Daniel Stendel hails Naismith but says it’s up to individual players to decide on pay cuts

Daniel Stendel insists he will not pressurise any of his Hearts players to take a pay cut – but hopes others will follow captain Steven Naismith’s lead.

Daniel Stendel hopes other Hearts players follow Steven Naismith's lead. Picture: Craig Williamson / SNS
Daniel Stendel hopes other Hearts players follow Steven Naismith's lead. Picture: Craig Williamson / SNS

The Tynecastle skipper is the first player to publicly announce he is agreeing to owner Ann Budge’s request to slash his salary.

The entire Hearts workforce have been told they must either accept swingeing 50 per cent cuts to their pay packet or terminate their contracts as Budge battles to keep the club alive amid the coronavirus crisis.

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Stendel, the Hearts manager, is doing his bit after announcing he will waive all of the cash he is due during the shutdown, while centre-back Clevid Diakmona has opted to tear up his deal and return to France, although the defender has made it clear he would like to return to Tynecastle next season.

But the manager has no plans to discuss the club’s dire financial situation with his squad, insisting pay cuts are matter of personal choice.

“This is a difficult time, not only for Hearts but for every football club and for people around the world,” the German told TalkSport.

“The feeling when I spoke to our owner Ann Budge was that the situation was very critical while we cannot play games. We need to save money so my first thought was, ‘What can I do’?

“I spoke with my family and in the end we decided we want to help Hearts. I have big trust in Ann that she can keep up the club. For me it’s important that we help the club so that after the coronavirus we have a club that can work and play football.

“It was my first idea in this situation and I think it’s the best chance to save money for the club when the coaching staff and players save money because we have so many employees, so this is my part to help save this club.

“I said to (Ann) I will help the club. I will release my money if that means we keep up the club. If I can help with this, I will.

“A lot of people have asked me why I’ve done this. I can only say this is my decision. Everybody has different situations with family and money.

“I can only say that in this moment, after all the experiences I’ve had over the last three months with Ann and Hearts means I want to help with my money if it helps save the club.

“But every player must decide alone what is best for him. Nobody can decide for other people and say whether it’s good or not good. Everybody must decide for themselves.”

But the former Barnsley manager – who has returned to his family home in Hannover to wait out the pandemic panic – did praise Naismith for his selfless stance.

He said: “This is a good example and a good idea for some players. He’s our captain and my experience of him over the last few months was very positive.

“I’m not surprised about his decision and I hope some other players will do it also.”