Hearts fans woke up this morning to news that was as stunning as it was horrific.
Their club is now in freefall. Ann Budge, who is often talked about in Scottish football circles as though she were some kind of master of all she surveyed, has had her bluff called.
Her players have refused her “proposals” – made at the barrel of a gun – that they all take a 50% cut in their salaries.
The threat was that they would have their contracts torn up if they did not agree, a bizarre tactic not unlike the one Cleavon Little tries in Blazing Saddles to such great effect.
The players have said they will accept deferments instead.
Hearts may or may not be able to agree to that, but the players have rejected any notion of “taking one of the team”, which is especially absurd when you consider that Hearts have actually been caught approaching agents with a view to next season … that makes their actions in trying to force a wage cut on the players to be brazen beyond belief.
The upshot of all this, of course, is that Hearts are just about done.
They stand to lose a significant part of their first team squad, and that means even voiding the league won’t save them from a terrible fate here. They may remain an SPL club next season – doubtful in itself – but they are a club that is going to take a terrible hit from these events.
Hearts should welcome a return to the Championship at this point; I believe it would be in their best interests to return there, and to rebuild their shattered club from that position. It does them no good to chase the SPL slot at this point … the ball is up on the slates.
All the posturing in the world won’t prevent a total collapse at Hearts.
Budge did not have a good hand, and she has played it disastrously.
Those who think the woman who gave Craig Levein carte blanche to ruin that club is some kind of future leader in the game … look at the mess she’s made of this.
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