Ex-Hearts captain launches astonishing attack on all facets of Tynecastle club as he takes aim at lack of leadership
Steven Pressley has launched an emotional attack on Ann Budge, Jim Jefferies and all aspects of leadership at Hearts.
The former captain was a guest on BBC Scotland’s Sportsound programme on Monday evening to discuss the issues at Tynecastle. Pressure is being applied to Budge and manager Robbie Neilson amid a string of underwhelming results in 2021, including an embarrassing Scottish Cup exit to Brora Rangers.
Pressley defended his old team-mate, saying he deserved to have this summer to bring more of his own players in, while pointing the finger at those in charge of the club for failing to properly stand by the manager.
He said: "There is a severe lack of leadership within the club at exact this moment in time. In Ann I think you've got a really good women, a really good person, who wants the best for Hearts.
"But she is not showing, in my opinion, real leadership just now. I even look at here statement she made on the back of the disappointment at Brora. This was a time where I felt Robbie needed real support. If you read in depth into the statement she gave him no support.
"I'm looking at guys like Jim Jefferies, who is appointed to the board as an advisor, at a time when Robbie needs stability, support, that guy by his shoulder, I don't see him. I don't see it at all.
"There are issues around this club. There are these people who are within this football club, who are around it, who portray themselves as these great Hearts men and have the best interests of the club at heart, that attach themselves to this club and prey on moments like this, wait on moments like this, love moments like this, that don't stand side by side with the manager. It is a club lacking leadership.”
Pressley then turned his attention to another old team-mate, Christophe Berra. The former club captain, who fills in for Steven Naismith on occasion when the striker is injured, said after the defeat to Brora that it wasn’t a shock because it had been “coming for weeks”.
Pressley continued: "I look again just there at the weekend. Craig (Levein) made comments on the back of the Queen of the South game on Christophe Berra.
"Craig, you were disappointed by his lack of leadership, I was even more disappointed by the lack of leadership he showed on the back of that. At a time where Hearts needed to batten down the hatches, he took the easy option.
"He's had to show strength, take the flack that was coming, understand the situation, and move forward alongside his manager. He didn't, he took the easy option, and I see that far too often.”
The club’s record cap holder also questioned how the club would operate under fan pressure once the Foundation of Hearts took control from Budge this summer.
He added: "Do you know what else concerns me? That it could go under the stewardship of the Foundation of Hearts. You can't have a situation when you are putting money in, and on the back of some disappointing results, you lever the situation within the club.
"You either put the money in unconditionally. Unconditionally. Or not at all.”