Daniel Stendel set for Ann Budge talks in ‘next few days’ as Hearts boss makes contract admission

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DANIEL STENDEL expects to hold crunch talks with Hearts owner Ann Budge next week after confirming he has ‘no contract’ to manage the club in the Championship.

The German head coach admits he has unfinished business at Tynecastle after penning a two-and-a-half year deal to succeed Craig Levein in December.

However, a break clause allows both parties to tear up the agreement in the event of the Jambos dropping out of the Premiership – which was all-but confirmed when the SPFL called the campaign last Monday.

Budge will present an eleventh-hour reconstruction plan to her fellow clubs on Monday in a bid to revamp the leagues and, in doing so, salvage Hearts’ top-flight status.

And Stendel revealed that his own future will be decided once a final decision has been made.

The former Barnsley boss said: “At the moment I have no contract in the Championship, where Hearts could play next season, but I will speak with Ann [Budge] in the next few days when the decision is over.

“This situation is not what I expected when I came to Hearts.

“My idea was to bring the club back to its normal position and meet expectations. That task is not over and I hope that we find a way – with the league, with Ann and me – that we can do it again.

“It was only a short time that I have worked for Hearts, but it was – I can say – a special time. I like the club, the people that work there and the supporters. It’s a great experience for me.

“I am unhappy about our situation and our results but I know we can do better. I hope we will have the chance to play in the Premiership next year.”

Stendel is adamant the decision to dump Hearts into the Championship was ‘not right’ and has urged club chiefs to right that wrong by giving Budge’s roadmap to reconstruction a fair hearing next week.

He has warned that every side is facing ‘sporting and financial’ challenges and is desperate to see some compassion shown to the Jambos.

Suggestions that the 2020/21 Championship could be put on ice until January and a curtailed season played would also have devastating monetary consequences for the capital club.

He continued: “[Reconstruction] is a chance, because 12 teams in the top league is not too much. We can restructure to maybe 14 teams. I think it is a good chance and a good solution for this situation.

“After one year you can ask whether it was the right thing or not.

“But it is a fair solution and gives a lot of clubs the chance to stay up after the coronavirus crisis – because it is a difficult time for every club, not just in the sporting side but also the financial side.

“This is a time for everybody in the world to stick together and look at the best thing we can do for everybody.

“The feeling at Hearts is – and you can look for yourself – this is not right. We should look for a solution in Scottish football that is fair for everyone.”

Stendel is steadfast in his belief that Hearts could have escaped the relegation mire if they had been allowed to complete the campaign, making their demotion a bitter pill to swallow.

The Jambos were four points adrift of St Mirren with 24 still to play for, including the swathe of six-pointers after the split.

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He told Hearts TV: “We are at the bottom of the league. It is not the best situation and it is our fault – but it is a season of 38 games and at the moment we have played 30 games. We cannot be relegated after missing the last eight games.

“I know it would not have been easy but we had a good chance [to survive].

“After the split, you have a chance to play every team in the bottom half and the chance is big. You can change the situation.

“When I heard the decision [to call the Premiership] on Monday that was a big hit for me.”

 
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