Hecky thought Scottish football was crap

Sir Shrink

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Illuminating article from Britney who interviewed our ex-manager at length.
Those of us who witnessed the pre-season games and onwards who reckoned the standard of signings indicated he had totally underestimated the strength of our league are vindicated.

Here it is:

I spent two hours in football conversation with Paul Heckingbottom in April. He was not long in the door at Easter Road and explained to me his reasons for having gone back to university to take a BSc in sports coaching, how he might have been content to remain a youth coach all his days and why he believed “academia” — his word — was becoming increasingly important in football.

Our conversation bowled along in spate as Heckingbottom unloaded idea after idea about the ways of modern football.

What a coup it seemed for Hibs to have attracted him. Twelve months earlier he had been viewed as one of the coming men of coaching in England, having had success with Barnsley before being lured away by Leeds United. There, in February last year, Heckingbottom was taking on one of the most prestigious jobs in English football, and also one of the most notorious. He was Leeds’ ninth manager in five years before being binned like the rest of them: turfed out after four months in charge.

So it was impressive to see Heckingbottom re-enter the game at Easter Road. But, on that April afternoon, he interrupted me to say: “As a coach, you have to understand what your skill-set is, and be the best at it. Plus, at the top end, the game is all about winning, and not so much about education.”

This became the nub of it for Paul Heckingbottom. “The winning” for him came to be severely rationed at Easter Road, as Hibs boast an atrocious league record stretching back to last April. This season they have won only one of their 11 games so far in the Ladbrokes Premiership to leave them a point off the foot of the table. There was no escaping it: Heckingbottom has been prime sacking fodder for weeks, and the Hibbee faithful have not yearned for him to remain.

Two other thoughts sprang to mind about my long conversation with him, when news of his sacking emerged yesterday. The first concerned a question I put to him about the standard of the top flight in Scottish football, and where Heckingbottom would place it on quality within the league structure in England.

“Quality-wise it’s on a par with League One in England — lower half,” he replied. I was slightly startled by this, not that I hugely disagreed with him. If you exclude Celtic and Huns, then there probably is a tranche of teams in the Scottish Premiership who are third-tier material in England. But what I do remember thinking was: is this the bar that Heckingbottom will set for Hibs on his player recruitment? Because if it is, it is a low bar.

I’m not convinced that the now former Hibs head coach called it right here. Over the summer he signed a bunch of players — Josh Vela, Christian Doidge, Tom James, Adam Jackson and more — who, on numerous occasions, have looked like English lower-league journeymen. Back in August, when Hibs lost 3-0 to Motherwell at Fir Park, I was scratching my head to work out why all Heckingbottom’s summer signings were either on the bench or not even stripped for action that afternoon. “They’re not good enough,” a seasoned Hibs watcher told me.

After that loss, Heckingbottom made the remarkable admission that he couldn’t wait for January to get new bodies in. I thought: were these recent ten weeks of summer not the time to get this done?


My second thought about my conversation with Heckingbottom in April was: just how much did he know about Scottish football, and would this be a factor? He told me: “It has been a real challenge for me, because I have gone from the Championship in England where I knew everything inside out — every manager, every player, every club, every game — to a situation here where I didn’t know the managers, their tactics, their substitution options, etc.

“In terms of Scottish football, it has been all about learning and taking in as many games as possible. I didn’t know a lot about it, being honest.”

In truth, this shouldn’t have been an insurmountable obstacle. Players and coaches change clubs and enter new environments the world over, and they simply adapt, bringing success or failure. A lack of knowledge of Scottish football should not have hindered Heckingbottom at Hibs, except in one area: in watching rival clubs and players, and assessing his own team, would he make the right judgment calls? In this context it seems he has failed.

I will be surprised if Heckingbottom is not a success once more in English football. He has proved himself there before. But at Hibs, he made some costly wrong calls, and has rightly paid for them with his job.
 

Daddy 'O' Hibee

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It really was at Hibs while he was in charge.
 

Purple & Green

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Says more about us recruiting him than himself I'd suggest....
i think that’s harsh, I think we can look objectively at his reign, and he did very well working with players identified by others. Hopeless at identifying players himself, and with hindsight we could have done that differently. I think he would do that differently too.

there’s some easy quick wins in bringing players in, getting more right than wrong, and we messed that up in the summer by backing the managers judgement. It might even be that a new manager coming in will get a formation and plan to get these same players winning.

reading that back, logically we might have done better if GC and GM had taken more of an input into player recruitment but that undermines the manager.

we will learn lessons from this, and my guess would be we will go back to someone who knows the Scottish game because every manager we’ve brought in with no Scottish grounding has failed:

dave ewing
Colin calderwood
Pat fenlon
Paul heckingbottom
 

stickyRicky

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Thought it would be a piece of piss this league. Totally underestimated the level that's needed and will go back to England with a red face.
 
