Wednesday, July 09, 2014

2014 World Cup: Van Gaal thrives as Oranje charge

Germany's Joachim Löw characterised last night's semi final as a "battle of the continents." Europe 7. South America 1.

Tonight it's time for round two. Argentina v the Netherlands. It will take a stunning performance from one of them to dislodge Germany as tournament favourites on betfair.com.

Argentina will, once again, rely on the genius of Messi. The Dutch will look to Arjen Robben and hope Robin van Persie's guts have cleared up.

And they'll also look to the touchline, seeking inspiration from Louis van Gaal. It's safe to assume that he'd have it no other way.

After the understated (maybe overwhelmed) approach of David Moyes, his successor at Manchester United is unlikely to be blown off course by a lack of confidence.

The stories of Van Gaal's often unconventional methods abound, the managerial heavyweight literally prepared to show his players that he's got the balls for the job.

Yet when he was announced as Manchester United manager a feeling persisted that this might be a fading superstar, still capable of talking the talk but with the true glory days left behind, now just statistics in the record books.

Intentionally or not, Van Gaal has spent the last few weeks in Brazil roaring against that theory.

There was the demolition that dethroned Spain in just the third game of the tournament. There was the water break tactical switch against Mexico that left him telling reporters that "this manager wanted to win."

And then on Saturday night the brinkmanship of replacing his goalkeeper just before the end of extra time.

The drama and sense of timing meant it must have appeared to some Costa Ricans that Tim Krul wasn't just a fine goalkeeper but also a penalty saving Superman who could read their thoughts.

A gamble but a calculated one. Krul confident that his manager needed him and believed in him. The Costa Ricans left wondering what the hell was going on. The manager got his calculations right. When a gamble pays off people forget what the original risk was.

Adaptable. Ready to spring a surprise or two. And absolutely comfortable in the cult of the manager. Throughout the tournament - perhaps to shield his players, perhaps through narcissism - he has in fact tossed the press line after line to help write the cult of Louis van Gaal.

Whatever happens tonight, the Dutch have made the final weekend of the World Cup. There were concerns that such protracted engagement in Brazil might work against Van Gaal making the quick impact at Old Trafford that Manchester United to make up the ground lost during the non-season they endured under Moyes.

Yet such has been his appetite for the fray, it seems that United will now welcome a manager rejoicing in his own ability and apparently ready to find a way past any obstacles in his way.

Louis van Gaal might not win the World Cup. But few managers will have ever found a month of tournament competition such a rejuvenating experience.


2014 World Cup: German brilliance shatters Brazil

Any team shipping seven goals in a World Cup is unusual.

Brazil shipping seven goals in a World Cup semi final?

In Brazil?

Astonishing, shocking, unbelievable. But real. A dream destroyed in Belo Horizonte as the world watched.

We knew this Brazilian team had its limitations. Limitations that made this an unfortunate Seleção vintage with which to hunt down the ghosts of the 1950 World Cup final.

And we knew that this was a richly talented Germany.

We couldn't have imagined that Brazil's deficiencies would be so ruthlessly exposed, that Germany's superiority would be so utterly complete.

Thomas Müller being left unmarked for the opening goal seemed to amplify Brazil's failings and fortify Germany's superiority. A perfect storm stirring up the almighty mismatch that followed.

A record semi final defeat. A record defeat for a host nation at the World Cup. A record defeat for Brazil. A first competitive defeat at home since 1975.

Because this is Brazil, because this is Brazil's World Cup, it's inevitable that even in defeat they remain central to the narrative.

We shouldn't let that detract from Germany's achievement. They saw weakness and set about dismantling the most successful national team in history.

They did it brilliantly, thrillingly. 7-1. And it could have been more.

It's Joachim Löw who takes his side into Sunday night's final. At 7-0 I felt his main challenge might be getting his players to forget the semi final and focus on Sunday evening. Then Brazil scored and the German players raged at themselves for conceding.

This is a team determined to meet its own high standards. The goal, maybe the most futile ever scored in a World Cup finals, robbed them of the perfect performance and that was, however briefly, intolerable for them.

And what now for Brazil? First, the huge anti-climax of Saturday's third place play-off.

And then the inquests, inquiries, recriminations, blame and villains.

A country that pimped itself out to Sepp Blatter's FIFA for the chance to announce its arrival as a global power. Let down by the very export that sustained its global profile for decades before its economic emergence.

