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The Difference Between Hearts On The Pitch And Off It Is Stark

Date: 12th August 2019

When I currently look at Heart of Midlothian Football Club I see two different things. 

Off the field, the business side of the club seems to be working really well. Yet on the pitch the football side looks stale. 

What’s particularly strange is that the footballing aspect is missing all the things that have made the non-footballing side so strong. 

In the boardroom, The Jambos have a strong focal point in Ann Budge. The Chairwoman is focussed and has built a legacy off the park with talented individuals running the business. 

For example, The Big Hearts charity is a superb organisation. I’ve had a few dealings with them and they are super organised. They have long term plans and are reaching goals all the time. They’ve helped use the club’s identity to give back to the local community. They’re a well oiled machine! 

The Foundation of Hearts have been huge supporters of the current regime and hope to one day takeover the ownership of the club. Last summer the foundation pledged £3m to help Hearts complete work on their new main stand. That shows us that they’re reliable, dedicated and forward thinking. 

So to recap; off the pitch Hearts seem strong, reliable, organised and planning for the future. 

These are all things that the football team seem to be lacking. 

The Jambos recorded just two league wins in their last ten Scottish Premiership outings of last season. Things haven’t improved this term. They lost their opening fixture of the season at Aberdeen and they were lucky to pick up a draw at home against Ross County

Against The Staggies, Hearts lacked a game-plan. Often they were too narrow, lacked imagination, weren’t balanced and looked very disjointed. 

The buck has to stop with manager Craig Levein. The experienced gaffer has had a few transfer windows and time to implement longterm plans. Yet I just don’t see any improvements. 

The transfer policy at Tynecastle seems to resemble Levein throwing multiple darts hoping to hit a bullseye. He hasn’t hit that golden dart yet and the revolving door policy has made things difficult for the squad to build on any consistency or momentum. 

They also seem to rely too heavily on Steven Naismith. Now I love Naismith, he’s a great player but he is soon to be thirty-three years of age and has unfortunately suffered from serious injuries during his career. 

Now I get that Naismith can be a positive influence on the team and he has the ability that can change games but the team shouldn’t completely suffer when the veteran isn’t on the pitch. 

I think the team needs to have a longterm strategy and stick to it. If it’s to bring through youngsters from their youth set-up, then stick to that plan. I think we’ve seen at least three different philosophies under Levein. That constant chopping and changing doesn’t seem to be working down Gorgie way. 

So to recap: on the park the team aren’t strong, reliable, organised and seem to lack a longterm plan.

The differences between the running of the club and the running of the football team are very stark.

It could come to a point when the differences between the two start to cause divisions within the club. A quick look on Twitter will show you that the Hearts supporters have grown weary of Levein’s tactics.

Now some of these same fans will be members of the Foundation of Hearts.

Ann Budge on the other hand clearly supports Levein. Before the season kicked off, she said this about her team’s boss (Via Edinburgh Evening News):

“This is an unfinished job for Craig. He started something similar at Dundee United years ago and didn’t get to finish it. He absolutely believes we are on the cusp of seeing some of these rewards. I still believe that, too.” 

The real issue arises if the discontent continues. 

Craig Levein has thick skin and will power through but without strong results or good performances then the discontent will only grow. 

This could become the biggest issue for Ann Budge and the Foundation of Hearts. 

It could be a time when the business head has to rule the heart! 

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