Gary Mackay: Daniel Stendel needs his own men at Hearts - before it's too late

You can tell new manager knows he's got a huge job on his hands

Monday, 16th December 2019, 4:45 pm
New Hearts manager Daniel Stendel. Pic: SNS

I already feel very sorry for Daniel Stendel - the poor man has walked into a circus and, for me, I have some fears that he may be having second thoughts on what he's let himself in for.

Daniel has had his own assistants at Barnsley who he clearly trusts, and trust is a big thing for any manager. He’s identified Andy Kirk to work with just now from within the multitude of people already in our football department, but I suspect he’ll feel he needs his own men in if he’s to have a proper chance of implementing the changes he feels are required.

However, I just hope he’s still here by the time he gets his own men in because the concern for me is that, having realised the size of the task he faces, doubts are creeping in. I don’t know enough about his character, but you could tell from the way he looked after Saturday’s game that he knows he’s got a hell of a lot of issues to batter through. It’s a concern when you hear a new manager say after his first game that it’s going to be a harder job than he initially thought. He will feel he needs new players and new assistants in to sort this mess out.

Sign up to our Hearts newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

People are saying it will all get better when we get some underperforming players out and get new ones in, but that won’t be easy. The likes of Olly Lee, Arnaud Djoum and Ryan Edwards will probably be feeling like they dodged a bullet in getting out in the summer. Will any players of substance, with the required quality and mentality, really want to come into Hearts in our present predicament?

Right now we look a team at genuine threat of relegation. Several people, myself included, have been saying the Hearts players are better than they’ve been showing and that they should be far too good to go down if they are managed properly, but after Saturday’s game against St Johnstone, I think it’s now clear we are in deep trouble. In a really important game for both teams, St Johnstone were the only side that showed any real passion and aggression.

The fundamental concern for me is that unless we cleanse the football department properly, there will still be a hangover from the previous regime. People will say I’m talking nonsense and making something out of nothing by harking back to Craig Levein still being in the background, but I can guarantee you the Hearts players will be wondering what is going on. Every player in that dressing-room will have been at a club where the manager has moved on and when that happens there is always a cleansing of the staff and a new group of staff members walk in to freshen things up.

We must be the first club in history where all the staff members from a failed regime continue to be about the club having an influence. That simply isn’t right, and it will create a negative mood in the background that is likely to prevent Daniel Stendel being able to enjoy a proper fresh start.

I was really disappointed that he didn’t get a win in his first game on Saturday but given the litany of issues that remain at this football club, I wasn’t particularly surprised.