Gary Mackay: Why I can't get my head around Craig Levein and Austin MacPhee roles at Hearts

Sharing sporting director duties between previous coaching duo worries me

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 4:46 pm
Craig Levein and Austin MacPhee are each doing part of the sporting director's work at Hearts
Craig Levein and Austin MacPhee are each doing part of the sporting director's work at Hearts

My concerns about the football department at Hearts have risen to the fore yet again this week. I am flabbergasted reading in this newspaper that, for the moment, the duties of the sporting director are being shared by Craig Levein and Austin MacPhee.

That isn’t a situation that will appease the supporters of this club. People are genuinely excited by the arrival of Daniel Stendel as manager, and rightly so, yet this news has been really difficult to digest.

I feel the club have actually treated the fans like they are not particularly bright. I had a go about the financial records in a recent column and if I’m wrong on that, I’m big enough and ugly enough to take the criticism. But don’t treat us like we’re wet behind the ears.

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I genuinely don’t want to see anybody lose their job, I absolutely don’t. However, if you are party to what has gone on at Hearts and party to bringing in as many players as Hearts have over the last few years, then questions need raised when you are still given part of the sporting director’s duties.

Then it emerges that the new manager can only have players in when he ships players out, then the people who are going to help ship players in and out are the people responsible in the first place for bringing too many in who weren’t good enough. It’s a total contradiction in terms.

The positivity brought by Daniel Stendel’s appointment right now is only slightly outweighing the negativity from how the rest of the football department is being shaped. Now, I don’t know what Jon Daly brings to the party so I’m not really qualified to comment on that. I do know that Liam Fox is what people nowadays call a “pure Hearts man”. He will be desperate to succeed and brings that desire with him.

Because of what has gone on before, all the monies that have been paid out in the recent past, it looks like we have had to cut our cloth to suit in a sense. It seems the new manager, who has always worked with two assistants, is coming in at Hearts by himself to work with people who are party to the results which led to a managerial change. You genuinely couldn’t make this up.

If it is correct that these guys are not going to be with us come the end of the season, then they shouldn’t be with us now. And if it’s down to finances, then others will happily help out.

For example, make Gary Locke the sporting director on top of his ambassadorial role. I’m sure he would do it for nothing, as would many others, myself included. I’d happily do the sporting director’s job and there will be a queue of others who feel the same.

Even this early in his tenure, the onus is now solely on Daniel Stendel to make sure he gets results from this football team. Ultimately, he is the only fresh face in the whole set-up.