Robbie Neilson: Trouble fans are cutting into Hearts' budget

Neilson was unimpressed with the actions of a small minority. Picture: Neil HannaNeilson was unimpressed with the actions of a small minority. Picture: Neil Hanna
Neilson was unimpressed with the actions of a small minority. Picture: Neil Hanna

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Robbie Neilson has warned the trouble-making element in the Hearts support their antics are putting his transfer plans at risk.

Jambos chairwoman Ann Budge this week revealed the club will have to fork out up to £50,000 calling in extra police to Tynecastle following a number of recent incidents.

Budge was angered by reports of fighting in the streets of Gorgie before and after this month’s 6-0 romp against Motherwell.

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And verbal abuse hurled at Dundee United boss Mixu Paatelainen at a match just before New Year is now being investigated by the Scottish Professional Football League.

Now head coach Neilson - who refused to discuss his move for Tannadice teenager John Souttar - claims the cash the club are having to spend to beef up security is money he will have to do without as he looks to add to his squad before Monday’s transfer deadline.

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“It affects the club as a whole,” said Neilson. “It affects the product on the park, especially if we are having to spend money that we haven’t the budget for.

“We’re having to do that now and that is the disappointing thing.

“We have self-policed with our own stewards for quite a while now so having to go back to bringing the police in obviously costs the club a lot more money.

“Hopefully the fans will now realise this and eradicate these problems.

“Every club has these minority of fans that cause these issues but the pleasing thing for us is that Ann has highlighted it. It would be easy to sweep it under the rug but she wants to move the club forward and to do that, you have to highlight the problem so it can be fixed.”

However, Neilson insists he does have money to play with, even after the added cost of extra policing had been taken into account.

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Hearts’ initial bid for Souttar - reported to be worth £100,000 - has been knocked back by United.

With the defensive midfielder out of contract in the summer, though, Tannadice chairman Stephen Thompson may yet decide to cash in on the highly-rated 19-year-old.

Neilson, however, would only say: “I’m not going to talk about someone who is not my player. Any business we do for any player at this club is always done behind closed doors.”

But he did admit a striker remains a priority, especially if he can find someone who can replicate the 12 goals scored by Dutchman Genero Zeefuik during his six-month loan spell last season.

“We have finances here because of the backing of the fans through the Foundation of Hearts and the way Ann runs the club and that will allow us to go and do something in this window,” explained Neilson, who will be without suspended duo Igor Rossi and Blazej Augustyn for Saturday’s Ladbrokes Premiership trip to Inverness.

“But it has to be the right player. I’m looking for a striker right now and there is money there for it - however, they have to add value to the club.

“At this time of year it’s always good to have someone there that can give the club a lift. Last year we brought in Zeefuik and he made a huge impact.

“If we could get someone else in to give us a similar kind of fresh impetus that would be great - but they are difficult to find.

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“Our chief scout John Murray scoured the market and managed to find Zeefuik last January. Again there has been names put to us, now we will see what we can do.”