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Thread: What constitutes "success"?

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    Question What constitutes "success"?

    A conversation on another forum, admittedly about English football, raised a question that always struck me as seemingly simple, but evidently anything but:

    What constitutes success for a football club?

    The answer is typically “winning things”, but I reckon that’s much too simplistic given the disparity in most leagues. We often talk about how we can’t possibly compete with Celtic over a season, which is true, but the Bournemouth’s and Huddersfield’s of this world are no more likely to compete with Manchester City at this juncture. The amount of money pumped into the game has perverted the concept of success to a certain extent, even to the point where nations like England, Spain, Italy and Germany consider success to be a fourth place league finish – even if it means no actual silverware.

    In Scotland, there are effectively several levels in which to work in. We know Celtic will dominate and “Rangers” will tail them, but it’s a pretty big jump to the next biggest clubs which are obviously Hibs, Hearts and Aberdeen. The jump after that is almost as big, which means success should loosely be described as “Rangers”, Hibs, Hearts and Aberdeen fighting for the scraps off the Parkhead table, with “Rangers” pre-dominating. From here, I’m going to omit “Rangers” in the discussion because of their imminent administration, and issues that may arise after it.

    So I suppose our markers are:

    - League position.
    - Trophy victories.
    - European football.

    Which is fine, but not hugely instructive.

    Hibs last won the Scottish Cup in 2016, and the League Cup in 2007; Aberdeen last won the Scottish Cup in 1990, and the League Cup in 2014. Hearts last won the Scottish Cup in 2012, and the League Cup in 1963. Aberdeen have recently been the highest placed team with regard to league position, followed by Hearts, with Hibs trailing. All three clubs have competed in Europe within the last three years, with only Hibs having done so by virtue of silverware. What this ultimately means is that all three clubs seem to underperform when it matters, with last year’s European endeavours ending even before the playoffs prior to the group stages (as it habitually does, before Celtic see it as a dumping ground).

    So success, as clubs like Hibs should understand it, probably looks like this:

    - Competing with Hearts and Aberdeen for league position.
    - Winning at least as many trophies over a five year period as Hearts and Aberdeen.
    - European football to the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

    If Hibs use these as markers, then the stretch becomes obvious.

    - Finishing above Hearts and Aberdeen consistently in the league.
    - Winning more trophies than Hearts and Aberdeen over a five year period.
    - Reaching the third qualifying round or playoffs of the Europa League.

    What’s key is that, ultimately, Hearts and Aberdeen are competing in exactly the same space. Odd as it may sound, that’s a good thing.

    Of course, European football is where ALL of Scotland’s football needs to be judged and it’s accepted that the third qualifying round can be difficult to negotiate because there are often strong teams that land in it. The playoffs are even rougher, and hugely draw dependent; for every Omonia Nicosia, there’s an Athletic Bilbao. That said, no Scottish Premiership team should be failing to get past the first qualifying round and the fact that it’s happened in the near past shows just how far we’ve fallen.

    But I’m interested in how others view this. Because if we generally agree, then it might be time to put the concept to the fans representatives to see what steps the club are taking in order to make it happen.

    Consider it a purely an intellectual exercise.

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    For me success is a top 4 position. There's actually no excuse for us not being top 5. I'd expect us to take as many points off the Gunts as they take from us. And fairly regular semi final appearances. I'd expect us to average a trophy every 10-15 years. Average attendances of 15,000+. And European qualification every year in 3 minimum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smurf View Post
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    For me success is a top 4 position. There's actually no excuse for us not being top 5. I'd expect us to take as many points off the Gunts as they take from us. And fairly regular semi final appearances. I'd expect us to average a trophy every 10-15 years. Average attendances of 15,000+. And European qualification every year in 3 minimum.
    Seems fair. Based on budgets we should be 5th. Anything less than fifth is rubbish.

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    Excellent opening post and I would agree with everything said.

    Hibs are in that trio of clubs just down from the Old Firm in terms of size, turnover and potential along with Hearts and Aberdeen.
    Success for me is silverware. We know it's virtually impossible to win the league when you are up against a club of Celtic's size and resources. However I am firmly of the belief that Hibs should start every season with the sole intent of winning the league and both the League Cup and the Scottish Cup. After Leicester City's success a few years ago anything is possible in football now.

    Hibs should be top four every season, with European football achieved annually. I also believe Hibs should realistically win a trophy every 5 or 6 years.
    "I can't stress enough how important it is to be in possession of the football - it is better to be the matador rather than the bull"

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    There are two trophies we can realistically win each season, my expectation is that we try to win both. In the past 4 seasons we’ve reached the semi final of at least one cup, going on to lose one final and win the other. That, combined with regular top four finishes in the league is success.

    Finishing fifth and not getting a trip to Hampden is mediocre. Lower than that is poor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenmachine View Post
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    Excellent opening post and I would agree with everything said.

    Hibs are in that trio of clubs just down from the Old Firm in terms of size, turnover and potential along with Hearts and Aberdeen.
    Success for me is silverware. We know it's virtually impossible to win the league when you are up against a club of Celtic's size and resources. However I am firmly of the belief that Hibs should start every season with the sole intent of winning the league and both the League Cup and the Scottish Cup. After Leicester City's success a few years ago anything is possible in football now.

