The sacking of George Burley as Hearts manager in 2005 brought about one of Scottish football’s biggest ‘what if?’ moments.
The Tynecastle side sat top of the Scottish Premier League unbeaten after ten fixtures with a three point lead over Celtic.
Club owner Vladimir Romanov’s decision to relieve Burley of his position prior to the team’s home game with Dunfermline Athletic sent shock waves through Scottish football and the reverberations were felt further afield in the footballing world.
The reaction was largely a mix between disbelief and anger. Yet, for one player on the books at Hearts, Burley’s exit was a relief.
Jason Thomson had made his debut as a 17-year-old the previous season against Inverness CT under John Robertson but would be out the picture come the 2005-2006 campaign.
The right-back, who came through the Hearts academy and played more than 40 times, felt young players were ignored by Burley.
He told the Lower League Ramblings podcast: “When I first played you had Steven Pressley. He was obviously a massive character, a massive player for Hearts at the time. He was actually really good with all the young boys.
“You had him, Andy Webster, Paul Hartley, Rudi Skacel. It was good but hard. You learnt a lot off these guys, they were top professionals at the time.
“Under the George Burley era, the team was littered with international players. It was hard coming through.
“I didn’t like George Burley at all. I was probably one of the very few who was happy to see him get sacked. He just didn’t take a liking to me and he wasn’t very good with young boys to be honest. But nobody would really care about that because at the time we were ten unbeaten.
He added: “To my knowledge I don’t know the proper reason why he got sacked. I think Romanov had a bit of a power trip and didn’t quite like the fact that George Burley had a bit of success, fans loved him and that sort of stuff. Romanov was the type of guy to just go ‘I can do what I want’.”
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