THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

John Marshall profiles the Hibernian chairman who has never invested a penny in the club and remains an unpopular figure among supporters

Distinguishing Features Lex is always well coiffured. In fact rumour has it that what he has on top may not be all natural. He dresses well, like a senior civil servant, and so it will come as no surprise that for many years he was exactly that. The current issue of the fanzine Mass Hibsteria has Lex’s picture alongside that of camp Aussie comic Bob Downe. Picture Bob and you’ve pictured Lex though it’s a toss up as to which is the comedian.

What use is he? Politely, most Hibs fans would say he is as much use as an umbrella in a hurricane. He talks (and talks and talks) a good game, but with the rest of his ineffectual board has steered the club in a downward spiral towards relegation in only nine months in office. He is heavily involved with the Chamber of Commerce in Edinburgh and, until recently, was spokesman for the top clubs in the Scottish League Reconstruction debate. We feel that he has neglected his club duties, resulting in Hibs sinking to an all-time low and should resign as a matter of principle.

Who remembers his birthday?
Nobody, except maybe his family. (Rumour has it that Lex was born on April 1st). He is anything but a favourite of the fans but seems extremely popular with the club’s owner, Sir Tom Farmer OBE, who entrusted the reins to Gold and Chief Executive Rod Petrie and must surely now be wondering how his normally razor-sharp judgment went to awry on this occasion. Hibs are in a minority of one in having a Chairman who has not invested one bean in the club. Our senior board members are merely employees, and only get a glint in their eye when talking about balance sheets and commercial set-ups.

Quote Unquote
A bit disappointing compared to his predecessor Douglas Cromb who once described Hibs fans as “morons” and “evil bigots” which I suppose made him a hard act to follow. Lex is often quoted in the press but invariably denies saying the things he’s been reported to have said. A couple of very many examples:

“£6 million as investment in players – it’s in place.” Did not deny until months later. Fans duped into believing money imminent.

“Watch this space – we’re in confidential discussions,” – said so many times when pressure questions are asked.

Other offences to be taken into consideration
Sadly, most Hibs fans feel that Lex will go down in the club’s history for all the wrong reasons – such as leading them to relegation. Lex is at heart quite a nice bloke who was brought in to boost the public image of the club. Had he stuck to that he might have been OK but he started to try to be a Chairman – a job for which he had no background or previous experience. I just hope he can live with his conscience.

From WSC 134 April 1998. What was happening this month