Colin Cameron fears for the future of former club

IT IS little more than ten years since Colin Cameron left Hearts. News filtered through about his sale as the Tynecastle club were about to face Dunfermline and anger over the midfielder’s transfer led to abusive chants being directed to then chairman Chris Robinson, who was given police protection at East End Park.

A decade on, receiving £1.75m from Wolverhampton Wanderers for any Hearts player would be trumpeted as a salvation story. First off, it would ensure payment of the club’s players on time… for a time. It is bizarre but the air of insurrection of the early 2000s is wholly absent as the club becomes a bonfire of Vlad’s vanities. But Cameron – Irn-Bru Second Division manager of the month for December, thanks to his efforts as team picker and team starter at Cowdenbeath – points out there are straightforward reasons that owner Vladimir Romanov doesn’t suffer as once did Robinson.

“He [Romanov] is probably away watching basketball,” said the man who netted from the spot in the final as Hearts claimed the 1998 Scottish Cup, a reference to the Lithuanian losing interest completely in football and so not being at games to get the abuse. “The position Hearts are in, unfortunately, will remain until someone else takes over. It has been a bit up and down since Mr Romanov took over. You have to give him credit. He’s put money in but it has been a hobby. For those who go to watch Hearts, it’s their lives.”

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And for those who play for Hearts, it is their livelihoods being trashed with the non-payment of wages. “I’d have been banging on the door if it happened to me,” Cameron says. He accepts it must be increasingly difficult for Hearts players to focus on the football. Without former team-mate Gary Locke on the coaching staff, he considers it would be impossible. “He is Hearts through and through and with Jim [Jefferies] and Billy [Brown] leaving it was important Lockey stayed to act as go-between when it came to the new manager and players. He will tell them day in, day out what is expected of them from the fans, because he knows.

“But motivation must be difficult because anyone would be disgruntled if they were putting in a shift and not getting their wages, with wives, kids and families to look after. All that can be done by the coaches is try to get the players to remain as professional as possible.”

Asked about possible strike action, Cameron added: “Until I had my arm twisted in that way, I don’t know if I would strike or not. I would totally understand if they did, but at the same time, personally I probably wouldn’t.”

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