Date: 5th June 2007 at 12:53pm
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Former Hearts full-back Alan Maybury has been transfer listed by Leicester City. I wonder what the Hearts fans would think if he were to come back to Tynecastle?

I always liked Maybury. Right-back is never a position that Hearts have ever been blessed with lots of talent in during my time supporting the club. No matter how many times people refer
to Walter Kidd as a ‘legend’, I’ll still think that the guy was absolutely hopeless! And since Kidd it’s usually been a case of either playing someone out of position there (Alan McLaren, Gary Mackay, George Wright, Davie Weir….even Karipidis and Tall), or settling for a right-back who is average at best (Robbie Neilson).

I can think of only two truly decent right-backs that Hearts have had: Stevie Frail and Alan Maybury. Sadly, Frail’s Hearts career (and career as a whole) was hampered by injury and he was only really able to show us what he was capable of for a couple of seasons at the most under Sandy Clark and then Tommy McLean. He was a relevation when Clark signed him: he could tackle, was very aware and surprisingly effective going forward. Does anyone remember that unbelievable goal he scored against Aberdeen at semi-bulldozed Tynecastle? Great stuff.

Maybury was a different sort of player from Frail, a more conventional full-back perhaps. When we first signed him, he tended to be quite erratic and his performances were inconsistent. For every great tackle he put in, there would be a moment of madness that would see him needlessly booked (or worse) or gifting possession to the opposition. But he soon steadied himself and became one of the most consistent performers in the side as Craig Levein turned Hearts into the most physically difficult team to play against in the country. Maybury was quick and aggressive and latterly his attacking play became much more productive, which saw him contributing a couple of spectacular goals as well as setting up quite a few as well from his whipped in crosses.

The only thing that really annoyed me about Maybury was that Levein started playing him at left-back to accommodate Robbie Neilson, who had successfully deputised for Maybury when he was injured for a game at Dundee. Levein didn’t want to drop Robbie, so Maybury slotted in at left-back instead. For me this ended up weakening both sides of the Hearts defence, as Neilson was nowhere near the right-back that Maybury was on one side, whereas Maybury has serious limitations on the other. I always found this a baffling decision by an otherwise intelligent Hearts manager.

Personally I can’t see Maybury being a target for Hearts now, but I do think he’d be better than anything we currently have there. I know that Karipidis has his fans on this site in that role, but for me he’s not a natural right-back and neither is Ibrahim Tall. Robbie Neilson is a better player than the one he was when Maybury was last at Tynecastle, but I’m still not sure he’s as good a player as the Irishman.

There’s probably more chance of seeing Maybury in a Dundee United strip next season……….

 

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