Daniel Stendel: 'I want to finish the job at Hearts but it will be Ann Budge's decision'

Manager speaks on his future for the first time since relegation
The future of Hearts manager Daniel Stendel is still unclear.The future of Hearts manager Daniel Stendel is still unclear.
The future of Hearts manager Daniel Stendel is still unclear.

Hearts manager Daniel Stendel insisted today he wants to stay and finish the job at Tynecastle despite relegation – but said the decision lies with owner Ann Budge.

Speaking exclusively to the Evening News, Stendel explained that he is not motivated by money and will discuss a new contract if the Tynecastle hierarchy want him in charge next season.

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He is happy to work under a sporting director and Budge has put his future on hold whilst she attempts to recruit one as soon as possible.

The German remains at home in Hannover and is technically a free agent after Hearts were relegated to the Scottish Championship following the coronavirus outbreak.

The club are launching a legal challenge over the decision and Stendel, for the moment, is left in limbo.

His contract runs until summer 2022 but is only valid for the Premiership. He would need to sign a new deal, potentially on a reduced salary, to return to Edinburgh.

During talks with Budge, Stendel outlined plans to rebuild the team at Tynecastle and said he is ready for the challenge of trying to get promotion back to the top flight.

"I said to Ann I want to finish my work at Hearts. I told her I want to build up a new team and help them to get back to the Premiership,” he said.

“The decision is for Ann and for the club. At the moment, I have no answers. I do not have a contract in the Championship.

"In the end, I think it's a question of what Ann and the club want. This is my feeling. If the club and Ann want to work with me, they can say 'yes'. If not, they can say 'no'.

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“For me, it's only a question of whether the club believe in what we spoke about when I came to Hearts.

"We wanted to build a new face for the club. We expected it would be a lot easier and quicker than it is. The fact we are relegated is very hard. It is not a normal season but we are relegated. This is the decision at the moment.

"When you want to do something and it does not happen at first, you need patience and positive thinking to finish the work. I want to finish the work at Hearts, but it is not my decision. Ann and the board will decide.

"I can only say that I want to do it, I want to help, I want to finish the job. But the ball is not in my court.”

Stendel has been working from home without wages since April after football was suspended. He feels that shows his commitment to the Tynecastle comes before any financial reward.

"If I had a contract for the Championship, we would not need to talk about this,” he said. “When I came to Hearts, the expectation was that we would stay up in the Premiership.

“I understand the situation now and I know the financial situation. I have been working without a salary for the last two and a half months because I told Ann to keep my salary. You can see that money is not everything for me.

“My first idea was to help the club and to take responsibility for everybody who works for the club. Also, it was a sign to the supporters of Hearts that we did not come to Scotland only for money. We can feel a special feeling at Hearts.”

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Stendel brought assistant coach Jorg Sievers to Scotland in January and his deal also expires in 2022. The appointment of first-team coach Dale Tonge followed, but his short-term agreement expired at the end of the season.

Budge’s plan to appoint a sporting director would fill a void left by Craig Levein and help ease the workload on Stendel. He is keen to coach players and leave transfer business to others.

"You can only do things like this [appoint a sporting director] when you have the power,” he remarked. “Craig [Levein] was sporting director and then he was manager and sporting director.

“This is a little bit different to what the club expected from me at first. In the difficult time when I came to Hearts, it is not so easy to do all these things at the same time.

“I like to work with the team. I like to work on playing positively and being more successful. This is what I want to do. The financial situation – how much money to pay players, can you pay a transfer fee – is a different thing.

“The decision is for the club about what they want in the future, on the structure, decision-making, communication. These are all decisions for Ann. They are not my responsibility.”

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