Hearts confirm Daniel Stendel's exit as Jorg Sievers and Dale Tonge also leave Tynecastle

German’s contract was not valid after relegation
Daniel Stendel's Hearts contract became invalid after the club were relegated from the Premiership.Daniel Stendel's Hearts contract became invalid after the club were relegated from the Premiership.
Daniel Stendel's Hearts contract became invalid after the club were relegated from the Premiership.

Daniel Stendel’s Hearts departure was confirmed in a statement today after the club replaced the German manager with Robbie Neilson.

Definitive talks took place between owner Ann Budge and Stendel before the pair finally severed ties.

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Neilson returned to Tynecastle Park from Dundee United on Sunday in a surprise appointment which left Stendel out of a job.

Hearts’ relegation to the Championship rendered his contract invalid, for his agreement was only applicable when working in the Premiership.

Although he revealed a willingness to return only last week, his departure was confirmed in an announcement by Budge. Also leaving are Stendel’s assistants Jorg Sievers and Dale Tonge.

Budge’s statement on the club website read: “Let me begin by warmly welcoming Robbie Neilson back to the club as first-team manager. Robbie will take up his duties, officially, on 1st July, 2020.

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“The news that Robbie is to return to Hearts has taken everyone somewhat by surprise. It was my stated intention to prioritise the appointment of a Sporting Director, prior to confirming any new manager appointment.

“However, in all businesses, even ‘the best laid plans’ may have to be altered to cope with changing circumstances.

“While Robbie agreeing to come back is excellent news, it does mean we have to say goodbye to Daniel.

“The uncertainties surrounding Scottish Football in general and Hearts’ situation in particular, has put enormous pressure on all of us, not least Daniel.

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“He has shown great patience and understanding throughout this enormously challenging time. I cannot thank him enough for the support he has given to our Club.

“None of us expected our relationship to be so short-lived but then none of us ever expected to have to deal with the effects of a global pandemic.

“It is clear that all clubs are having to rethink their short-medium plans and we are no different.

“I do want to thank Daniel very sincerely for his fantastic support and leadership during his short spell with us.

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“He made a big impact on our operation and we are much better for having had his services. Had it not been for Covid-19 and its impact, I have no doubt that Daniel would have had a very successful and enjoyable time here at Hearts.

“Daniel became a firm fans’ favourite in a very short space of time. On behalf of everyone here at the Club, the Board, the staff, the players and, of course, the supporters, I want to wish him and his assistants, Jorg Sievers and Dale Tonge, the very best of luck for their future success. They will always be welcomed back here at Tynecastle.”

Stendel was appointed Hearts manager in place of Craig Levein last December after a lengthy pursuit by Budge. He took charge for the first time in a 1-0 defeat by St Johnstone at Tynecastle Park on December 14.

In all, he oversaw 17 games and departs with a record of five wins, five draws and seven defeats. His last match in charge was the 1-0 loss at St Mirren on March 11, two days before Scottish football was forced into shutdown by the coronavirus outbreak.

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That result left Hearts four points adrift at the bottom of the Premiership table. They were relegated when more than 80 per cent of SPFL clubs voted to end the 2019/20 season early based on average points per game.

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