Ann Budge has taken aim at Michael Stewart in a lengthy statement today as she justified the bad publicity that has surrounded Hearts in recent days.
While some sort of pay cuts are needed news that Hearts had started a recruitment drive for next season at the same time as trying to impose pay cuts proved to be a classic own goal. Public sympathy ended with that development.
Stewart branded that action a disgrace claiming that Budge must have been aware of the action otherwise it meant things were going on at Tynecastle behind her back.
Stewart wasn’t mentioned by name in the statement but The Sun was at one point as well as pundits and former players. The popular former Manchester United and Scotland midfielder ticks all three boxes.
From the Hearts statement:
There are obviously far more serious concerns in the world at this time and other matters I and those at the Club would rather be focusing on. I feel, however, for the sake of our supporters I need to address the enormous amount of ill-informed and self-opinionated commentary coming from some sections of the media at the moment (in particular from The Sun and their usual pundits).
By definition pundits are self opininated, they are paid to give their opinion. Later Budge adds
Since announcing the proposed implementation of a substantial wage cut across all staff, coaches and players, the media pundits have been scathing in their criticism of apparent financial mis-management; clear indications of panicking; and the very suggestion that players should take a cut in wages is clearly a concept they don’t even begin to grasp. (Possibly, because so many of them are themselves, former players.) Fortunately, our players do not appear to have this same sense of entitlement.
What Budge fails to grasp is that players can’t just decide that they don’t like the terms of their contract.
Aaron Hickey is on the same deal that he signed in the summer of 2018 which could be a basic wage of around £400, decent for someone recently turned 17 but if he wanted to quit and take up a £10,000/week offer from Manchester City, Southampton or Crystal Palace Budge would be looking for at least £1m in compensation.
Just because she is currently overpaying a number of players is the fault of the club not the player. Hamilton Accies and St Mirren have been getting far better value from their wage bill this season.