FORMER Hearts captain Dave McPherson admits he is relieved 140 years of history have been kept intact at Tynecastle after the club took a major stride towards exiting administration yesterday.
McPherson, who played for Hearts for ten years over two spells and was a member of the 1998 Scottish Cup-winning team, had feared the worst for his former employers as the threat of liquidation loomed.
The 50-year-old said: “It would have been disastrous if liquidation was to happen. It’s great the history has been kept intact. I was fearing it was heading for liquidation, I think everyone had that in the back of their mind without having to think about it too much.
“I think it certainly could have happened, especially when the administrator Bryan Jackson mentioned it. You think it is a definite possibility that could happen at any point. It’s a big step forward and the people that are involved now have the best interests of the club at heart, and that’s important. It’s not like somebody that has money and a massive ego to match that just spends money the wrong way. We have a businesswoman in Ann Budge with business people behind her and there will be Hearts supporters who are realistic about managing expectations with the amount of money you can spend.”
McPherson reckons a debt-free club can look to the future with optimism following years of mismanagement under Vladimir Romanov. But the former defender warned supporters not to expect things to fall into place immediately.
He added: “It’s now about being realistic and managing their expectations, saying ‘it’s going to take time’. The stadium looks tired, it needs some work done to it and there needs to be some improvements done on the park as well. They will still need to spend money but it’s spending money wisely and managing fans’ expectations.”
McPherson, meanwhile, would like owner-in-waiting Budge to show faith in manager Gary Locke next season. Fans are split over whether the former club captain should be the man to try to lead the team straight back to the top flight.
McPherson added: “You have to take your hat off to Gary. He’s done a magnificent job under very, very trying circumstances. He had no money and couldn’t sign any players. Some of the results he’s had this year have been brilliant. I’m not one that believes in sacking managers for the sake of it.
“You give somebody the tools and opportunity, a certain amount of time to do that job – then you make a decision after that. I don’t feel as though Gary’s had that up until now. Let’s see what he can do in the Championship.”