Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hibs v Aberdeen: Misery on Leith

What times to be a Hibs supporter.

Bottom of the league, a manager who has become a toxic brand, sections of the support ever more alienated from the vision the board have for the club. And sections of the support who are consistently voting with their feet.

A demonstration is planned before today's game with second bottom Aberdeen.

Too soon at this early stage of the season?

Perhaps. But Hibs have been honking for 18 months now. That the demonstration will target both Colin Calderwood and Rod Petrie suggests that some fans are worried about the direction the club is taking both and off the pitch.

I don't expect many fans will pick up the placards today. But nor do I think these are concerns that can be completely ignored.

My own view is that Calderwood is struggling and unhappy. He needs a run of form soon or his position will be become untenable.

But replacing him will not be a magic cure for the ills of the club.

The Hibs board have their admirers inside and outside the club. I'd say they were arrogant, unlistening and overpaid. It's the sort of combination that a Scottish club can ill afford right now.

Some fans will say that Hibs are lucky to have Rod Petrie and his automaton acolytes, that their fiscal conservatism is to be applauded and they do the best they can for the club on the pitch.

The annual accounts will be published soon. The results will be spun to within an inch of their lives. But I fear they'll show that the emperor is getting ever closer to a state of nakedness.

That the team is the best Hibs can hope for is baloney. Hibs have become the team other sides love to play. The final league position last season and the current plight show that the best this board is doing is not achieving parity with clubs of more modest means.

It is, frankly, a mess. An unhappy club with a support base that is fighting apathy and splintering into different factions.

If Hibs lose today the pressure on Calderwood and the board will mount. The board's default position at such times of crisis is to engineer a managerial reshuffle.

At the moment that would simply be more papering over cracks. It would also suggest that, once again, the club's recruitment policy is flawed.

Is anybody at Hibs big enough to take responsibility for that?

This is, of course, a personal opinion. I know others disagree. I know that if Hibs lose today there will be supporters who blame the defeat on the negativity of fans like me.

There are no easy answers at Easter Road. But someone better find some soon because the situation is becoming increasingly desperate.

Aberdeen have also struggled this season, the lack of goals a common theme.

Hibs have Garry O'Connor to score goals. They have very little else. I'm writing amid a fug of pessimism. But I'm finding it hard to see Hibs getting three points today.

This depressing soap opera still has more time to run yet.