HEARTS manager Gary Locke says only sensible wages will be paid to any players the club signs this summer.
Stressing that the days of inflated salaries are long gone, Locke explained that the club will be run in a much more sensible manner in future to ensure it stays self-sufficient.
Years of paying high wages to players left Hearts fighting for survival towards the end of last year, when fans rallied to raise £1.1million through a share issue and prevent the Edinburgh club going out of business.
Locke is determined those dark days cannot return to Tynecastle and, crucially, he revealed that the board of directors are taking a much more prudent approach to finances.
“Look at the club this season and what we’ve had to go through – the threat of administration and that type of thing,” said Locke. “I realise, as does everyone connected with Hearts, that we have to be sensible with what we’re paying. We’ve got to be sensible in every aspect of what we do financially. Everyone at the club knows that and that’s a good thing.
“Over the years, Hearts have spent money. We’ve seen some fantastic players here on good wages which were thoroughly deserved because of what they contributed on the football pitch. But we can’t let ourselves get into that position again. With the budget we’ll have for next year, it’s still a great budget and I think we will be able to attract good players.
“That’s got to be the way forward. In the talks we’ve had, we know we can’t spend outwith our means. If things are done properly, hopefully we can get a good team on the pitch.”
Decisions on who Hearts will release at the end of the season are to be revealed soon. “In the next month or so, we’ll try and get things moving in the right direction regarding players who are out of contract, the players who are moving on and the players who will stay,” said Locke. “John Murray and myself are working hard
behind the scenes.”