|Full name||Hibernian Football Club|
|Founded||1875 (as Hibernians)|
|Owner||Sir Tom Farmer|
|League||Scottish Premier League|
|2008–09||Scottish Premier League, 6th|
|First game||Hearts 1–0 Hibernians
(Edinburgh, Scotland; 25 December 1875)
|Largest win||Hibernians 22–1 Black Watch Highlanders
(Edinburgh, Scotland; 3 September 1881)
|Largest defeat||Rangers 10–0 Hibernian
(Glasgow, Scotland; 24 December 1898)
|All-time top scorer||Lawrie Reilly (234)|
Hibernian Football Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Leith, in the north of Edinburgh. They are one of two Scottish Premier League clubs in the city, the other being their Edinburgh derby rivals, Hearts. Hibernian were founded in 1875 by Irish immigrants, but this identity has been downplayed to the point where support for the club is based on location rather than ethnicity or religion. The Irish heritage of Hibernian is still reflected, however, in its name, colours and badge.
The name of the club is usually shortened to Hibs. The team are also called The Hibees (pronounced "high-bees") and The Cabbage, a shortening of the rhyming slang for Hibs of "Cabbage and Ribs", by fans of the club, who are themselves also known as Hibbies (singular: "Hibby"). Home matches are played at the Easter Road stadium, which the club have played at since 1893.
Hibernian have won the Scottish league championship four times, most recently in 1952. Three of those four championships were won between 1948 and 1952, when the club had the services of The Famous Five, a notable forward line. The club have won the Scottish Cup twice, in 1887 and 1902; but have lost nine Scottish Cup Finals since, most recently in 2001. The last major trophy won by the club was the 2007 Scottish League Cup, when Kilmarnock were beaten 5–1 in the Final. Hibs have won the League Cup three times, also winning in 1972 and 1991.
The club were founded in 1875 by Irishmen from the Cowgate area of Edinburgh, who named it Hibernians Football Club, which means "Irish Football Club". The name is derived from Hibernia, the Roman name for Ireland. James Connolly, the famous Irish Republican leader, was a Hibs fan during this period. There was some sectarian resistance initially to an Irish club participating in Scottish football, but Hibs established themselves as a force in Scottish football in the 1880s. Hibs were the first club from the east coast of Scotland to win a major trophy, the 1887 Scottish Cup. Later that year, they defeated Preston North End, who had won the 1887 FA Cup, in a match described as the Association Football Championship of the World Decider.
Mismanagement over the next few years led to the demise of Hibernians, who became homeless and ceased operating during 1891. A reformed club called Hibernian was established, and they acquired a lease on a site in late 1892 that was to become known as Easter Road. Hibernian played its first match at Easter Road on 4 February 1893. Despite this interruption, the club today views Hibernians and Hibernian as one continued history and therefore counts the honours won by Hibernians, including the 1887 Scottish Cup.
A significant change at the time of this reformation was that players were no longer required to be members of the Catholic Young Men's Society; Hibs are not seen today as being an Irish or Roman Catholic institution, as it was in the early years of its history. For instance, the Irish harp was only re-introduced to the club badge when it was last re-designed in 2000. This design reflects the three pillars of the club's identity: Ireland, Edinburgh (the castle) and Leith (the ship). Geography rather than religion is now seen as the primary reason for supporting Hibs, who draw most of their support from the north and east of Edinburgh.
Hibs had some success after being reformed, winning the 1902 Scottish Cup and their first league championship a year later. After this, however, the club endured a long barren spell. The club lost its placing in the league, and were relegated for the first time in 1931, although they were promoted back to the top division two years later. The notorious Scottish Cup drought began as they reached three cup finals, two in consecutive years, but lost them all.
Hibs' most successful era by far, was in the decade following the end of the Second World War, when it was "among the foremost clubs in Britain". The forward line of Gordon Smith, Bobby Johnstone, Lawrie Reilly, Eddie Turnbull and Willie Ormond, collectively known as the Famous Five, is regarded as being the best forward line in the history of Scottish football. The quality of the Famous Five is shown by the fact that all five players are in the top six of Hibs' all-time goalscorer list, and Easter Road's north stand is named in their honour.
Of the five, only Ormond cost Hibs a transfer fee, £1200 from Stenhousemuir. Reilly, Johnstone, Smith and Turnbull were all signed from youth or junior leagues. The first time Hibs used all five in the same team was on 21 April 1949, in a friendly match against Nithsdale Wanderers. The forward line remained in place until 1955, when Johnstone was sold to Manchester City. The great forward line, together with players like Bobby Combe and Tommy Younger, largely contributed to the winning of league championships in 1948, 1951 and 1952. The team were perhaps unfortunate not to win more trophies, as they finished second to Rangers in 1953 on goal average, and second to Rangers by a point in 1950.
