OVERDUE wages will not be processed by Hearts’ Lithuanian hierarchy until later this week at the earliest, with some players fearing salaries will not arrive until well into next week.
Senior members of the first-team squad are angered by the delay but are reluctant to complain officially to their union, the PFA Scotland, for fear of retribution from above.
Paulo Sergio, the Hearts manager, persuaded players not to lodge an official complaint when October’s wages ran 19 days late. He told the squad that such action would only make relations with majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov worse. Without a formal, signed complaint from players, the SPL claim they are powerless to intervene in the matter, which leaves the Hearts squad in limbo for the moment.
A total of 33 players have received November’s wages, due on the 16th of the month, although they are mostly youths.
Club officials have pledged to process salaries “at the earliest opportunity” but, in a statement last week, admitted to “an income shortfall” and the need “to identify new income opportunities”.
Hearts remain confident that money will arrive from Lithuania, where Romanov and his right-hand man Sergejus Fedotovas are based, and that all players will be paid in full.
Meanwhile, as first revealed in yesterday’s Evening News, three of Hearts’ most promising young players have joined Raith Rovers on loan until January. Jason Holt, David Smith and Jamie Walker hope to gain valuable first-team experience at Stark’s Park to prepare them for promotion to the senior squad at Tynecastle in the New Year. “It’s part of their development,” explained Darren Murray, Hearts’ under-19 coach, on the club website. “I think they have outgrown the Under 19s.
“John McGlynn [the Raith manager] will look after them. These lads now have to fight for their place in a team that isn’t picking up a great deal of results, but I’m sure with John’s coaching ability that will change.
“He now has three of the best young players in Scotland and we’re hopeful for them. When they come back they can maybe push for a place in the first team squad.”