Collins lifts lid on limited Hibs transfer cash

John Collins has lifted the lid on the lack of transfer spending he was afforded as Hibs manager.

"The board met the day after the opening of the training centre and I wasn't satisfied with answers to the questions I had," said Collins. "For instance, David Murphy, who was an outstanding player for Hibs, was desperate to move – I wanted him to stay until the end of the season, but he wanted to go.

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"I wanted key players on better contracts like Steven Fletcher, and I told the chairman he deserved it, but the board stalled and that unsettled the player for a few weeks. He subsequently lost form and I didn't think the negative publicity was worth the sake of a few hundred pounds."

Hibs have brought in £12 million in transfer fees over the past two years, but have been reluctant to reinvest the money in the playing squad. Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound programme last night, Collins revealed how unhappy he was with chairman Rod Petrie's refusal to release funds he felt were necessary to replenish the squad.

"I looked at signing several leading Scottish players, but they were out of our wage structure," added Collins, who took over from Tony Mowbray in October 2006. "I would have loved to have signed Steven Naismith, Barry Robson, Alan Gow and Jamie Smith, all of whom I admired, but it wasn't as easy as people think. We did bring in £8.8 million in sales though, which we could never have predicted.

"Within two weeks of my arrival, two of my best players (Scott Brown and Kevin Thomson] told me they had got themselves a new agent, Willie McKay. You don't get long-term success if you sell your best players, but the offers were too good to turn down. However, it would have been nice to have had more money for reinvestment."