Despite only finishing fifth in the Scottish League in 1955, Hibs were invited to participate in the first season of the European Cup, which was not strictly based on league positions at that time. 18 clubs who were thought would generate interest across Europe and who also had the floodlights necessary to play games at night, were invited to participate. Floodlights had been used at Easter Road for the first time in a friendly match against Heart of Midlothian on 18 October 1954. Hibs became the first British club in Europe because the Football League secretary Alan Hardaker persuaded Chelsea, the English champions, not to enter.
Hibs played their first tie against Rot-Weiss Essen, winning 4–0 in the Georg-Melches-Stadion and drawing 1–1 at Easter Road. They defeated Djurgårdens IF to reach the semi-final, but in that tie they were defeated 3–0 on aggregate by Stade Reims, who had the famous France international player Raymond Kopa in their side. Reims lost 4–3 to Real Madrid in the Final.
Hibs frequently participated in the Fairs Cup during the 1960s, famously winning ties against Barcelona and Napoli. However, the club achieved little domestically until former player Eddie Turnbull was persuaded to return to Easter Road as manager in 1971. The team, popularly known as Turnbull's Tornadoes, finished second in the league in 1974 and 1975, and won the League Cup in 1972. The club also won the Drybrough Cup in 1972 and 1973, and recorded a 7–0 win over Edinburgh derby rivals Hearts, at Tynecastle on 1 January 1973.
Performances went into decline after the mid-1970s, as Hibs were replaced by the New Firm of Aberdeen and Dundee United as the main challengers to the Old Firm. Turnbull resigned as manager and Hibs were relegated, for the second time in their history, in 1980. They were immediately promoted back to the Scottish Premier Division in 1981, but the club struggled during the 1980s, failing to qualify for European competition until 1989.
After mismanagement during the late 1980s, Hibs were on the brink of financial ruin in 1990. Wallace Mercer, the chairman of Hearts, proposed a merger of the two clubs, but the Hibs fans believed that the proposal was more like a hostile takeover. They formed the Hands off Hibs group to campaign for the continued existence of the club. This succeeded when a prominent local businessman, Kwik-Fit owner Sir Tom Farmer, acquired a controlling interest in Hibs. The fans were able to persuade Farmer to take control despite the fact that he has no great interest in football, which is demonstrated by the fact that he rarely attends Hibs matches. Farmer was persuaded in part by the fact that a relative of his had been involved in the rescue of Hibs from financial ruin in the early 1890s. After the attempted takeover by Mercer, Hibs had a few good years in the early 1990s, winning the 1991 Scottish League Cup Final and finishing in the top five in the league in 1993, 1994 and 1995.
Soon after Alex McLeish was appointed as manager in 1998, Hibs were relegated to the First Division, but immediately won promotion back to the SPL in 1999. Hibs enjoyed a good season in 2000–01, as they challenged the Old Firm until Christmas, eventually finishing third in the league. Hibs also reached the Scottish Cup Final for the first time in 22 years, but lost 3–0 to Celtic at Hampden Park. McLeish departed for Rangers in December 2001; team captain Franck Sauzée was appointed as the new manager, despite the fact that he had no previous coaching experience. A disastrous run of form followed, which was dragging Hibs into a relegation battle by the time he was sacked in February 2002. Sauzée had been manager for just 69 days.
Kilmarnock manager Bobby Williamson was then hired, but he proved to be unpopular with Hibs supporters. However, a string of exciting young players emerged, including Garry O’Connor, Derek Riordan, Kevin Thomson and Scott Brown. These players featured heavily as Hibs eliminated both halves of the Old Firm to reach the 2004 Scottish League Cup Final, only to lose 2–0 to Livingston. Williamson departed near the end of that season to manage Plymouth Argyle and was replaced by Tony Mowbray. Mowbray promised fast-flowing, passing football, with which Hibs finished third in his first season as manager, while Mowbray won the manager of the year award. Hibs got off to an excellent start in the 2005–06 season, which prompted speculation that they could challenge for the championship. Injuries and the sale of Garry O'Connor to Lokomotiv Moscow resulted in the club finishing fourth in the SPL, and losing to Hearts in the Scottish Cup. Mowbray left Hibs in October 2006 to manage West Bromwich Albion.
