Roy Gilbert

Craig Levein: Hearts pay for Ann Budge’s loyalty and sacked manager’s stubbornness

Craig Levein and Hearts owner Ann Budge

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Sacking Craig Levein would have been a painful moment for Hearts owner Ann Budge Ann Budge never thought that she’d have to fire Craig Levein, always believing that, if a decision had to be made about the manager’s position, he would be the one to make it for the good of the club. “He would be the first to say ‘this isn’t working’,” she said in May.

She was wrong in that. Hearts’ owner underestimated his stubbornness. It’s been said by many irate fans that it was the power and the money that drove Levein at Hearts. That’s not the case, not to these eyes at any rate. Levein’s love of the club was the thing. It was his greatest strength and, in the end, his greatest weakness. He couldn’t let go.

Levein knows better than anybody that Hearts were capable of infinitely better than the dross they’ve served up on his watch for the longest time. His desire to put things right was so desperate that it obscured his judgement, made him blind to the fact that he was the problem – or part of it – and not the solution.

He couldn’t bring himself to admit that Hearts would be better off without him and that he would be better off without the suffocating toxicity of Hearts. Budge would have had a long wait for him to come to that conclusion off his own bat. Harry Cochrane (left) scored in a famous 4-0 win over Celtic but is now on […]

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