Barely 2 weeks after Jim Jefferies “came home”, Saturday`s match against Falkirk will take on added interest following the announcement that another Hearts legend has been appointed to succeed Eddie May as Bairns` manager.
Although Steven Pressley has gone from hero to zero in the eyes of some Hearts fans after his dismissal in late 2006, Elvis will always have my admiration and respect – simply because he gave 8 years loyal service (yes?.loyal) to our club, which in this day and age is a rarity. To chastise the man for reaching the end of his tether by speaking out against the against the tide of “puppet” interference has never made any sense to me. What other options did he have as a professional club captain ? He has already shown glimpses of the steely determination which made him such a fine captain, and it`s little wonder the Falkirk board have opted to entrust their SPL survival to him and wily old Alex Smith.
Ironically, Elvis`s first appearance in a Tynecastle dugout as a manager will coincide with the first appearance there (2nd time around, if you see what I mean) of the man who brought him to Hearts in the first place – Jim Jefferies.
Another feature of the match will be the appearance of future Jambo Darren Barr for the visitors. Let`s hope that he ends up on the losing side this time !!
The dispute with Jose Goncalves regarding his refusal to sign a new contract is continuing – although JJ has told us that he believes a final decision from Jose will be forthcoming tomorrow. The concept of a club “punishing” a player when he doesn`t comply with their FUTURE wishes is an odd one. Bruno Aguiar and Robbie Neilson were picked by Csaba right up till their contracts expired, and this didn`t seem to anger Romanov. However Andy Webster and Ibrahim Tall were each the subject of his wrath when they intimated no interest in signing new contracts, and were frozen out of the team. So, what is going on ?
Well, the likely motive is – as always – financial opportunity for the regime. Players like Goncalves (and Webster and Tall before him) will have been earmarked for “profit-taking” at the time of purchase – and the idea is simply to keep him under contract for as long as possible until a suitable bid comes in. Nuremburg`s offer last summer seems to have fallen short of what Romanov wanted, and no others have come in. So either they have to let him walk away for nothing, or try to entice him to sign another contract – with the intention of selling him before it expires. Cue the “carrot and stick” approach
So the carrot is a nice attractive salary ? and the stick is the promise of freezing him out the team for the remainder of his current contract if he refuses to sign a new one. The fact that he harbours hopes of making Portugal`s World Cup squad is a convenient bargaining chip which Hearts are using.
Of course, the downside to all this is that Hearts are depriving themselves of a good player if he simply wants to move on in the summer at the end of his current contract. For most of us, there are other things in life beyond money after all. But not in the UBIG universe – anyone who refuses the Romanov Rouble is just asking to be punished !!
JJ appears to share the regime`s policy on this, having had to deal with the Paul Ritchie situation 11 years ago. On this occasion, he has very limited playing options due to injuries. I`m sure he is trying his hardest to persuade Jose to sign on the dotted line simply to fill a place in his team on Saturday !!
What is your opinion on the Goncalves situation ? Are Hearts being unfair ? Should Hearts REALLY be paying 10k + per week to anyone … especially a defender ? What should we be offering to pay a decent striker ?