Hibs then appointed John Collins to replace Mowbray. The team won the 2007 Scottish League Cup Final under his management, but during his tenure, the club sold Kevin Thomson, Scott Brown and Steven Whittaker for fees totalling more than £8M. Collins resigned later that year, frustrated by the lack of funds made available to replace those players. Former Hibs player Mixu Paatelainen was hired to replace Collins, but poor results during the 2008–09 season, including home cup defeats by Morton and Hearts, led to many Hibs supporters calling for Paatelainen to be sacked. The club finished in sixth place, but Paatelainen resigned at the end of the season, saying that "there comes a time when a change of direction is best for both parties."
Another former Hibernian player, John Hughes, was soon appointed in place of Paatelainen. Hughes, who made high profile signings such as Anthony Stokes and Liam Miller, led Hibs to a good start to the 2009–10 season.
The predominant club colours are green and white, which have been used since the formation of the club in 1875. The strip typically has a green body, white sleeves and a white collar. The shorts are normally white, although green has been used in recent seasons. The socks are green, usually with some white detail. Hibs have used yellow, purple, black, white and a dark green in recent seasons for their alternate kits. In 1977, Hibs became the first club in Scotland to bear sponsorship on their shirts. This sponsorship arrangement prompted television companies to threaten a boycott of Hibs games if they used the sponsored kit, which resulted in the club using an alternate kit for the first time.
Hibs wore green and white hooped shirts during the 1870s, which was the inspiration for the style later adopted by Celtic. Hibs then wore all-green shirts from 1879 until 1938, when white sleeves were added to the shirts. This was similar in style to Arsenal, who had added white sleeves to their red shirts earlier in the 1930s. The colour of the shorts was changed to a green which matched the shirts in 2004, to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of a friendly win in October 1964 against Real Madrid. Hibs had worn green shorts in that match to avoid a colour clash with the all-white colours of Real Madrid. Hibs have worn green shorts in three seasons since the 2004–05 season.
The badge used to identify the club has changed frequently over the years, which has reflected an ongoing debate about its identity. This debate has centred on whether its Irish heritage should be proudly displayed, or ignored for fear of being accused of sectarianism. The Irish harp was first removed in the 1950s, then re-introduced to the club badge when it was last re-designed in 2000. Scottish Football Museum director Ged O'Brien said in 2001, that the current design shows that Hibs "are comfortable with all the strands of their tradition - it has Leith, Edinburgh and Ireland in it."
Hibs played on The Meadows for the first two years of their history, before moving to grounds in Newington (Mayfield Park) and Bonnington Road, Leith (Powderhall), in different spells between 1877 and 1879. After the lease on Mayfield Park expired, Hibs moved to a ground known as Hibernian Park, on what is now Bothwell Street in Leith. The club lost the lease on that ground, which contributed to the demise of the old Hibernians club. The new Hibernian club obtained a lease on a site just off Easter Road in 1892 and have played their home matches there ever since.
Before the Taylor Report demanded that the stadium be all-seated, Easter Road had vast banks of terracing on three sides, which meant that it could hold crowds in excess of 60,000. The record attendance of 65,860, which is also a record for a football match played in Edinburgh, was set by an Edinburgh derby played on 2 January 1950.
The pitch was noted for its pronounced slope, but this was removed in 2000. The ground is currently all-seated and has a capacity of approximately 14,000, due to redevelopment work on one side of the ground. Besides staging Hibs matches, the stadium has played host to four Scotland international matches, all of them since 1998. The most recent international match played at the ground was a friendly between Ghana and South Korea, just before the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
During 2007, Hibs began a consultation process with the supporters on the redevelopment of the east side of the ground. After posting their accounts for the year ended 31 July 2008, Rod Petrie stated that the development was on hold until sufficient cash resources could be obtained to finance the project. Petrie then announced at the club's 2009 AGM that the club would enter negotiations with building contractors to establish costs for rebuilding the stand. After negotiations were concluded, Hibs announced in February 2010 that work would begin on a new East Stand, increasing capacity to 20,250.
Hibs have a traditional local rivalry in Edinburgh with Hearts; the Edinburgh derby match between the two clubs is one of the oldest rivalries in world football. Graham Spiers has described it as "one of the jewels of the Scottish game". The clubs first met on Christmas Day 1875, when Hearts won 1–0, in the first match ever contested by Hibs. The two clubs became preeminent in Edinburgh after a five-game struggle for the Edinburgh Football Association Cup in 1878, which Hearts finally won with a 3–2 victory after four successive draws. The only time the clubs have met in a Cup Final was the 1896 Scottish Cup Final, which Hearts won 3–1. This match is also notable for being the only Scottish Cup Final to be played outside of Glasgow.
