DANNY Wilson has revealed that he sought assurances from Hearts’ administrators BDO that his signing for the club would not result in any further redundancies among non-playing staff.
The 21-year-old defender was named Hearts’ new captain this week, his three-year contract at Tynecastle having been ratified by the SPFL after it initially appeared it would be ripped up because of the club’s insolvency event and automatic player registration embargo.
With 14 jobs cut by the administrators, Wilson had reservations about re-affirming his own commitment to Hearts, where he spent the second half of last season on loan from Liverpool.
But the Scotland international, who accepted a 50 per cent cut to the original terms he had agreed when his signing was first announced by Hearts pre-administration, says that he now feels comfortable with his decision.
“I had a meeting with the administrators before I signed and one of the main things I spoke about was redundancies at the club,” said Wilson. “It’s terrible people losing their jobs and I did feel bad. Hopefully when the club gets back on its feet, there is a chance for them to get their jobs back.
“I told the administrator that if me coming back in any way harmed the club further, then I didn’t want to do it. We talked about it, I’ve taken the wage cut to stay and I was told it wouldn’t mean anyone else losing their job. I’ve been asked to come back and do a job, which I’m happy to do.”
While he waited for his position at Hearts to be clarified, Wilson had offers to join other clubs. But the former Rangers prodigy had his heart set on remaining in Gorgie.
“I’d been talking to a few other clubs to hear what they had to say because you need to know your options,” added Wilson. “But once I found out there was a chance of coming to Hearts, I needed to know all the facts.
“I took time with it and spoke to my girlfriend and my family and we felt this was the right decision to make. I wasn’t going to rush into anything when I thought there was no chance of coming to Hearts so when the call came I was delighted something could be done.
“It was a strange feeling when I was told the move was off after being unveiled. I was obviously disappointed because I was looking forward to playing for Hearts but I knew there was a bigger picture with everything that was going on with the club.
“It made it easier to take a step back and realise that while I was disappointed, in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t that big a deal. I was lucky enough that there were clubs who had said they were interested in taking me so I was fortunate in that sense, however disappointed I was at that moment that it wasn’t going to be Hearts.
“There were no hard feelings on my part that I had been given assurances by the club when I signed at first only for them to go into administration. To be fair to the people I’d spoken to, I think they had been given the assurances from elsewhere..
“It’s now quite evident that what they were being told wasn’t true but I don’t blame the people who told me that at the time. When I spoke to the gaffer he actually apologised but he had nothing to apologise for because he was just acting on the information he was given.
“I felt bad for him because he’d been let down and he was trying to recruit a team and had the carpet pulled from under him. The club’s in a different place now, we’re in administration now and know where we are and the club will hopefully be cleansed.
“My family and friends all knew how happy I was here at Hearts on loan and if there was a chance that I could stay then I would stay.
“People from the outside might think it’s nuts but I made the commitment a month and a half ago to join Hearts and I bought a house and I’m happy with my team-mates and the manager.”
Manager Gary Locke underlined how highly he regarded Wilson by naming him captain ahead of more senior players, an echo of Locke’s own appointment as skipper of the club when he was the same age.
“It was a surprise,” said Wilson, “but it’s an honour and I’m delighted. I’ll strive to be the best captain I can be. We’re going to have a tough season so we need everyone pulling in the same direction. The manager discussed it and asked how I felt about it, but there’s no way you’re going to turn down a captaincy.
“It may be that the manager sees something of himself in me. We get on really well and have a lot of respect for each other. I did know he was captain of Hearts at 21 as well, so he has been through it. I will be able to bounce ideas off him, because he has been in the same situation.
“I’ll take bits from a lot of senior players I’ve played with in my career so far. Everyone knows how close I was to Davie Weir when I was coming through at Rangers. I really appreciated the way he made me feel welcome as a young boy coming into the team. I see a lot of that here at Hearts with so many young players coming through.
“We need everyone to help make the transition. This is going to be our squad for the next six months at least, so we need to stick together and kick on from here.”