As we continue our #RoadToEurope content series it’s important to reflect on an incredibly challenging season for everyone associated with the club.
With four league games remaining supporters should be gearing up for some really exciting trips to Easter Road and to Pittodrie for the penultimate game of the league season. Instead we are all going to be watching from home, with the last four games of the campaign being watched in the same ways as the first 34 – on television.
In the absence of in-person discussions fans have been staying up to speed with the action through the growing number of Hibernian podcasts available online. With post-match discussion often limited to digital means, supporters have been tuning in to listen to fellow Hibees giving their views on the matters at hand.
Longbangers has sprung to life during the last 12 months, with topics ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous on all things Hibs to give many people a lift during various levels of restrictions.
Matty Fairnie has been part of the Longbangers team since the start and he says he can’t wait to be back at Easter Road when fans are allowed to return.
On being forced to watch matches from home instead of in the stadium, Matty says there are few positives to take from the experience: “The traffic has been better but that aside it’s a poor second to going to the games!”
With supporters unable to discuss the good and the bad of performances at 5pm on a Saturday, whether that’s in the pub, on the bus or in the car going home, Matty has been missing the social interaction with his fellow fans.
“The social aspect after matches has been a huge miss, so much so that we started a post-match reaction show on Longbangers to get Hibs fans together right after games to talk about it.
“We use Zoom to put out the Longbangers podcast and that’s seen us connect with Hibees all over the world and create our own wee community of Hibs fans.”
With continued backing from fans throughout the season and the club currently occupying a European qualification spot in the Premiership, Matty believes getting into Europe next year would be a big boost.
“Getting into Europe is absolutely critical – European football could give us the finance to push ahead of our closest rivals for years to come. It’s been amazing to see the fans get behind the club, and I think there is more to come.”
With no fans inside Easter Road for over a year, Matty has found watching on from home a strange experience – and his family don’t see too fond of his singing in the living room!
“It’s been weird not being up and down from my seat with excitement when attacks build during the matches. My wife and kids don’t appreciate me directing chants at them when I try to build the atmosphere at home either.”
Summing up the season behind closed doors, Matty has been pleased with the majority of results on the pitch but doesn’t think it’s the same without being there in person.
“It has been horrible. We’ve had a great season on the park but it feels like we’re missing it.”
If you would like the chance to feature in our #RoadToEurope content series, you can let us know how you’ve found this season by clicking here.