JIM JEFFERIES insists the chance to make an emotional return to Hearts was an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Jefferies, 69, has agreed to act as an advisor to the Jambos’ board for the next six months and will help shape the club’s policy on football matters, including recruitment, ahead of the upcoming Championship campaign.
He will liaise closely with owner Ann Budge and head coach Robbie Neilson after the capital club placed their search for a sporting director on hold, citing the ongoing cost of their legal battle against the SPFL.
Hearts have confirmed they plan to resume interviews for that position before the end of 2020.
In the meantime, Jefferies, who has most recently been serving as sporting director at Edinburgh City, will carry out some of those duties after the Jambos usurped another unnamed SPFL club for his services.
Jefferies beamed: “Somebody said to me ‘it’s your club, you can’t turn it down’. And there was never any chance of that!
“Ann [Budge] timed it well because I was already talking to another club who were terrific.
“Their chairman came across great and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting to him. He gave me a few days to think it over but in those few days Hearts came calling and I had a chat with Ann.
“She put across exactly what it was she was looking for me to do, which suited me.
“I wasn’t looking for anything full-on as sporting director or anything like that. The situation is great and she’s given me a specific task to do.
“Robbie [Neilson] knows the club as well as me and if he needs any support there will be no interference, it’ll be a case of if they need anything or any advice then I’m there.
“It’s a difficult time. We’ve just got to plan for what we know. Robbie’s got to have the final say on players. Robbie will want to bring in his own people and we’ve got to support him to do that and find how best we can do that.
“My role is to help Ann and the board and advise them on things that have maybe just been lacking attention and some things that have not been working. It’s simple as that.
“Hopefully we can address these things and get Hearts back to where they should be, challenging at the right end of the table.”
Jefferies is assured iconic status at Hearts after leading the club to Scottish Cup glory with a 2-1 win over Rangers in 1998, ending a 42-year wait for cup glory.
He had a second stint as boss from 2010 and also represented the club 310 times as a player between 1972 and 1981, serving as club captain for a portion of that time.
And head coach Neilson, who worked under Jefferies as a youngster emerging through the ranks at Tynecastle, believes the club have pulled off a masterstroke.
Neilson said: “He brings a wealth of experience and knows the club inside out having been hugely successful both as a player and manager at the club.
“Having worked with Jim in his first spell as manager and known him for over 20 years, his experience and expertise will be of great benefit to both the club and myself.”