    Hibs should be top four every season, with European football achieved annually. I also believe Hibs should realistically win a trophy every 5 or 6 years.
    That's sort of where I am.

    Celtc are way ahead but could have a bad season, while others take points off them regularly we should be ready and able in the chasing pack. It would be good if we were in a position to capitalise on any slip.

    Realistically in a normal season we should be mixing it among 2, 3 and 4. That's in the league and at least a couple of trips to Hampden/Murrayfield ;-)

    Of course that would lead to regular European football and I'd like to see us improve year on year.I

    The 🐑 and sevco are our biggest threat here. The 🐑 likely to be constrained by their new stadium, sevco are a slow motion car crash that flatter to deceive.

    If the gunts ever got their act together it could turn into a battle between HSL and what they've got that makes the difference.
    Space to let

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smurf View Post
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    For me success is a top 4 position. There's actually no excuse for us not being top 5. I'd expect us to take as many points off the Gunts as they take from us. And fairly regular semi final appearances. I'd expect us to average a trophy every 10-15 years. Average attendances of 15,000+. And European qualification every year in 3 minimum.
    I wonder if we can sustain the attendances if we don't win anything for a wee while. Last 2 seasons there's been silverware. Going to be an interesting period coming up. Let's hope the fans who have been encouraged enough of late to join the growing body of ST holders are resilient should we simply have a couple of ordinary years. I really hope so.
    Hibs are standing on the brink of history...

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    Quote Originally Posted by SKII View Post
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    I wonder if we can sustain the attendances if we don't win anything for a wee while. Last 2 seasons there's been silverware. Going to be an interesting period coming up. Let's hope the fans who have been encouraged enough of late to join the growing body of ST holders are resilient should we simply have a couple of ordinary years. I really hope so.
    As long as the fans can see the club still moving forward I think we can sustain the improved attendances and high season ticket sales. Another trophy win would certainly help as would regular European football. I think there may be some tailing off but I am confident we can keep the feel-good factor going at Hibs. The club has been totally restructured in the last four years and it has resulted in a big positive vibe and a feeling of real progress. The cup win of course was the big catalyst and has changed the club forever. We will lose Lennon eventually as well as some of our better players and probably Leeann Dempster, but I really don't think any of those inevitable departures will have a serious affect on the club's health as I am confident all will be replaced properly. I feel that the professional structure we now have in place will ensure the club will continue to progress no matter what happens.
    "I can't stress enough how important it is to be in possession of the football - it is better to be the matador rather than the bull"

    John Hughes

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    Quote Originally Posted by SKII View Post
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    I wonder if we can sustain the attendances if we don't win anything for a wee while. Last 2 seasons there's been silverware. Going to be an interesting period coming up. Let's hope the fans who have been encouraged enough of late to join the growing body of ST holders are resilient should we simply have a couple of ordinary years. I really hope so.
    We will soon all have our season ticket renewal packs....

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    Lots of solid commentary here, and it’s good to see that we’re sensible.

    The truth is that “Rangers” are an unknown quantity because, once more, inside sources are making it clear that they’re dicing with death. They’re unlikely to be liquidated again, but administration is a stick-on and that has an impact on how we view ourselves. I think it’s reasonable to say that a good season has us third (or better), while a poor season sees us finishing outside the top five. Ultimately, with our expenditure, we should never really be under any threat in that regard.

    @Smurf did mention it, but it’s worth repeating – we also have a barometer of success in the Derby fixture that Aberdeen don’t have. Again, I expect those results to be much more even over the course of a season because Hearts can no longer financially dope the encounter, and the size of both clubs is equivalent to each other.

    A lot of other issues/questions are actually Scottish team related, rather than merely Hibs related; European competition, specifically. It’s interesting that our CEO recently spoke about expanded European competitions, but the Europa League covers us. We’re putting four clubs into Europe every year, and at the appropriate level given the results we’ve been showing. The discontinuation of the Intertoto Cup seemed rough toward those teams that looked to play in it, but it’s largely been wrapped up with Europa League qualifying without any functional difference. UEFA’s problem is that the breadth of league quality in Europe is drastic, and two competitions scarcely cover all of it, but Scottish teams can only really make that argument once they’re consistently winning ties from the second qualifying round. The knockout aspect of the competition is unfortunate, with most results being extremely tight, but I don’t think the competition is the problem – Scottish teams are the problem.

    Well… That’s what I think.

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    The Huns are quite probably trading whilst insolvent just now but are limping through to the end of the season in desperation to get a European spot to ease their finances. Parallels with 2011-2012 but super Ally😂 $#@!ed it by Rangers getting horsed out at the first hurdle.
    I expect those with influence won't allow the likelihood of Armageddon part 2 to happen where we'll see many instances of events in their favour. You know, the ones that (never) even themselves out over the season.
    Amazing timing of Regan to step aside where we now have ibrox connected people being lined up to replace the SFA Chief Executive and uncle Wattie as national manager. All this after the scandalous behaviour of that club that they're probably about to weild their influence over the whole of Scottish football after doing their damndest to destroy it.
    Game's rigged, why bother?

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