HEARTS may be following Rangers into the lower leagues but they will not be following their example in splashing the cash in a bid to scoot straight back to the Premiership.
Relegation has long been an inevitability at Tynecastle but the priority at the start of the campaign was always finding a way to safeguard the club’s future rather than simply reserving their seat at the top table.
Although there have been some delays, the signs off the field remain promising and manager Gary Locke is adamant that, if the takeover bid goes through as expected, those in charge will not be taking any more risks with the club’s future.
With seven players out of contract in the summer and others waiting to discover if the club will take up options in their existing deals to keep them at Tynecastle, there is uncertainty in the ranks. Locke himself has not managed to gain any clear direction on his own future but says that whoever is in charge will want to enlist the help of a handful of experienced players to aid the development of the young squad and, hopefully, help the club to promotion. He just doesn’t expect the club to break the bank to do it.
“I’m not an expert on business by any manner of means but I’m pretty sure the club doesn’t want to ever go through another season like this one. It has been a harsh lesson we have had to learn. But, all along, we have said that we are in this position because of ourselves. There’s no-one else we can blame or point the finger at. The way the club has been run in the last five or six years, that’s the reason we are in the mess we are in.”
But, while Dave King has said he would like to spend £30 million to ensure Rangers’ rise through the ranks continues unabated, there will be less lavish budgeting in Gorgie.
“We are thankful that we have such a loyal support because there is no doubt about it, if they hadn’t stuck their hands in their pockets, we wouldn’t be here talking today,” added Locke, pictured. “We have a really good chance of surviving and, after that, no-one needs me to tell them that the club will have to be run properly and it will be. The new owner coming in will run the club the way it should be run and I’m pretty positive Hearts will not be spending money we haven’t got. There is no point. We don’t want to be in this position again, so we have got to run the club properly and there is no doubt about it, Ann [Budge] will do that. She is working tirelessly behind the scenes and, having met her, she’s not had the success she has had for no reason. She will come in and run the club properly.”