Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Farewell Gretna as Hearts Face More Questions

Kick idiots out of football
Part one of our staggered end to the season and Gretna sign off from the SPL, probably from football, with a victory against Hearts.

So the Gretna farce ends on a high note. The players have, if nothing else, shown some professional pride. But tonight's crowd of just over 1000 tells its own story. Gretna never belonged in the SPL. Fairytales are fine. But sport is about more than easy headlines and brief feelgood factors. The whole Gretna escapade has been embarrassing and another blackmark for Scottish football's men in suits.

What of the Tynecastle tragedy? Some things that are clear: Stevie Frail is not up to the job, too many players don't care, the fans deserve answers.

Where for art thou Romanov? Who can say. The pantomime with young Roman at the club AGM might have been entertaining but the fact is that a bottom six club with that level of debt is unsustainable. It's doubtful if Hearts can ever sustain the debt but it's a definite no go if they remain in the wrong half of the table.

Even Vladimir's most trenchant supporters must be beginning to wonder what's going on. Some Hearts fans insist on telling me that Craig Levein or Mark McGhee will be in charge for next season. Seriously? Why would these two intelligent, successful men choose to dance with the devil?

And why, if he was willing to pay for either of these men, would Romanov not have moved sooner to replace Frail as Hearts stuttered through the season? One wonders just how large Frail's mortgage is to persuade him to suffer this whole sorry saga.

Nice as it is to see the buffoon George Foulkes' weekly mea culpas there remains the possibility that, by hitching his skirt for a passing Lithuanian, George may not only have prostituted the soul of club but succeeded in only postponing the demise of Hearts. (How low a profile fellow culprit, Councillor Steve "Fester" Cardownie, keeps these days.)

Yet Vlad has the unpredictability of the madman. Perhaps this summer will see the appointment of a new coach, the arrival of some quality signings, concrete evidence of stadium development. Then we will eat our words and Hearts will rise again.

Because if that doesn't happen the Scottish game will be left with an even bigger hole than the one Gretna have just disappeared through.