Since David Taylor made his ill-starred trek into the Kuwaiti desert to persuade Berti Vogts to become Scotland manager, seldom has anyone gone to such great lengths to recruit a new team boss as Ann Budge has in the hiring of Daniel Stendel.
For the sake of Budge’s credibility and legacy as the saviour of Hearts, it can only be hoped this is one left-field recruitment of a German coach which proves to be a masterstroke.
Stendel clearly made a big impression on Hearts owner Budge during a comprehensive six-week process which saw her interview several other better known and arguably more qualified candidates for the role.
The 45-year-old’s attributes aren’t immediately obvious from a CV which Budge apparently found so compelling. Sacked from his first job at Hannover 96 in the German second division, Stendel’s “standout” achievement is promotion from the third tier of English football with Barnsley last season.
Stendel has no time for a honeymoon period with a Hearts squad who have, quite simply, been displaying relegation form for too long now. There is a clear and present danger to the club’s top flight status this season. Tuesday’s agm is due to be Budge’s last as CEO before she hands control to the Foundation of Hearts some time next year.
If Stendel’s appointment flops, the erstwhile Queen of Hearts may end up leaving her beloved club under a bit of a cloud.