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Greenmachine

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As has been said already I find it incredible that he couldn't see after the period between February and May when we played all the teams in the league including all the top six, what standard of player would be required to be competitive in this league ? I was confident after assessing the opposition that he would be able to get some diamonds from the lower leagues that he knew would shine in the SPFL and we would be one up on our competitors. He clearly identified and earmarked the likes of Doidge, Newall, James, Vela and Jackson and these deals were done and dusted long before they actually arrived at Easter Road. The recruitment team were by-passed IMO and this must never happen again. Even he must have realised early on in this campaign that he had badly misjudged the standard of this league and what was required and his days were numbered from then on.
This however leaves us in the Tom Kite. We still have all these players and the new boss is going to have to work with them and try to get much more out of them than Heckingbottom did in the upcoming battle to avoid the play-off. We might be able to wheel and deal a bit in January, but it will be done with a view to getting us in a safe position, then next summer the real re-build will have to begin.
 
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Sir Shrink

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He had long enough at the end of last season to see the standard of Scottish football, yet still signed below par players in the summer. Arrogant and incompetent. I'm glad he's gone.
You would have thought so.
The duds we signed (I think) were all on his list when he came here, and he stubbornly insisted on getting them signed up right away. Perhaps he thought that they would raise their game sufficiently to do a job for him, I can't believe he was so stubborn as to deliberately sign players who he knew would fail.
None of them look particularly happy to be at Hibs, and to be honest I don't feel the 'connection' with them either so I reckon they will be onto their agents and looking for a move back to a league where they can shine.

If they can find one.
 

Smurf

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As has been said already I find it incredible that he couldn't see after the period between February and May when we played all the teams in the league including all the top six, what standard of player would be required to be competitive in this league ? I was confident after assessing the opposition that he would be able to get some diamonds from the lower leagues that he knew would shine in the SPFL and we would be one up on our competitors. He clearly identified and earmarked the likes of Doidge, Newall, James, Vela and Jackson and these deals were done and dusted long before they actually arrived at Easter Road. The recruitment team were by-passed IMO and this must never happen again. Even he must have realised early on in this campaign that he had badly misjudged the standard of this league and what was required and his days were numbered from then on.
This however leaves us in the Tom Kite. We still have all these players and the boss is going to have to work with them and try to get much more out of them than Heckingbottom did in an upcoming battle to avoid the play-off. We might be able to wheel and deal a bit in January, but it will be done with a view to getting us in a safe position, then next summer the real re-build will have to begin.
Neil Lennon wanted Doidge at Hibs.
 

WJC1848

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Illuminating article from Britney who interviewed our ex-manager at length.
Those of us who witnessed the pre-season games and onwards who reckoned the standard of signings indicated he had totally underestimated the strength of our league are vindicated.

Here it is:
Interesting and enlightening.
I'm not au fait with "Britney" but surmise it's Speirs, Graham.
 

Sir Shrink

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Interesting and enlightening.
I'm not au fait with "Britney" but surmise it's Speirs, Graham.
That's the fella.
:54:
 

Plasticman

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Neil Lennon wanted Doidge at Hibs.
Interesting.

Thing is Ive not got the dislike of Doidge that others have, as I think he looks like he gives 100% for the whole game and that he is being played in a way alien to him. He could still be a player if he gets a run as part of a front two.
 

dibo

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Says more about us recruiting him than himself I'd suggest....
Leeds Sussed the inadequate plum out after a few weeks .
Took us months but good riddance to the useless prick.
Hell be at bury or Chester or similar next , hopefully with doidge,vela and the other trash signings. Joining him.
Fuck offski hecky
 

Hibee Kev

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Interesting.

Thing is Ive not got the dislike of Doidge that others have, as I think he looks like he gives 100% for the whole game and that he is being played in a way alien to him. He could still be a player if he gets a run as part of a front two.
Trouble is with strikers is, if they don't get off the mark fairly early on it can affect them mentally and the goal drought can drag on and on. And here we have Doidge still sitting on zero league goals. Heard Chris Waddle talk in similar terms about the lad Almiron Newcastle signed, after he missed a few chances in his first couple of games. And sure enough he's yet to net a league goal for them too.
 

Hibs v Motherwell

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