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Petrie out of time at Hibs

ROD Petrie is clinging on to his position of power at Hibernian by his fingernails.

Rod Petrie with Terry Butcher after the rot had set in Photograph: SNS
Rod Petrie with Terry Butcher after the rot had set in Photograph: SNS

He is trying everything he can to buy himself time in the hope that the season starts, results go the team's way and the supporters, pacified by the possibility of success, give up on this whole idea of taking to the cobbles to demand his head on a plate.

Leeann Dempster, his new chief executive, has willingly put herself out front as the person who will select the new manager. He wants her to carry on taking centre-stage while he disappears into the background.

Petrie is hanging by a thread right now, for sure, and he may yet succeed in his mission. Results can quieten people and he will be hoping a few early victories in the Champion- ship will bring the bandwagon that hopes to crush him under its wheels shuddering to a halt.

The fact is, though, that he should not be permitted to remain in the chairman's role at Easter Road for one minute longer. Petrie must, indeed, go.

He is Sir Tom Farmer's man, of course, but the owner has got to realise the problems he is creating within the club. If you are a chairman who brings in a new manager and love him at first, that can always turn sour if he not is doing a good job.

Whatever your role, you have to go if you are not doing your job properly and Farmer must surely now be looking closely at Petrie's overall contribution. Has he being doing his job properly? Absolutely not.

I just can't believe he has survived this long. The club have gone through 11 permanent managers in the last 17 years. People who go in there with decent track records fail miserably with frightening regularity, which suggests there are issues higher up the food chain.

The only person who has remained intact throughout all this is Petrie. It is nothing short of a miracle.

Hibs have been going down hill for some time, culminating in relegation from the Premiership, and he is the common denominator.

It is incredible that he is still filling an influential position at that club. Bringing in Dempster from Motherwell and creating the impression that she is now running the show certainly doesn't convince me. If Hibs are to have any chance to breathe, move forward and progress in a different and more positive direction, he has to be removed from the picture.

The support has turned against him. Protests are now being staged outside the stadium with Paul Kane emerging at the forefront of this growing campaign in Edinburgh to get Petrie out of the door and I back him wholeheartedly.

I used to play with Kano at Aberdeen and he is a stubborn man. He's a good guy and I always got on well with him, but he is very opinionated and will be like a dog with a bone with this campaign now it is up and running.

I loved playing beside him because he was completely committed. There are no half-measures. He will not let up, but whether that is enough to rid Hibs of Petrie is something else entirely. He is in with the bricks at Easter Road and he is going to be hard to remove.

The man is a control freak. He has never been able to keep his nose out of things and it is not a healthy situation. Control freaks don't change overnight. He will always want to know what is going on within the business.

You hear whispers within the game about the way things have worked at Hibs. I have spoken to many a manager within that club who talked about him being a meddler.

Petrie just can't help himself. He said he was taking a hands-off role, but why was he in the room when Kano and his colleagues met Farmer to talk about what they would like to see happen with the club in the immediate future?

Wasn't he spotted in and around Easter Road when the decision was being made to sack Terry Butcher from the position of manager?

Butcher was fired just after Dempster came into the club and it looks to me like Petrie used her appointment to manoeuvre his way out of the situation. He knew there would be fierce criticism were he seen to be the person to give another head coach the bullet. In my opinion, it is why someone else was left to do the dirty work.

There is no chance Dempster is going to be given complete autonomy while Petrie is there. The party line is that everything in the garden is rosy and my gut feeling is that the two of them will probably get on perfectly well.

However, there is no way he is going to sit back and let her run the business on her own.

Petrie, in fairness, has not done badly on the financial front. Things might not have been anywhere near as bad had he focused purely on that.

Outwith any interference that his managers have suffered down the years, he has chosen the wrong people time and time again. Yet he always tries to get himself off the hook in the end.

Rumours started to circulate from relatively early in Butcher's reign that he wasn't always seeing eye-to-eye with Petrie. Results did not go well. We cannot deny that and you could sense from his general demeanour that Butcher knew towards the end that the writing was on the wall.

For me, Petrie had always chosen the type of manager he felt would listen to him, let him say his piece and bend to some degree.Butcher wasn't like that. He is a strong-minded individual. It was not the trademark Petrie appointment, but he maybe felt he had reached a point where he had to try something different. He had to be prepared to let Butcher run the show completely though, and I just don't think Petrie is capable of that.

You could drag up all manner of stories from the reigns of all those 11 managers who have come and gone. Look at the situation that developed with Colin Calderwood. Birmingham City wanted to secure his services as assistant manager to Chris Hughton and offered a reported £300,000 as compensation. It was turned down. Within a matter of months, he was leaving with a pay-off.

Why didn't Hibs take the money when they had the chance? Petrie simply didn't want to let it be known that he had picked the wrong man.

It is all about him, you see. He just doesn't want to admit that he is wrong even when everyone else can see quite clearly that is the case.

It cannot be permitted to go on any longer. Farmer has a decision to make. Hard as it may be for him, there can only be one outcome.

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