Danny Wilson will remain with Hearts after the Scottish Professional Football League sanctioned his registration yesterday and the defender agreed to take a wage cut.
In a surprising, as well as controversial, development, the newly-formed SPFL confirmed that the administration-hit Hearts’ bid to retain Wilson had been accepted, despite the on-going signing embargo that has been imposed on the club.
The news was announced by manager Gary Locke at a fund-raising event at Tynecastle yesterday attended by more than 400 supporters. Wilson was in attendance, along with all the members of the first-team squad, and received what a club spokesman described as “the loudest cheer of the afternoon”.
It has emerged that the three-year contract Wilson agreed with the club last month means his registration will be automatically extended as well. “As the 21-year-old is already registered with the club, there is no restriction on his move from Liverpool to Hearts,” explained a statement on the Hearts official website yesterday.
Wilson signed the original deal before Hearts were placed in administration and having spent the previous six months on loan to the club from Liverpool, whose contract with the player expired yesterday. Crucially, the SPFL yesterday confirmed the deal would not count as a new registration, and would be allowed under their current embargo.
Wilson’s future had looked to lie elsewhere when administrators BDO came in and began to make immediate cuts, with Dundee United among the clubs interested in the defender. Although still only 21, Wilson, who has won five caps for Scotland, will offer much-needed first-team experience in a season that looks set to be a trying one for the Tynecastle team, who have been hit with a 15-point deduction.
“I am really pleased,” said Locke yesterday. “Danny was already due to be part of the team and the administration has made no difference to his status. I appreciate that there have been some difficult decisions made regarding player redundancies. But given that Danny has agreed to a wage cut and is happy to be playing for Hearts, this gives us an opportunity to improve the team for the forthcoming season, so why wouldn’t we jump at the chance to have him on our side?”
A statement by the SPFL said: “The SPFL Player Registration of Heart of Midlothian FC player Danny Wilson would, had he not agreed a contract extension, have terminated on 30 June.
“The SPFL has now received documents extending the contract of the player. As a result, the player’s existing SPFL Registration is automatically extended and is not affected by the embargo on new SPFL Player Registrations currently in place on Heart of Midlothian FC as a result of Heart of Midlothian plc (in administration) being in administration.”
On a positive day for the Tynecastle club, it emerged last night that over £30,000 had been raised at their fund-raising rally yesterday. Speakers included comedian Tam Cowan and Donald Findlay, QC, the chairman at Cowdenbeath and former vice-chairman of Rangers. “The efforts of the Hearts fans continue to impress and the rally in the Gorgie Suite was just another example of how much this club means to everybody,” said a spokesman.
Meanwhile, Fraser Mullen, the former Hearts full-back, has joined Hibernian on a one-year contract.