It will be interesting to see if anti-World Cup protests gather pace in the next few days. Interesting too to see how a country that doesn't do footballing humiliation raises itself for the Olympics in two years. Brazil's politicians got what they wanted - the world came to Brazil.

The football team being found wanting in such staggering style was never part of the plan. Spending $11 billion has been an expensive way to find out that their footballing powers have, for now, deserted them.

Modern football's marketing machine demands that we treat almost every game, every goal, every transfer, every bite as an incident of historical significance.

That is, of course, bollocks. But last night felt like it could have been football's first "I remember where I was..." moment of the internet age. The sort of game, the sort of result, that will be passed down the generations.

Like Real Madrid at Hampden in 1960. Like Brazil's win over Italy in the 1970 World Cup final.

And like Uruguay's win over Brazil in the 1950 World Cup final.

Brazil set out to right the wrongs of 64 years of hurt. They ended up as little more than helpless incompetents as Germany wrote another chapter of football history.

And finally...


A fantastic quirk of scheduling on BBC 2 England after the game:

World Cup TV listing, the Scottish Football Blog




Friday, July 04, 2014

Going for Gauld

Losing a young talent from the Scottish game is not normally a reason for rejoicing.

But Ryan Gauld's decision to leave Dundee United for Sporting Lisbon is surely an exceptional case.

Not for Gauld the well worn path of the lower reaches of the English Premier League or the English Championship.

And not for Gauld the irresistible lure of Glasgow.

Instead he gets the chance to further develop his already abundant skills in a completely different football environment.

It's a strangely expansive choice from a Scottish youngster and an entirely refreshing one.

The road to superstardom is rarely smooth. If he was a reality TV contestant Gauld would acknowledge this as being nothing more than the start of his journey.

But if that journey is successful his stay in Portugal could bring huge benefits to a national side that is already improving under Gordon Strachan.

A huge opportunity for Gauld himself, a potentially huge bonus for Scotland and, for Dundee United, a multi-million pound windfall and vindication that their youth policy can deliver huge dividends.

If this transfer is unlikely to become a template that all Scottish youngster will aspire to, it should at least act as inspiration for other clubs to strain every muscle into developing youngsters with the technical gifts to interest clubs across Europe. And, as an added bonus, that means they'll also be developing youngsters with the market value to make our clubs far more sustainable.

From a youngster overcoming the narrow horizons of so many of his predecessors to a Scottish club enjoying a whopping win in Europe.

Last night Aberdeen overcame the usual Scottish angst of an early start to European qualifying by knocking five goals past Latvia's Daugava Riga in front of over 15,000 fans at Pittodrie.

With the Latvian league well underway and the Scottish Premiership over a month from kick off the normal excuses for underperforming were in place.

Aberdeen ignored them with some style.

The second leg should be a formality but will hopefully allow Derek McInnes to build up even more momentum before a clash with FC Groningen in the next qualifying round.

The World Cup might be going on without us. We might have lost one of our most talented young players to a foreign league.

But the last few days have given Scottish football at least a couple of reasons to be cheerful.

Small steps for sure. But maybe, just maybe the "New Firm" are ready to breathe life into the game again.

It might not be long before we're partying like its 1983.


2014 World Cup: Welcome back

There was a moment, a fleeting moment, after Belgium v USA.

Just a moment when I thought, "know what, a couple of days off might be just what I need."

Somehow Belgium and the United States turned the final last 16 game into an exhilarating, exhausting delight.

Fantastic to watch. But even neutrals like me were left knackered by the relentless commitment of it all.

Had the second stage matches lost a little of the steam that Brazil 2014 had been building from almost the first kick of the ball?

Certainly the goal average dropped. And while some of the games were tight, the eagle-eyed punter on www.sportsbettinginfo.com will have noted that form asserted itself - all the group winners progressed to the quarter finals for the first time since the advent of a 32 team tournament.

And yet. There at the last Belgium and the US were battering each other with any and every ounce of energy they had. Tim Howard making more saves that any other World Cup goalkeeper. The US pulling a reverse Alamo on the Belgian goal in a riveting but ultimately futile second half of extra time.

So I felt like I needed a break. A feeling that lasted right through until I woke up on Wednesday and mournfully realised the next match was more than 48 hours away.

2014 World Cup, the Scottish Football Blog











The wait's almost over though. And it looks like being worth it.

France v Germany.

Brazil v Colombia.

Didier Deschamps v Joachim Low.

Neymar v James Rodríguez.

