convince me that they deserve another contract, and we will see how they react." Press reports have centred on players still under contract, in particular Club Captain John O'Neil. The Manager said: "John and his agent have been given permission to speak to other Clubs. In an ideal world, I would like to keep John at Easter Road but he is a high earner, and I have to decide how the player pool budget can be best used. These are the difficult decisions a Manager has to make. "Freddie Arpinon has been told he can look for another Club and Derek Townsley has been told he will not be given a new contract offer." Rod Petrie added: " The Club has made no secret of the need to reduce costs across the spectrum of our activities. Major reductions have already happened in every other area of activity, and we now require to reduce the cost of our player pool, which is by far the highest area of our expenditure. " The market in football has changed, and even quality players know they can no longer command the high level of earnings that they did two or three years ago. This is not some effort to squeeze players - it is simply that Clubs cannot afford it." The Club has been monitoring the progress of a number of signing targets both in England and overseas in recent weeks. Once deals are completed, announcements will be made. The nine out of contract players are Alan Dempsie, Paul Hilland, Craig James, Gary Smith, Mathias Kouo-Doumbe, Mathias Jack, Janos Matyus, Mixu Paatelainen and Derek Townsley. In addition to O'Neil and Arpinon, three further players who are in the final year of their contracts have also had discussions with the Club regarding their futures. These players are Grant Brebner, Jarkko Wiss and Nick Colgan. These talks continue.

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