Both clubs have been champions of Scotland four times, although Hearts have won more cup competitions and have the better record in derbies, with 271 wins to 198 in 613 matches. Approximately half of all derbies have been played in local competitions and friendlies. Hibs recorded the biggest derby win in a competitive match when they won 7–0 at Tynecastle on New Year's Day 1973, but the biggest winning margin in any derby was a 10–2 victory for Hearts in a friendly played on 12 August 1893.
Hibernian are one of only two professional football clubs in Edinburgh, which is the capital and second largest city in Scotland. The club had the fifth largest average attendance in the Scottish Premier League during the 2008–09 season, with 12,684. Important games, particularly the Edinburgh derby, see Easter Road at or near full capacity. In the 1980s and 1990s, a minority of the club's supporters had a reputation as one of Britain's most prominent casuals groups, known as the Capital City Service.
The works of author Irvine Welsh, particularly Trainspotting, contain several references to Hibernian. The team is often mentioned in casual conversation and is the team many of his characters support. Visual references to Hibs are noticeable in Danny Boyle's film adaption of Trainspotting; Begbie wears a Hibs shirt while he plays five-a-side football, while many Hibs posters and pictures can be seen on the walls of Mark Renton's bedroom.
In the final short story of the trilogy The Acid House, Coco Bryce, a boy from the "Hibs firm", is struck by lightning while under the influence of LSD in a Pilton park. His soul is then transferred to the body of an unborn child from one of the more affluent areas of Edinburgh. The final scene of the The Acid House film adaptation shows Coco in the baby's body, strapped to his mother's back with a Hibs top in the pub, chanting "Oo to, oo to be, oo to be a Hibee". In Marabou Stork Nightmares, the main character, Roy Strang, hails from Leith and becomes a Hibs supporter, and then eventually becomes part of a Hibs firm.
Hibernian are also frequently referred to in the Inspector Rebus series of detective novels by Ian Rankin. Rebus himself is a Raith Rovers fan in the books, but he is a Hibs fan in the 2000s television adaptation of the series. That version of Rebus is played by a Hearts supporter, Ken Stott. DS Siobhan Clarke, his colleague in the later books, is a season ticket holder at Easter Road.
The Hibs anthem Glory, Glory to the Hibees was written and performed by Scottish comedian Hector Nicol. Former Marillion singer Fish is a Hibs fan; Easter Road is mentioned in the song 'Lucky', from the album Internal Exile. The Proclaimers are lifelong Hibs fans, and were heavily involved with the "Hands off Hibs" campaign to save the club in 1990. The title track from their Sunshine on Leith album has become a Hibs anthem, which is traditionally played before big matches at Easter Road and after the victory in the 2007 Scottish League Cup Final. In their song "Cap in Hand", also from the Sunshine on Leith album, The Proclaimers sing:
|“||I can understand why Stranraer lie so lowly
They could save a lot of points by signing Hibs' goalie
|“||I'd never been to Ayrshire
I hitched down one Saturday
Sixty miles to Kilmarnock
Just to see Hibernian play
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Players out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Board of directors
Arthur Duncan holds the record for most league appearances for Hibs, with 446. All of the Famous Five — Gordon Smith, Eddie Turnbull, Lawrie Reilly, Bobby Johnstone and Willie Ormond — scored more than 100 league goals for Hibs, with Joe Baker the only other player to achieve that milestone.
Hibernian players have been capped at full international level for 18 different national teams, with 59 Hibernian players appearing for Scotland. Hibernian rank fifth amongst all clubs in providing players for Scotland, behind the Old Firm, Queen's Park and Hearts. James Lundie and James McGhee were the first Hibs players to play for Scotland, in an 1886 British Home Championship match against Wales. Lawrie Reilly holds the record for most international caps earned while a Hibs player, making 38 appearances for Scotland between 1949 and 1957. In 1959, Joe Baker became the first player to play for England without having previously played for an English club.
Hibs did not officially appoint a manager until 1903 because they were not incorporated until then. From 1875 until 1903, the club were run by a committee, although Dan McMichael, who also acted as treasurer, secretary and a physiotherapist, was effectively the manager when the club won the 1902 Scottish Cup and the 1903 league championship.
Willie McCartney took charge of part of the league-winning 1947–48 season, but he collapsed and died after a Scottish Cup match in January 1948. Hugh Shaw inherited that team, and went on to win three league championships in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Eddie Turnbull, Alex Miller and John Collins all won one Scottish League Cup each. Bobby Templeton, Bertie Auld and Alex McLeish all won second tier championships.