Ann Budge: Hearts need their identity back because there wasn't enough passion in games
New German manager has the personality to bring change at Tynecastle
Ann Budge wants Daniel Stendel to give Hearts their identity back after watching the team lack passion for too long. The club owner today admitted she is trying something different by hiring the German manager but felt she could no longer tolerate listless displays on the field.
Stendel favours an energetic, attacking style of play and Budge is aware supporters want to see that approach return to Tynecastle Park after the tenures of Craig Levein and Ian Cathro. She admitted Stendel is a risk but said it is one worth taking to revive the Edinburgh club, who sit joint-bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership.
“I think the one thing I did get clear in my head is that there is a risk no matter what we do,” said Budge, who has given Stendel a two-and-a-half-year contract. “If I had brought in a clone of Craig it would have been a risky and there would have been criticism, so I don’t think it would have mattered who I brought in.
“Daniel is a risk and I think he said that himself. It would be great if he can go and win the next three, four or five games but if we don’t, I don’t think it means it is a failed appointment. We are trying a different way.
“Like all the supporters, or most of them, I was watching games and thinking there wasn’t enough passion, or whatever, and wondering what was going wrong. His style will be different and I think he is a very passionate guy, a very straightforward guy.
“If you don’t work hard enough you will know because I don’t think he pulls punches. He has only been in one day and I have already seen evidence of that. His approach is different and his personality.”
Budge expects Stendel’s Hearts side to show no fear regardless of the opposition. “I think that is important and he isn’t coming in and immediately thinking, ‘I will put that one down as no points from that one’,” she added.
“He is very consistent and he will play the way he plays, no matter who we play against. That will bring its own risks but I think that will be his approach. We have spoken about this since I first got involved. We always said we want a Hearts style of play – so if you start in the academy, that was the way you played football and it was the same as you progressed through.
“We kind of lost that, for reasons we all know, but we want to bring that back. We want to bring Hearts identity back. That’s something we talked a lot about.”
The owner also said there is pressure on her regarding Stendel’s appointment. “If I get it right, I will be back to being everyone’s favourite whatever. If I get it wrong, I will get stick. I am too long in the tooth to worry about it and I don’t have a career at stake, let’s put it that way. Maybe the next person can do better.
“The timing is quite helpful because, as you know, I am about to hand over the shareholding [next year] so I won’t be the majority shareholder. If people want change then, it is in their hands to get change.”