Terry Christie: I admire Ann Budge’s fighting spirit but now it is time to move on

Hearts owner has shown true grit in fighting ‘ridiculous’ relegation decision

Prospects looked brighter as Ann Budge unveils Craig Levein as Hearts’ manager, but it was destined to  go wrong. Picture: SNS
Prospects looked brighter as Ann Budge unveils Craig Levein as Hearts’ manager, but it was destined to go wrong. Picture: SNS

Ihave never met Ann Budge. I do know that her brother has a season ticket for Easter Road and sits close to my pal Big Graham. I do know that I like her.

She saved her beloved Hearts by releasing them from the yoke of the dreadful Romanov and, unlike many, was prepared to back the club with her own money.

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All has not been easy for her as you would expect from someone new to the crazy world of football.

When she appointed the experienced Craig Levein to be her grand vizier, I thought she had made a good move.

I have had many dealings with Craig and have found him to be approachable and helpful. However, doubts started to creep in with the appointment of Ian Cathro.

Hearts are the fourth best supported team in Scotland (their average attendance is a few behind Hibs) and par for them is to finish fourth in the Premiership.

Appointing Cathro as manager was akin to putting a novice jockey on the fourth favourite for the Derby.

I expected an improvement when Levein took over as manager and was surprised when there was none.

Things were not helped by the long-term absence through injury of their star player, Steven Naismith.

I read that “Levein had lost the dressing room”.

I watched his team closely and did not accept that.

The players were giving of their best but unfortunately their best was not good enough.

Managers live or die by the quality of players they sign.

Hearts players are simply not good enough for a team that should be finishing fourth in the league.

Inevitably Craig Levein was sacked and that was a difficult time for Ann Budge. Allowing him to still be about the place was a mistake and lessened the “new broom” effect badly needed.

The lady was down but not out and she has shown true grit in fighting the ridiculous decision to relegate her club on the basis of an incomplete season.

She has battled and battled and once again has been dealt a body-blow with the rejection of the 14-10-10-10 arrangement that seemed workable and fair.

Her natural reaction is to keep fighting but I think it is now time for her to accept the injustice of what has happened and concentrate on the coming season and on the bounce-back.

Much work needs to be done.

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