Date: 1st February 2008 at 4:15pm
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I’m quite sure that after the door closed on the transfer window last night, the vast majority of the Hearts support would have been left distinctly underwhelmed by the lack of activity involving our beleaguered club.

Out of both cups, sitting third bottom of the SPL table and having been managerless for the entire campaign so far, some fans were hoping for a ‘star name’ or two to help lift the spirits a little, even if such
a signing would be little more than a piece of paper over the considerable cracks at Tynecastle. Instead Hearts have only made a single signing, and that was a player that we knew would be coming to the club from the beginning of the season after his loan spell with Kaunas was over (Screpis). And if one of our latest members’ analysis of this player proves to be accurate, it would appear that we may have fallen short in our attempts to find a man capable of trouser-droppingly exciting play.

However, is it really time to be looking out the razor blades just yet? In some people’s eyes I’m quite sure that it is, and I can completely understand that, but let’s just suppose that Hearts had gone out and signed a good few players in the last week or so. Would that really have done us any good? It might have helped to lift the spirits for the time being, but it’s this sort of short-term thinking that has damaged Hearts so much in recent years, so I don’t think that it’s necessarily a bad thing that money hasn’t been shelled out on yet more players that probably wouldn’t have been around for long anyway. We also have the perennial problem of still not having a proper manager in place, which is another good reason for the club not to be signing new players.

I spoke to some people who were at the Shareholders’ Dinner last night where Pedro Lopez was in attendance and they seem to have come away from that reasonably encouraged. Now I’m not going to pretend to you that I believe everything (or even anything!) that the board members come out and tell us at these gatherings, as frankly we’ve been lied to enough since Romanov came to Hearts to know better. I’ve also gone to these dinners myself in the past and have seen the wool pulled over people’s eyes right in front of me by the likes of Roman Romanov and his cronies, so I certainly would be very cautious about any positive comments coming back from something like that.

However what they did say certainly did sound like the club was now taking a much more strategic view on things these days. The reason given for our lack of transfer activity was that they were too busy focusing their efforts on employing the right manager, and that several candidates have already been interviewed. They also said that once the ‘right man’ has been appointed, that we should expect a considerable amount of transfer activity in the summer once he has had the time to assess the squad and identify some signing targets.

If this is true (and that is very much up for debate!) then I’d be delighted that at long last the club appear to know what their most immediate priority is. The rest of this season, unless Hearts get drawn into a relegation battle (a hopefully unlikely scenario), is pretty much a write-off and can be used for experimentation. It really is the ideal time to bring in a new manager now, as there will be no immediate pressure to get things sorted out and he’ll have a reasonable amount of time to see what the current personnel can and can’t do, before deciding which positions he’d like to strengthen. Of course, this is on the assumption that we can bring someone in before the end of the season, which admittedly is not a given.

If I choose to believe the above then would I just falling for yet another bone being thrown to the crowd by Romanov? Maybe, maybe not. I’m becoming increasingly cynical caused by a combination of age and…..just being a Hearts supporter(!), so I’m tempting to say that this is probably yet another load of old bollox to keep us ticking over. But if it’s not and things genuinely are being considered in a much more logical way, then perhaps things aren’t quite as bad as some of us may think……….


7 Replies to “What Now For Hearts?”

  • Whilst it’s frustrating that there was very little movement in the transfer window, I’m actually quite encouraged by that. I would have been quite worried if we had brought in a number of players without actually knowing who the boss is going to be. Good players rarely come up in January, with most players making their move during the summer. The most important signing we can possibly make between now and then is a manager. Without that, no amount of player signings will turn Hearts’ fortunes around. This season is almost a write-off, it’s time to knock it all down and start again. That needs fresh blood in both the playing and managerial staff. But you can’t have one without the other.

  • Agreed. Remember we signed all those players in the window 2 years ago under Rix? Everyone was excited, but look where we ended up? Ludicrous when you think about it.

  • Excellent article, Mr H. Sums up my thoughts too. At least the regime are still giving some info to shareholders. Now for a cynical comment – How many times have we heard football chairmen talk about the “importance of getting the right man”. Usually the person appointed gets sacked within 2 years anyway, so we should perhaps treat “the right man” talk as mythical nonsense – a slur not unique to this regime.

  • Yeah they say this sort of stuff all the time. The big problem we have is that our board have no track record of getting the right man – ever. Burley was Phil Anderton’s appointment, so this current lot are only ever used to hiring puppets, not football managers of distinction. We could be in for another disappointment here gentlemen…in fact, I’m expecting one.

  • I know what you’re saying, but Campbell Ogilvie has some experience of hiring football managers with distinction however, so there is hope there. To be honest, although Burley was the last good manager we had, we’ve had several before him. JJ, Levein, Robbo, etc. It’s human nature though to prepare oneself for the worst – that way we’re at worst disappointed and at best pleasantly surprised. Chin up lads.

  • Yeah fair enough Ogilvie does have the experience – I just hope he has the necessary clout. The 3 managers you mention were before the VR era had started in earnest but we have to hope that lessons have been learned…

  • If the info relayed by Mr. H is accurate, then a new manager may be appointed in the next few weeks. With us being out of both Cups, then avoiding relegation is the only worthwhile achievement left – we’d all like to think that can be achieved before the split. I’d like to see a couple of our youngsters given a few games in the first team too – we keep hearing that the academy is building a crop of promising players in the U-17 and U-19 teams. At some stage the best of the U-19 lads have to be tested at senior level, and this could be an ideal chance to do it. Our U-19 lads are mid-table in the league, having scored a mediocre number of goals (compared to many other teams). If we could look 2 years into the future and see that (say) 4 of these lads would make a big positive impact in the team, then it would (almost) make seasons like the current one worth enduring. Of course, a competent manager with an eye for bringing in a couple of good older players to assist the youngsters would help enormously.

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