Few people would think you daft if you said the winner of either of these games could win the tournament. But I'd defy you to predict who that might be with any confidence.

Colombia have impressed but they've impressed so far in games that don't carry the same pressure that will come with playing Brazil in Brazil during a World Cup.

And Brazil have kept finding ways to win despite being under the constant pressure of being Brazil at a World Cup held in Brazil.

France, with the hissy fit, toys out of the pram nonsense of 2010 long behind them, have progressed pretty serenely. 10 goals scored and just two conceded in four games.

Germany have scored nine and conceded three. But they needed extra time to find a way past Algeria and are now contending with an outbreak of 'flu.

Brazil, of course, remain favourites to overcome Colombia and to lift the trophy.

But I'm as gloriously confused as I have been since the start.

Will Neymar, home advantage and a determination to believe in destiny be enough for Brazil?

Perhaps. Perhaps not. Colombia have often looked inspired as a team. James Rodriguez has rarely looked anything else. The current top scorer against the current favourites.

The natural narrative still suggests this is a World Cup for Brazil to win. But tonight we'll see three other teams with their own destiny to believe in.

It's tome to be amazed, enthralled and knackered all over again.


Friday, June 20, 2014

2014 World Cup: Goals, despair, joy and even more goals

Eight days. 23 games. 66 goals.

So far this has been a World Cup to savour.

There’s been the odd disappointing game. That’s football. But there’s also been just about everything else you could want from a World Cup.

And, so far, no clear indication of where the winners will come from. Take a look at bestbettingwebsites.com and you'll find great deals - but no clear contenders looking certain claim the trophy.

The champions humbled and sent home to think again. The Netherlands imperious against Spain and then almost tripped up by Australia.

Goals, scrappy goals, tap-ins, spectacular goals. Goals.

Goalkeeping errors, refereeing errors. Goalline technology and commentators spontaneously combusting.

Messi scoring but apparently still disappointing many of those who expect nothing but brilliance. Ronaldo a passenger as Germany thrashed Portugal.

Wayne Rooney finally getting that World Cup goal. An ultimately futile goal. Futile not because Rooney was playing left or centre, past his best or because his is another tale of unfulfilled potential. Rooney was the story but never England’s main problem. Uruguay knew that. Luis Suarez took full advantage.

Brazil entered the fray carrying the baggage of 1950 and the baggage of a fractious build up, counting the cost of paying big bucks to give FIFA the run of your country.

A nation reliant on a team doing well. A team reliant on Neymar doing well. A 3-1 win over Croatia looked generous. A scoreless draw with Mexico looked laboured.

A World Cup in Brazil seems to have inspired many to commit to attack and turn their back on caginess. Could it be that the weight of expectation will prevent Brazil themselves from doing the same?

Or are the hosts, like Spain and England, simply not equipped to perform at this World Cup. Suddenly the standard bearers for Spain’s cherished continuity looked to be shown up as tired old men.

England arrived without the attacking thrust needed to cover for their deficiencies in defence and in defensive midfield. 2-1, 2-1 was the inevitable conclusion.

And Neymar seemed strangely isolated against Mexico, Brazil’s midfield struggling, Fred only rarely conceding that breaking into something more than a jog might give his side more of an attacking focal point.

At times against Spain the Netherlands looked irresistible. At times against Australia they looked vulnerable.

Germany stomped past Portugal but need other tests to prove their mettle. Argentina have a win and they have Messi. Do they need more than that.

And the winner is...


So who will it be?

Checking my own World Cup predictions I see my four semi finalists listed as:

  • Spain
  • Brazil
  • Portugal
  • Argentina

One defintely won’t be there. Portugal probably won’t be there. And right now I’d be surprised if both Brazil and Argentina make it.

If not them who?

The Netherlands and Chile have the luxury of qualifying from what looked like this year’s Group of Death with a game to spare. But one of them will face - barring a Monday night shock in Group A - face Brazil.

Italy will look to close out Group D, perhaps flinging England an unlikely lifeline in the process, and - if Colombia close out Group C - back themselves against Ivory Coast, Japan or Greece.

Colombia against Uruguay - if they capture second place behind Italy - could be a cracker but Uruguay need to prove they are not too reliant on the goals of Suarez.

Just one game into their tournament and Germany’s progress through Group G looks assured - and on the evidence of the opening games they’ll be relatively untroubled by the prospect of facing a Group H team in the last 16.

