Date: 18th May 2008 at 4:40pm
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After nearly two weeks and many votes cast, popular opinion is suggesting that the Hearts Scottish Cup heroes of 1998 were a class above their 2006 counterparts.

Unfortunately the Hearts support never fully got the chance to see just how good either side could have become, for very different reasons: the ’98 side quickly dismantled due to Hearts’ lack of financial clout and the need to sell top players to appease the bank (as we lamented over in a previous article), whereas Vladimir Romanov’s apparent personal crusade to destroy everything he’d created at Tynecastle saw the same thing happening to the stars of 2006. So we really only had 6-9 months per side to judge how good we think they were.

But despite this, when asked which of these sides you thought was the best, more than 75% of you opted for the 1998 vintage.

Perhaps a lot of this is nostalgia-fuelled, and if we conducted this poll in say ten years time, we may well get a different answer. Maybe we’ll try that…

Many of us had the pleasure of seeing players from both sides at Robbie Neilson’s testimonial match last weekend, and I think although we loved the likes of Skacel and Brellier (who sadly didn’t make it because he missed his flight!), the ’98 guys definitely had more of a genuine rapport with the fans, possibly because many of them were at the club for much longer than any of the ’06 squad.

I found it difficult to pick which side I’d rather have to be honest, but if pushed I probably would have gone for the ’98 team, but only because by the time Hearts won the cup in ’06, the squad was already starting to crack. There’s no doubt in my mind that had George Burley been able to build upon what he started that year, then that side could easily have gone onto become the best we’d ever seen in the modern era, but sadly that wasn’t to be and we ended up with a shadow of the side that it truly could have been – that showed with the way they struggled to beat Gretna in the final. Burley’s team would have annihilated that lot, and arguably would have done the same to the class of ’98.

I suppose it’s one of those great footballing debates that has no correct answer isn’t it? It’s fun talking about it though….it certainly beats lamenting about our current depressing state!