Eight reasons why the Hearts hot-seat is a hugely attractive job

The new Hearts manager will want to turn Tynecastle back into an intimidating venue for away teams. Picture: SNS
The new Hearts manager will want to turn Tynecastle back into an intimidating venue for away teams. Picture: SNS
Share this article
0
Have your say

Hearts are languishing at the bottom of the Premiership, so the only way is up for a new manager who should benefit from key players returning to full fitness, an excellent infrastructure and the backing of a loyal board.

Timing is everything

Steven Naismith is returning from injury. Picture: SNS

Steven Naismith is returning from injury. Picture: SNS

With so many key players on their way back to full fitness following long term injuries, the new manager is arriving at a great time.

Michael Smith and Glenn Whelan have shrugged off hamstring issues and are huge players for the Gorgie side, while young Callumn Morrison and Jamie Walker have already returned to the squad following injury lay-offs.

Steven Naismith is expected to return to the squad for Sunday's Betfred Cup semi-final with Rangers, and Peter Haring and Jake Mulraney are both likely to be back in play by the time the busy December period gets underway.

Long-term casualties Conor Washington, John Souttar and Craig Halkett will bolster things further when they make their expected returns early in the new year.

So far this season the side has been leaking avoidable goals at one end and struggling to create and convert enough openings at the other. The likes of Walker and Naismith are a major creative force, with a decent scoring average in this league, and they are also intelligent footballers who can press higher up the field, in the right way, at the right time, helping the defensive players behind them. The pair also offer greater on-field fight and organisational skills, which should help the whole team.

The academy is bearing fruit

So much time, expertise and money have been invested in growing the Hearts academy over the past five years, building it up after it was asset stripped under the previous regime.

Now we are beginning to see the fruits of the labours, with youngsters like Harry Cochrane and Anthony MacDonald coming of age and, currently out on loan to gain more experience, and other promising starlets like Aaron Hickey and Andy Irving showing potential in the first team.

Behind them there is a conveyor belt of promising talent and any manager with a proven track record for bringing through young players and integrating them into an experienced side will have plenty of options, allowing him to utilise the playing budget in a more concentrated way elsewhere.

The Hearts board backs its managers

While chairwoman Ann Budge has come under fire in recent weeks, the board’s loyalty to Craig Levein and even the time given to Ian Cathro before him, should be seen as a positive by any incoming manager.

In an era of short-termism, particularly in football, finding a board that will stick by its man through a difficult spell is a rarity.

It wasn’t just time they offered Levein, they also backed him with money as he attempted to plug gaps left by injuries and worked to finance loan deals for the likes of Naismith.

Facilities are first class, meaning more to spend on players

The new man will benefit from a virtually new pitch and an almost completed Tynecastle and will have to deal with little of the temporary turmoil which affected his predecessor.

He can also expect a bigger playing budget as a consequence, with less money being ploughed into a new stand and pitch and more revenue being generated by the new hospitality areas, club bar, bigger shop etc.

The training facilities at Oriam are another huge bonus, making the club attractive to new signings and ensuring all aspects of day to day training, fitness, rehabilitation, strength and conditioning can all be catered for under one roof.

Goodwill from the supporters

The vocal Hearts support can be an asset and a hindrance.

Recent weeks have seen the pressure building, with protests and chants the norm, and the mood at times has been poisonous

But with the Levein gone, Hearts fans are likely to unite behind the new manager and back their team.

With the support re-energised, Tynecastle can once again become an intimidating venue for opponents.

A chance to get one over Hibs

In a city where one side will always be judged against the performances of their rivals, the fact that Hibernian are also struggling at the moment gives the new man the chance to get on the fans’ good side.

By engineering the kind of improvement that will take them above and away from their derby foes, the Hearts manager can make an early impression.

Many Hibs fans are disgruntled with their own club's woes and are looking closely at the changes at Hearts.

Hearts are one game away from a cup final

In the midst of all the acrimony and upheaval it has almost been forgotten that Hearts have the chance of clinching a second successive cup final appearance.

They face Rangers at Hampden on Sunday in the last four of the Betfred Cup, meaning the new manager could have a cup final to look forward to next month.

Despite the poor league form in the past year, Hearts have shown a hunger and know-how when it comes to progressing deep into the final stages of the knockout competitions and that bodes well for a manager looking to add some silverware to his cv and earn a place in Hearts folklore.

The only way is up

Obviously, that’s not entirely true. The club could remain in the doldrums and see out the season fighting relegation.

But given the squad the new man has to work with and the time he has to turn around form and fortunes, the likelihood is that turning defeats and draws into a few more wins will soon see the side heading back up the league placings.

With one of the best budgets in the league, certainly bigger than the likes of Motherwell and Kilmarnock, who are currently in the mix for a European spot, and one of the strongest starting XIs when the best players are fit and available, that would not seem too difficult for any ambitious manager to imagine.