France and Switzerland meet tonight - if that game dictates the winner of Group E it’s likely also to decide who faces Argentina in the last 16.

Suarez completing the journey from operating theatre to hammer of England is maybe the most predictable to happen at this World Cup.
Few saw the total collapse of Spanish hegemony coming. The glut of goals has been a pleasant but unexpected surprise.

And the more unpredictable the tournament is, the more open it becomes. Long may that continue. But I might need to invest a little something in Germany, just to be on the safe side.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hibs: What's next?

Back in March as I considered Terry Butcher’s impact at Hibs for Norway's pre-eminent Hibernian fanzine, I wrote that, were the unthinkable relegation to happen, I'd:

“Go down to North Berwick and cast him adrift off the Bass Rock myself.”

At the time I thought he’d avoid relegation. I was wrong.

And now he has been cast adrift. He might not be floating off the Fife coast but Butcher has gone. The latest in a long line of Hibs managers to hurry or be harried to the exit door with unseemly haste.

It was hard to see how he could survive. Relegation is bad enough but the nature of this relegation, that awful run of form, the failure of everything Butcher tried, made it even worse. This wasn't a plucky manager inspiring a struggling team as they narrowly failed to pull off a great escape.

This was a manager of a team that was limited but apparently safe. A manager tunnelling that team right back into the heart of trouble.

Would Pat Fenlon have kept Hibs up? On the evidence his part season he would have. On the evidence of all his time in charge it's a moot point, Fenlon would in all likelihood have run into another dip in form and Rod Petrie would have let him go before he got the chance to preside over a run as calamitous as Butcher's. For all that his recent interviews have suggested Fenlon feels somewhat vindicated, he would probably also admit that he was running out of lives at Hibs.

So Fenlon went and Butcher arrived. And shortly after beating Hearts at the start of the year it went horribly wrong. So horribly wrong that Raith Rovers have enjoyed as many victories at Easter Road as Hibs have in 2014. It feels like achieving that sort of statistical anomaly is so difficult as to be almost impressive.

Butcher’s experience at Inverness - down, straight back up and consolidated in the Premiership - looked to be his trump card in the fight to keep his job. On the other hand he wasn't brought to Hibs to battle his way into and then out of the Championship.

Terry Butcher was a wretched manager for Hibs. That's the succinct story of his time at Easter Road. His impact might be long remembered but there won't be much fondness. Talking the talk, he looked like someone who could galvanise a club that seems to drift rather than plan, panic rather than strategise. He failed at almost every turn.

Yesterday he paid the price.

But, if form dictated that this was the most justified of any of the multitude of Easter Road dismissals, Hibs now stand at another crossroads. And don't, as yet, give much impression of knowing where they're going. They've lost their Premiership status, they've lost their manager and you do wonder if they've also lost the plot.

14 players have been shipped out since relegation. Others look like following.

Pre-season training is just weeks away.

Season ticket sales have slowed.

Not enough players, no manager, reduced funds and the added cost of the Butcher experiment going haywire.

The malaise is amplified by the ongoing desire to see the back of Rod Petrie, a campaign that seems to have struck a chord with a hefty enough chunk of the support.

While many among the Petrie Out camp will be glad to see the back of Terry Butcher they'll also have noted that Rod Petrie's name cropped up in yesterday's statement from the club.

Does Rod Petrie’s non-involvement, the stepping back from the front line that has been promised in this latest summer of change, actually involve Rod being somewhat involved after all?

Did Rod simply let Terry Butcher have the awkward conversations with the departing players then let new chief executive Leeann Dempster have the awkward conversation with the departing Terry Butcher without ever planning to relinquish that much control?

Everything about Rod Petrie these days is open to interpretation and conjecture. And most of the conclusions aren't that charitable. At best he's now a distraction that Hibs could do without. Terry Butcher has to be his last expensive mistake.

The feeling within Easter Road might have been that sacking Butcher two weeks on from relegation would be a way of lancing the boil, letting some of the vitriol aimed at Petrie drain away.

If that was the plan, I’m not so sure it’s going to work.

Yesterday Leeann Dempster gave the impression of being unhurried in both the decision to dismiss Butcher and in the hunt for his successor. You have to hope she was bluffing.

I’d like to think work has being going on behind the scenes, the sort of work that could see a new manager unveiled by the end of the week. A new non-executive chairman would also be a boost and, at the very least, remove Rod Petrie from the public eye.

