Gary Mackay: Players not paid but a new stadium? It doesn’t add up

We’re not paying the players’ wages, but, incredibly, there’s this talk about moving stadium – it’s just bonkers.

By Gary Mackay
Monday, 31st October 2011, 11:59 am

I can’t understand how Edinburgh City Council, who don’t seem to be loaded with disposable cash, and Heart of Midlothian, who also don’t seem to be awash with disposable cash, plan to get in bed together to build this wonderful stadium that will take the club forward.

Everybody knows I’ve never wanted to move from Tynecastle and if we ever do leave it will be a very sad day. But, all I’ve ever wanted is for the future of the club to be secured so that the next generation of supporters get to enjoy the same pleasure that Heart of Midlothian has given me over the years. If that involves moving to a new stadium, then so be it, but I’d be far more comfortable about it if there was more transparency about what is actually going on at the football club.

I’ve said before, if anyone from the club wants to sit down with myself or one or two others that actually know a bit about the history and tradition of Hearts and what the best way forward is, then we’ll maybe put them right on one or two things. It’s just becoming embarrassing that we’re talking about such a venture when the players haven’t been paid for over two weeks. It doesn’t add up to me.

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The wage issue is clearly a serious one but I’d like to think it’s not related to the fact we’ve lost our last two games because we’ve actually played quite well in both. That said, there has to be a realisation that in any walk of life, if people aren’t being paid their salaries, there will at some point be an effect.

On Saturday, against Kilmarnock, I thought we played well enough considering the circumstances, with the turning point undoubtedly Ian Black’s red card. I praised Ian last week but my first thought when I saw his tackle on Saturday was that he deserved to be sent off.

Because it is Ian making a tackle like that, it probably makes it easier for the ref to make his decision, but that’s not an excuse, it was a sending-off. His feet didn’t come off the ground so he wasn’t trying to go over the top of the ball but I don’t think we can have any complaints about the ref’s decision. From then on, it was always going to be difficult, but I thought we played quite well considering. I’ve been critical of Andy Webster in the past, but Paulo Sergio has got him playing regularly and I thought he was outstanding on Saturday. With Motherwell having pulled further away from us, from the St Mirren game this weekend onwards, we really need to get on a proper run of results and hope that the teams above us start losing or we risk being left behind by our rivals.

As for the manager getting sent to the stand, I admire his passion. But, having read his comments when he last spoke to the newspapers, I detect a degree of frustration on his part about how things are going and I think I’d be the same if I was in his shoes. The supporters, the players and the managers are the most important people at the club, so you need your manager to have passion and I think Paulo has certainly shown that he has that. You don’t want your manager to hide his passion and his opinions and, although it’s maybe got him in a bit of trouble, I don’t think there’s a lot wrong with him being a bit outspoken. Having said that, it’s quite odd that we have a manager who seems to have plenty to say, yet all of a sudden isn’t allowed to express himself to the fans via the media. Like many things at Hearts, it just doesn’t equate.

Elvis has a hit on his hands

I’m seeing a lot of similarities at Falkirk just now with what happened in the early 1980s when Hearts’ hand was forced financially prior to Wallace Mercer taking control of the club.

I can give no higher praise to Steven Pressley other than to say there are a lot of parallels with what he is doing and what Alex MacDonald and Sandy Jardine did at Tynecastle 30 years ago. Elvis has been forced to build a really young team, but, just like that Hearts team I was part of, there’s no shortage of experience for these boys to feed off in the shape of Darren Dods, Steven himself, Alex Smith and now Stevie Crawford, who has come in to replace Lee Bullen. When I was coming through I was learning from guys like Roddy MacDonald and Jimmy Bone as well as the management team, and I can safely say from experience that these young Falkirk boys will be getting an invaluable grounding under astute, experienced football men. The fact they didn’t fall flat in the league on Saturday after their big win in the League Cup in midweek suggests Steven has instilled a real degree of professionalism.