Tynecastle turmoil again: Will it ever end?!
23/12/2012 § Leave a comment
The Christmas dinner of 2012 will not be tasting so good for everyone involved and connected to Heart of Midlothian Football Club. Five days before Christmas, the Scottish Premier League announced that a current signing embargo placed on Hearts for non payment of players would be extended indefinitely. So, more financial problems down Gorgie Way? A sense of deja-vu arises once more.
I am not a Hearts fan, but every season I seem to end up expressing my sympathy for those who are. Hearts is a fantastic traditional Scottish club, with Tynecastle guaranteeing an electrifying atmosphere for SPL games every other week. However for too long now the club has had a financial dark cloud hanging over it that seems to be never ending. Every week Hearts fans must sit and wonder what the next piece of news is regarding money difficulties. The players undoubtedly must ponder whether or not they will be paid on time each month. The situation has once again turned into a complete and utter farce.
But with such problems, you have to look to the top, and a lack of leadership and honesty has been displayed in the Hearts boardroom for a long time. Vladimir Romanov has got to be the most eccentric and flamboyant owner in Scottish football history. He seems keen to chase a dream of challenging for titles and winning trophies but seems not so keen to spend money doing so. In mid November, Romanov and the board announced of inevitable cuts and a nightmare doomsday scenario that the club was running out of money to operate on a day to day basis. More evidence of Scottish football’s lack of sustainability with Rangers in the lower divisions? That’s a story and argument for another day.
In the week’s build up to a game against St Mirren on November 17, word coming out of Hearts, also echoed by manager John McGlynn, was that the club needed to raise funds quickly in order for the game to go ahead. That it did, and the Jambos were able to produce a resilient 1-0 home victory thanks to a Danny Grainger goal at which over 16,000 loyal fans turned up to support the team.
However in the season of good will, Hearts’ position was recently described as “perilous” by director Sergejus Fedototovas, Romanov’s right hand man. A recent “Save Our Hearts” campaign and a series of fundraising events was reported to have brought in over £1 million for the club. Yet January departures are inevitable with as much being confirmed, and no money is to be made available to invest. Good luck to McGlynn.
In recent times, Hearts have lost key players like Ian Black and David Templeton to rival clubs. Hearts fans may ask where exactly is all this money being put into the club going and what towards? Well good luck finding that out, despite the recent arrival on a trial basis of goalscorer Arturas Rimkevicius from Lithaunian football. A name that is unlikely to set enthusiasm sparks alight despite an out and out striker being something the club has been crying out for all season.
It is without question McGlynn has his hands tied, with support from the powers that be above him being very minimal in these dark days for the club. McGlynn, an honest Scotsman, has come out and said with the funds from the looming January sales, he will hope to bring in other players on a lot less money. But if not, he will carry on as normal. An act of defiance once more.
Despite a lack of leadership at the top and the misdemeanors of the ever charismatic Romanov, Hearts have always been a honest club epitomized this season by the manager himself. This season’s squad contains seasoned pros and proven SPL players such as Andy Webster, Marius Zaliukas, Darren Barr, Andrew Driver and Ryan Stevenson. Stevenson a man who had previously walked out on the club having failed to receive his wages on time for the umpteenth time. You may ask what the attraction was to come back.
Well for me, that much is obvious. The history, the stadium, and a group of passionate supporters at an average of which 12,000 turn up for every home match. Outside of the Old Firm, Hearts could arguably be described as the biggest club in Scottish football.
As I referred to at the start of this post, my heart goes out to all Hearts associates at this time of trouble. Scottish football without Hearts is unthinkable and would be such a shame, I think even Hibs fans would admit that! For the first time in as long as I can remember, Romanov has come out and said he is willing to sell his shares in the club. My prediction: if that doesn’t happen, Hearts may well be driven into the Abyss.