Daniel Stendel exclusive: Hearts wage cuts, fighting to survive and working to keep his 'great' job
Daniel Stendel today spoke for the first time about Hearts' cost-cutting measures, admitting he is working without pay to help the club survive and that responsibility for results over the last three months lies with him.
Speaking exclusively to the Evening News from his family home Germany, the manager said he does not know which players will accept a 50 per cent salary cut. However, he insisted Hearts can avoid relegation and is determined to help owner Ann Budge as the coronavirus impacts football.
After Budge asked all staff to drop wages by half, Stendel told her to use his money to pay others. He flew home to be with his family but is ready to return to Edinburgh and resume the season as soon as it is safe to do so.
He expects other Scottish clubs to endure similar, perhaps worse, financial issues over the coming weeks.
"It's a difficult situation. I did not do this for everybody to know about it," he said. "My talk with Ann was about the club and what Ann is trying to do to keep the club up. I thought: 'On one side, you are not doing your normal work. On the other side, the club needs to save money.'
"You have so many people who work for this club and there is no money coming in. What can I do to help? That was the first thing. I want to help Ann and the club. It is different when you can save money from the manager, coaches or players than from normal employees in the office.
"We all want the club to stay up and we want to make sure, after this difficult time, that we still have a club. This was the reason. This is a big club in Scotland and we have the problem of keeping up with the financial situation. I think a lot of other clubs in the Premiership have maybe the same, or maybe more, problems than Hearts."
Hearts employees can agree a 50 per cent cut or terminate their contract. Stendel only arrived at Tynecastle Park in December on a two-and-a-half-year deal.
He can leave for free if Hearts are relegated as his agreement is only valid in Scotland's top flight, but he is motivated to help avoid a demotion.
"What I said to Ann was: 'I know I have responsibility. I take responsibility for the last three months and for the results.' We are all unhappy about this. I can only say we are working hard to change it. I am also disappointed about having not many successful games," he added.
"Maybe from outside it looked easier to change it. We have good players and a good squad but we will do everything to keep this club up. I did not really know so much about the Scottish league before. I knew about the club Hearts and I talked with Ann, but in the last three months I got to know the club so much more.
"This is a great job for me. I want to work for this club and keep this club up. I will do all I can do to make sure that, in the end, can play in the Premiership next year."
He delivered the same message to his players before departing for Germany, but is unsure who will accept reduced wages. "I have no idea, really. I said to Ann and to the players that we need a solution," said Stendel.
"After this break, we want to play for Hearts. For this, we need to keep the club up. I hope it was a good example and for everybody to do their part to keep this club up.
"The club and the health of everybody is more important right now. I cannot look into everybody's decision and why they might do something.
“Normally, everybody wants to help Hearts but I have no information from anyone about their decisions. Ann has explained to everyone what she is trying to do and then everyone needs to decide what they are ready to do.
"We need only players who want to stay at Hearts. In this difficult situation, I cannot speak for everybody that they will do it, but everybody would give some money for the club to keep up. They want to do that for Hearts and these are the players we need to keep us up."