Then Leeann Dempster and her new appointment need to offer a coherent and cohesive long term plan while bringing in players as quickly as possible.

That’s a hell of a job. Getting it right could offer a new dawn. Get it wrong and Hibs will continue to stumble around in the darkness.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Missing Brazil but looking forward to Euro 2016

After failing to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil, the focus for Scotland is to build a team that could make the finals of Euro 2016 in France.

With results continuing to improve, manager Gordon Strachan will be using a relatively young squad as he aims to make it through qualification for the major tournament.

Leigh Griffiths is a player who can really shine for the team ahead of 2016. The Celtic striker moved to the Scottish Premier League from Wolves earlier this year and since then has done well in the top flight in Scotland.

If he can transfer his club form where he scored seven goals in 14 games - and stay clear of off field distractions - he could find himself as a regular starter and finish the qualifying campaign as their top goalscorer which can be backed with Betfair.

Ross McCormack has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs this summer. The Leeds forward is now a regular for Scotland and will feature throughout the qualifying campaign. He is usually popular in the first goalscorer market at Betfair.

McCormack made his debut for his country in 2008 but struggled to hold his place in the squad. As soon as Strachan was appointed as Scotland manager, he recalled 27-year old back and has been a regular ever since.

Scotland Euro 2016, the Scottish Football Blog
Strachan will also be hoping the experience of Steven Naismith will be beneficial as Scotland look to qualify for France. The former Rangers player has been at Everton since 2012 and was part of the Toffees side which just fell short of the Champions League last season.

Naismith currently has three international goals to his name. His first came against Spain in 2010, while more recently he has also found the back of the net against Lithuania and Croatia to reward backers with Betfair.

In midfield, Scott Brown still has an important role to play. He is one of the most experienced players in the squad and will captain the side once again in Euro 2016 qualification.
Brown helped Celtic win their third straight SPL title last season. They are favourites with Betfair to make it four leagues on the spin in their next campaign.

The centre of defence has become something of a problem position for Strachan and Grant Hanley is likely to be given a chance to shine, despite the fact he is still relatively inexperienced at international level. The 22-year old has 13 caps to his name and did play English Premier League football for Blackburn between 2009 and 2012.


Saturday, June 07, 2014

Hibs: 10 reasons for supporting Petrie Out

It's not unknown for me to shout at the world on Twitter.

Sometimes people shout back. @AberdeenFCBlog1 did this week, showing off Aberdeen's top ten moments of the season.

"That's a good idea," I thought.

"I'll do a top ten moments of the season list for Hibs."

And here it is.

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
...

I could go on but you get the idea. (With apologies to Len Shackleton.)

If Easter Road's recent history has been one of gradual decline, 2014 has been the year of total collapse.

When you spend season after season stumbling about in the bottom six there is always a risk that you'll eventually end up falling through the trapdoor. And Hibs did.

Frankly I've found it all more depressing than is probably healthy.

Rod Petrie, the Scottish Football Blog
And in the interests of full disclosure...
Usually I prefer armchair activism. Protesting looks to involve too much effort or just too much standing about.

And, as a moaner, there's always the temptation to avoid agitating for change because of the satisfaction to be had from moaning about the consequences of the status quo.

But this week I've been warming up my placard carrying arm, resting my vocal chords and waking my militant tendencies from hibernation.

So this morning, when I should be sitting in front of the TV finding out if James Martin's c-list celebrity guest is facing food heaven or food hell, I'll be going to Easter Road to join the protest against Rod Petrie.

And, in the spirit of top ten lists, here's why:

1. The obvious

Hibs got relegated on Rod Petrie's watch. And not for the first time.

This could really be reasons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.

How did that happen? We had a trophy, we had a training centre, we had a new stand. We had a leader in the boardroom who could turn promising youngsters into balance sheet boosting assets.

What went wrong? Bad decision followed bad decision. Dischord grew unchecked. The man who made a mint on the golden generation suddenly found himself paying off more players than he sold.

The leadership failed and the failure infected the whole club. The endgame was 120 minutes and penalties against Hamilton.

2. The guilt

Since Hibs got relegated Rod Petrie has made no concessions about his part in the fiasco - Leeann Dempster's arrival has been trumpeted but we already knew that was happening.

The last time Hibs got relegated Lex Gold resigned as chairman, thinking it the honourable thing to do.

Lex Gold. A man who many people think would be kicked out of the snake oil salesman's union for being just that bit too sneaky.

