What the eff is happening at Hearts?
New manager Daniel Stendel has been cleaning house, relegating club captain Christophe Berra to the reserves, coach Jon Daly was pushed out and Glenn Whelan was released, after learning of his omission from their Boxing Day game via WhatsApp.
Scott McIntosh from Hearts YouTube channel Amoruso Lets It Run joined the Totally Scottish Football Show this week to try and make sense of it all.
“Where do you start? I don’t know. Even my moral compass as a football fan has been so messed up in the last few weeks. “We can definitely sack people through WhatsApp groups, it’s fine, we just need to stave off relegation.” Anything goes now, according to most fans.
To say the least, there’s not a consistent message coming out of the club.
“There definitely seem to be mixed messages. Players like Craig Halkett and Conor Washington have mentioned they’re enjoying coaching again, which didn’t seem to be the narrative from players in the last six months.
“In terms of Jon Daly, the perception among the fans was that he wasn’t very highly rated by the players, even when Craig Levein was in charge.
“Because of the situation we’re in, bottom of the league, five points adrift going into the winter break, we seem to almost be saying that getting rid of players via WhatsApp, getting rid of players who have served the club well during two spells…it’s not things you want to see happen generally speaking, but I think we’re just trying to give the new manager the reassurance he needs to clear the decks. Obviously at the end of the season, if it hasn’t worked, naturally some of the decisions that have been taken in the last couple of weeks, we’ll need to look at again.
“I fully back his decisions, but it’s how those decisions have come about that has probably concerned some sections of the support. I understand why you would put someone like Berra in the reserves, if you’ve got no plans to play them in the first-team.
“He is our captain, he has served us well over two spells, and it probably hasn’t been handled the best on a PR basis.”
The big question of course is whether Stendel’s decisions are paying off on the pitch: not immediately in terms of results (he hasn’t won a game yet), but McIntosh was optimistic about performances.
“I have seen the difference – not always in results, but in individual performances. Sean Clare was one that people raved about under the previous manager, but they never seemed to get the best from him. He’s now playing in a position quite alien to him at right wing-back, but he’s actually improved. He looks like a more assured player.
“There are definitely chinks of light, but in terms of the overall results, it does need to change quite drastically.”
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