Hearts traumatic experience of season 2019/20 has followed them to season 2020/21 but with one significantly different change.
Last season Hearts were, for the most part, quite awful and despite some of those of the maroon persuasion being in denial, the Gorgie men seemed destined for relegation and at least a season in the Championship – which is where owner Ann Budge came in six years ago.
The trauma the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted on the world puts Hearts current woes into perspective, but the uncertainty of which division Hearts be in at the start of the new season has added to the anxiety of the Hearts support. Owner Ann Budge’s proposal for league reconstruction was rejected by the SPFL and the club joined forces with Partick Thistle – who were also relegated unfairly – to force legal action against the SPFL which is due to be heard initially at the Court of Session.
Hearts are looking to be reinstated to the Premiership and Thistle to be reinstated to the Championship. If not, then they will ask for substantial compensation. If neither are forthcoming the drastic action could be to force a delay to the Premiership starting on 1 August 2020 which would be catastrophic for Scottish football.
Whilst the Premiership clubs have targeted the August date when they will start the new season – albeit behind closed doors – clubs in the Championship won’t start league games until October. Edinburgh City, in League Two, still await a date for kicking off their season.
The Scottish Rugby Union has said it would make BT Murrayfield available to Hearts and this would certainly help with any social distancing measures that may be required when clubs do return, and fans are allowed back inside grounds.
But, with the greatest respect, the prospect of facing Alloa Athletic on a wet and windy Wednesday evening at the home of Scottish Rugby will do little to entice Hearts supporters to part with their hard-earned cash.
With any luck this time next year Hearts will be preparing for a return to the Premiership after winning promotion. But a tough 12 months beckons first…
This article was written for our July newspaper.
Read Mike Smith’s update on the preliminary hearing at the Court of Session here.
And read our July newspaper in full here.