Hibs chief Executive Ben Kensell told fans that defender Rocky Bushiri asked him why the Easter Road faithful ‘hated’ him during a text message conversation at the end of last season with the revelation coming shortly after criticism over the defender’s permanent transfer from Norwich City.
The much-maligned centre-back arrived in a January loan under former boss Shaun Maloney as the capital club put the focus on young players, with Leith chiefs holding an option to buy in Bushiri’s contract. He was a regular in the backline as Maloney failed to lead Hibs to a top six Scottish Premiership finish, leading to the boss being axed, before Lee Johnson was announced as the new manager this summer.
The centre-half penned a three-year deal with the club after an option in his original loan agreement was triggered through a certain number of appearances for Hibs during his six-month stay in Leith. However, the announcement was met with an angry response from some supporters on social media despite boss Johnson insisting Bushiri has “a lot of attributes to be a successful in his career.”
Having been tagged in the post to Twitter, Kensell has revealed that the new recruit was left bemused by the reaction online during a support Q&A on Wednesday.
Fans took to social media to share the views of the club chief, with one stating: “Ben Kensell told fans last night at the Q&A that Rocky asked why the fans hated him.
“Completely shambolic that a player has been made to feel this way. There seems to be so much toxicity within sections of our fan base and when you look at Hibs’ tweets, it’s the same folk every time.”
Another added: “If the Ben Kensell story is true and Rocky Bushiri did text that then I hope a lot of fans rethink how they interact with the club’s social media as it does have an effect on them and their confidence.”
However, another fan argued: “I think hate is a very strong word but personally I don’t think he performed very well last season and fans are allowed to show how they feel.
“Football is a sport that gets paid to perform and if you don’t perform then you have to face the music.”