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Hearts’ House of Cards falls apart after one week putting Budge in the spotlight

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The first sign of a crisis in Scottish football emerged from Tynecastle at 6pm last night.

Less than a week after losing to St Mirren everyone at Hearts was informed of a 50% pay cut from next month- or else.

Over the last few years Ann Budge’s running of Hearts has been held up as an example for all clubs to emulate.

After a successful career in business she decided to dedicate time to her daughter’s football club, bringing a new style of management to the club that went into administration in 2013.

Over the last year Hearts have been a complete disaster. Budge has made one costly mistake after another culminating in yesterday’s dramatic announcement.

A new £22m Main Stand has been built as the staff inside the building are put on half pay. In August Steven Naismith was given a four-year contract, in January Liam Boyce left Burton Albion for a contract reported to be worth £6,000 a week.

Some turbulence can be expected in a volatile business like football but it seems that Hearts have been built on a house of cards with a repeat of 2013 very likely despite close to 10,000 fans paying monthly subscriptions of £18.76 to clear the CVA and take control.

Covering yesterday’s developments the Daily Record reports:

Hearts are braced for a summer clearout after first team stars were hit with a mammoth 50 per cent pay cut as the club counts the cost of the coronavirus crisis.

On a black day at Tynecastle, owner Ann Budge sent a memo to all staff detailing a raft of cost-cutting measures which she hopes will avert a full-scale financial meltdown.

Daniel Stendel, his coaching staff and all first team players have been asked to take the huge salary cut as the economic impact of COVID-19 and the suspension of Scottish football begins to bite hard.

In addition staff who work 20 hours or less in the Hearts academy have been asked to take unpaid leave as the youth system is closed down for the duration of the Scottish football lockdown.

Record Sport understands a number of top earners among Stendel’s first team squad are set to be moved on as soon as the transfer window opens in the summer.

Among those likely to be offloaded are popular striker Uche Ikpeazu and flop midfielder Loic Damour – who was only signed last summer from Cardiff City.

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Losing some footballers might be the least of their concerns. The trust of supporters has been broken with Budge appearing to be as responsible in her running of the club as Mercer, Robinson and Romanov.

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