Gary Mackay: Lack of leadership at Hearts and FoH leaves me bamboozled
The comments coming out of Tynecastle in the last week have left me completely bamboozled.
One player has said the squad is 100 per cent behind the manager and another, who was captain in the defeats against Brora Rangers and Queen of the South, has said they could see it coming.
I was involved in a lot of difficult situations as a Hearts player. I joined the club when we were a yo-yo team, but I never went into a game against a non-league team feeling like a defeat was about to happen.
It’s totally dumbfounding. If we see results like that coming then we are in perilous state as a football club. And I say that even though we are running away with a league that it kind of being left for us to win, rather than us going on and winning it.
At this point, this is when you see that leadership starts at the top of any club. We have a new chief executive who has not put his head above the parapet, plus a current owner who is about to hand her majority shareholding to Foundation of Hearts.
Both the Hearts and the FoH statements last week after the Brora defeat were as weak as they could be. If this is an indication of the Foundation speaking for the fans, then what is it going to be like when they actually own the club on behalf of the fans?
Last July, the ‘Only Hearts’ mantra came out as we tried to rally the troops after being unfairly relegated. The supporters were totally behind the club at that point and I think the monthly contributions last July were around the £155,000 mark. By March, they were down to £139,000.
Is a £16,000 reduction in contributions be a warning sign to the Hearts board? We had a real chance to galvanise the club and the support base last summer, but now you’re asking if this is another missed opportunity.
I hear previous head coaches talking about a lack of leadership on the pitch and this has been mentioned a few times. I’ve spoken of players looking like they are frightened to attack a ball at a corner-kick for fear of getting hurt.
Football is about hurting at times – hurting as an individual and hurting as a group. However, if you don’t go on to the park and lay yourself on the line for your club, then you leave yourself open to criticism. Right now, that’s what some players are doing.
I think of different players from the past like Walter Kidd, Kenny Black, Neil Berry, Stefano Salvatori and a few others I could name. They set the tempo for the team with their first tackle in a game.
You then thought to yourself: ‘I want to be part of that.’ I don't see that with Hearts just now, although it was evident in some part from Liam Boyce against Queens. Why he was at the edge of our penalty area putting in challenges in the first place is beyond me.
The fundamentals of football haven’t changed. You need to win your individual battle and show your team-mates that you are there for them on the day. They will then respond but it just isn’t happening just now.