Lex Gold. Looking down on Rod Petrie from the moral high ground.

3. The positive

Leeann Dempster's arrival is A Good Thing.

She doesn't need Rod Petrie showing her the ropes.

In fact, for the winds of change to properly blast through Easter Road, her job will be easier if Rod Petrie isn't there. Staff will be free to tell her how the ancien régime failed without fear or favour.

4. The alternative

I wouldn't withdraw my financial support from Hibs. Going to the games, meeting mates before, during and after the games. That's part of my life.

I wouldn't want to change it, despite the horrendous football I have to endure.

Protesting today seem to be a less destructive way of getting my point across than giving up my season ticket.

5. The divide

For years now Hibs have availed themselves of the services of David Forsyth from Benchmark PR. 
Is his role to promote the benefit of Petrie-ism? Tache-ism's spin doctor in chief?
Is his role to build a better relationship between the club and the fans? 
Maybe it's both. But whatever way you look at it he's failed.

Rod Petrie is held in disdain by many. The divide between the club and the fans and the wider community is huge and growing. 
Today the fans will be able to show Leeann Dempster how deeply they care about Hibs. It won't help her if Rod Petrie and his hired buffer stand in the way of her harnessing that passion.

6. The legend

Pat Stanton is backing the protest. That's pretty much good enough for me.

Speak to Pat Stanton for five minutes.

Then speak to Rod Petrie for five minutes.

Only one of them truly understands what Hibs were, what Hibs are and what Hibs could be again.

7. The conduit

Rod Petrie has a stake in Hibs and/or the mishmash of holding companies that sit above the football club. Sir Tom Farmer owns a bigger stake.

Sir Tom needs Rod Petrie as a "conduit"?

Why?

Could a respected figure not be found to take over as chairman of the football club and act as a "conduit" for both Sir Tom and Rod Petrie?

If Rod Petrie isn't actively involved then he can get his information the same way Sir Tom Farmer gets his information.

8. The tipping point

Prime Ministers often lose cabinet minister because they've done something really stupid or really wrong. 
But sometimes they lose cabinet ministers simply because the public perception is that they've done something really stupid or really wrong. When that happens the cabinet minister becomes a liability and the situation becomes irreparable. 
That is now the relationship between Rod Petrie and large sections of the Hibs support.

Whether you believe he is wholly culpable, partially culpable or not culpable at all (I'd go for greatly culpable) the reality is that he isn't trusted and he won't be trusted again.

Rod Petrie apologises for the situation Hibs find themselves in? Who cares, he's said sorry before. Doesn't change anything. 
Rod Petrie is stepping back from day-to-day involvement? Who cares, he's said he's stepping back before. Doesn't change anything. 
Rod Petrie promises Hibs will improve? Who cares, he's said Hibs will improve before. We got worse. 
As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Rod Petrie is now a toxic brand. 
For the good of the club - and for the good of his stake in the club - he has to remove himself and allow the rebuilding process to begin without him.

9. The passion

Why are the organisers of today's rally doing it? 
Ego? Self-interest? A basic lack of other activities with which to keep themselves occupied? Because they genuinely love Hibs? 
I don't know for sure. But I do know that people have been working tirelessly to mobilise fans to demand change. And in the last couple of weeks I've seen more passion from them than I've seen on or off the pitch at Hibs for quite some time. 
Do they have all the answers? Probably not. Are they motivated by real concern for the situation Hibs are in? Definitely. 
Are they determined to do everything they can to remove the influence of the man they see as largely responsible for the decline of recent seasons and for the malaise that shrouds the whole club? Undoubtedly.

10. The greater good

"Rod Petrie won't leave Hibs because he'd lose his role at the SFA." 
So under Rod Petrie's leadership Hibs have become nothing more than a way of hitching a ride to the VIP lounge at Hampden? That's just marvellous, such a positive reason for him remaining at the club. 
But I love Scottish football. Rod Petrie's failed my club. I don't want him having any power or influence across the wider Scottish game. In which case #Petrieout is a demand for the whole of Scotland.

That's why I'll be at Easter Road today.

Will I be on my own, will there be 50 people there? 500? 1000? More?

I don't know. Will it make a difference? Maybe not.

Is it worth doing to show how much people care about the club and how deeply they feel the betrayal of relegation? Absolutely.

Recovering is going to be a long, hard slog for Hibs. It will be easier without the man who season after season, bad decision after bad decision led us to the pain of last season.