Hearts have announced the return of club legend Jim Jefferies to Tynecastle as advisor to the board of directors.
The 69-year-old has departed his role as Edinburgh City director of football to take up the position part time.
Hearts have confirmed they have put the search for a sporting director on hold due to the costs of the legal challenge to the SPFL and the preparation for the return to training.
Jefferies will act as support mechanism to manager Robbie Neilson in the transfer market and other aspects of the footballing department for the next six months.
In addition, he will work closely with chair Ann Budge and the directors to provide football experience and guidance.
Jefferies will be a welcome appointment to the Tynecastle support, due to what he has achieved over two spells as manager and player.
He led the club to the famous 1998 Scottish Cup win in his first stint before returning under Vladimir Romanov. In what was changed days in Gorgie, he took over an expensive team and led a title challenge before steering the club into Europe
In addition, he is someone who has a strong love and passion for the club and a great knowledge of Scottish football.
Hearts in his DNA
A statement read: “Heart of Midlothian is delighted to announce that Jim Jefferies has agreed to return to Hearts as an Advisor to the Board of Directors.
“It is well known that we have been working on the recruitment of a full-time sporting director. However, given the time pressures and escalating costs of the ongoing challenge to our relegation, coupled with the re-opening of various parts of Tynecastle and Oriam, we have decided to put our recruitment process on hold for now. Such an important appointment deserves our full focus and uninterrupted attention, which, right now, is simply not possible. We thank all of those who have expressed an interest in the position and we look forward to picking up discussions when we revisit the process in a few months’ time.
“Having said this, we do need support to ensure Robbie has all the time he needs to work and focus on his first team squad ahead of the start of the 2020/21 season. To provide that support, we have reached out to Jim.
"Jim has agreed to join us for 6 months, on a part-time basis, to give Ann and the Board advice and guidance on a range of footballing matters. Jim will work closely with Ann during the transfer window, which has now opened, to help make the changes to the squad that Robbie feels are needed.
“Jim has Hearts in his DNA. After making 310 appearances as a player between 1972 and 1981, he returned as manager in 1995 and lead Hearts both to cup finals and to Europe.
“His crowning achievement was lifting the Scottish Cup in 1998, beating Rangers 2-1 in the final, ending a 42-year wait for cup glory.
“He once again took over the managerial reins in 2010, leading us to a third place Premiership finish.
“On behalf of everyone at Hearts , we are delighted to welcome Jim back to Tynecastle.”
Experience and expertise
Neilson, who played under Jefferies at the start of his career, has welcomed his return in the new role.
“I’m delighted to welcome Jim back to Hearts,” he told the Hearts official website.
“He brings a wealth of experience and knows the club inside out having been hugely successful both as a player and manager at the club.
“Having worked with Jim in his first spell as manager and known him for over 20 years, his experience and expertise will be of great benefit to both the club and myself.”
Jefferies had been at Edinburgh City since 2017.
The club’s chairman Jim Brown said: “I would like to thank Jim for being a major part of the Club and helping us develop and transition from the Lowland League to becoming an established SPFL side, challenging at the top of League 2. Jim’s experience really has been second to none and he will always be a major part of the Club’s story.”
“While there is of course sadness to see Jim depart, even when I persuaded him to get involved with the Club in 2017, I thought that we only ever had him on loan from Hearts, as my feeling was that he would be needed there at some point in the future.”