Lewis Moore reveals his Hearts career is over after being told he has no future at Tynecastle
Lewis Moore is preparing to leave Hearts after 13 years having been told he has no future at the club.
Management informed the winger last month that he was surplus to requirements before loaning him to Arbroath for the rest of the season.
Although his Hearts contract runs until summer 2022, Moore is resigned to moving away from Tynecastle Park to rebuild his career this summer.
His association with the club stretches back 13 years since he first joined the Riccarton youth academy. He hopes to play regularly at Arbroath and then find a new club for the 2021/22 campaign.
The Evening News revealed in December that the player was due for talks with Hearts manager Robbie Neilson ahead of a possible loan move during the January transfer window. The outcome of those discussions leaves Moore heading for the exit and uncertain where he will play next season.
“I read your article and then they spoke to me a couple of days after that. I knew it was coming,” he said, speaking exclusively to the Evening News.
“The manager said he doesn’t see me having a long-term future at the club. Football is a game of opinions so there’s no point wasting my time there. If you aren’t playing then you aren’t happy. At my age, I’ve got to be playing every week.
Writing on the wall
“I had a feeling right from the start this season. I’d be playing 20 minutes in a first-team friendly and then I’d be in the reserves for their pre-season games. The writing was on the wall, then there was that meeting last month.
“There’s no point in me sitting crying about it. I just need to get out there. Hearts isn’t the be-all-and-end-all. It doesn’t matter if I score ten goals, it’s just not going to be.”
Moore has played only 71 minutes of competitive football since last March when the coronavirus pandemic forced the country into lockdown.
Ironically, at that time he was a Hearts first-team regular under Neilson’s predecessor Daniel Stendel. He had also been called into the Scotland Under-21 squad alongside team-mate Andy Irving.
“Honestly, that’s just my luck. I was asking myself: ‘Is there a point in me doing this?’ When things were good I was supposed to go away with Scotland and then football stopped altogether because of coronavirus.
“I thought I had something to offer this year, definitely. People saw the last nine games I played before the shutdown last year. When I’m full of confidence, I can play at the top level.
“I’ve just been so unlucky over the last few seasons. I’ve missed so much football so I just want to play now because, before I know it, I’m going to need to hang up the boots.
Can’t sit in the house
It is worth remembering that he is still only 22, although the craving for regular game time is understandable. A loan move to Falkirk at the start of last season saw him playing left-back when he wasn’t sitting on the bench.
“If I don’t play between now and the end of the season, add that to the start of last season [at Falkirk] and it amounts to a year and a half where I’ve barely played,” admitted Moore.
“There’s no point in training every day and then sitting in the house at the weekend, especially in my situation when I’m not going to have a team in the summer.”
He was therefore more than agreeable when Arbroath submitted a loan proposal on transfer deadline day last week. “I trained in the morning with Hearts and went home, then I got a phonecall saying Arbroath wanted me on loan,” he explained.
“I’d heard about them from Craig Wighton and Connor Smith, who have been on loan there. I also know a few of the Arbroath boys. Everybody had good things to say. It’s obviously a bit different.”
Manager Dick Campbell left his new recruit as an unused substitute during Saturday’s win against Dunfermline. Rather than fearing more inactivity and frustration, Moore is convinced he will get an opportunity at Gayfield.
“Arbroath are unbeaten in five games and just beat Dunfermline 2-0. I just need to wait for a chance,” he said. “I spoke to Dick Campbell and he said he’s an honest and fair guy.
“He said I’ll get my opportunity and when that happens I need to take it. He told me he sees me as a winger. Not a wing-back, though. I couldn’t deal with that any more,” he laughed.
There hasn’t been much to smile about amid a difficult period in what is still a burgeoning career. Moore is thankful for the camaraderie at Arbroath, where the majority of Campbell’s squad have been together for several seasons.
The new arrival is enjoying a change of scenery. “It’s some laugh. We were training the other night and you couldn’t even see for the snow coming down in front of you,” he chuckled.
“We were doing hard runs across the pitch and by the end of the night we had done 6km in total. The manager was shouting telling us we’ve got to earn our money.
“I couldn’t believe it but I enjoyed it. The fitness levels at Arbroath are incredible. I could’ve waited another few weeks and maybe gone to a team in League One or League Two, but you don’t know when those divisions are going to get going again.
“Arbroath are in the Championship and their fitness is one of the things I noticed. Hopefully it pays off for me.”