Gary Locke tells Hearts players: Accept wage cut or move on

Ann Budge praised for acting swiftly

Hearts club ambassador Gary Locke. Picture: SNS

Gary Locke has praised Hearts owner Ann Budge for moving fast in imposing a 50 per cent wage cut at Tynecastle and urged the club’s players to “accept it or move on”.

Budge announced earlier this month that all staff at Hearts will be subject to a reduction in their salary as a result of the coronavirus crisis. And she has not yet ruled out suspending the contracts of those players who refuse the move.

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But Locke, a former player and manager at Tynecastle and still at the club in an ambassadorial role, says Budge is only doing what is required in these desperate times.

“Ann Budge has said that if we don’t agree to the cuts then we’ll need to look at something else, which isn’t ideal,” admitted Locke, who is, of course, directly impacted by the wage-cut. “But every club is going to be in the same position over the next couple of weeks.

“There’s barely a club in Scotland that will be able to pay full salary while we are in lockdown.

“Fortunately for us, Ann has had the sense to do it first so that we all know what’s happening. The boys will need to accept it or move on.

“We were offered the 50 per cent cut and you are better getting something than nothing. I think it would be a sensible decision for most players at the minute to accept it, because we don’t know when football will get back again. It could be another two or three months.”

Hearts are sitting bottom of the Premiership and are anxiously waiting to see how the 2019/20 season is concluded. Locke says the Gorgie side would have every reason to feel aggrieved if they are demoted with only 30 games played.

“The SPFL are SFA are going to need to get together and decide what is happening and when we do eventually get back, there’s a big decision to be made,” Locke said on BBC Radio Scotland’s Off The Ball programme.

“If we were to be relegated then we wouldn’t be happy with it. If we were 24 points adrift with eight games left then fine, you’re relegated. But we are four points behind with 24 still to play for. It would be a bit of an injustice if they were to relegate us based on that.”

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