ANDREW Driver hopes Hearts can emulate his personal rejuvenation as he prepares to bid a final farewell to the administration-hit club.
Driver’s official exit from Hearts should be ratified in the coming days as he joins Houston Dynamo on a permanent basis following his initial loan move in February. That transfer came as part of the club’s cost-cutting scheme but it proved insufficient to prevent the plunge into administration, which Driver felt was inevitable.
“The way the club was being run, it wasn’t ideal,” said Driver. “Obviously it is worrying at the moment, people have lost their jobs but hopefully it will be the right thing in the long run. I keep in touch with some of the guys and it is more raw for them. I am friends with Jamie MacDonald and he has had to take a pay cut so it is not ideal.”
Fans are roughly two-thirds of the way towards meeting the administrators’ challenge of buying 3,000 season tickets by Friday and Driver knows they are the key to the club’s future. “I can’t say enough about those guys,” Driver said after his side lost 2-0 at New York Red Bulls on Sunday night. “It is nice to see everyone coming back together. You also have former players donating things for the club so hopefully it will be enough to save the club.”
Driver, who made 168 appearances for Hearts, does not expect his Tynecastle employment situation to affect his immediate career.
“I am still technically on loan but, with the difficulties at the club, there is an ongoing process that I can’t go into detail about,” the 25-year-old said. “Things are getting done behind the scenes but the main thing is that Hearts survive.
“Obviously it is a club that I love but I have to concentrate on my football, I have people who deal with all the other things outside it.
“I am here with Dynamo and I don’t think anything will affect that. I don’t want to move anywhere. I feel I am starting something new here.
“I was getting a bit of money off Hearts but I’ve got to get my head down and play football. Dynamo are the people who are paying me at the moment.
“I will definitely be here until December, unless something drastic happens.
“I am employed by Dynamo as well, I can’t walk away from this and I don’t want to walk away. I have a good thing here, a new lease of life.”
Driver has scored three goals in 16 appearances for Houston, who remain in the top half of the Eastern Conference and on course to make the MLS play-offs.
Driver, speaking after playing in front of a sell-out 25,000 crowd at the Red Bull Arena, said: “When you play in new and big stadiums like this against players like Thierry Henry it is a whole new experience that I needed in my career.
“It is a great opportunity for me. I was at Hearts for ten years so I am relishing the challenge, but obviously you can’t enjoy games when you are not winning.
“We started the season on fire. The best start we ever had. But now we have gone six without a win so something has to change.”