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Hearts decide to pay off McLean
KEN GALLACHER, CHIEF FOOTBALL WRITER
19 Jul 1995
THE Tynecastle feud which has been simmering during the summer boiled over yesterday when Hearts announced that they were ready to buy out manager Tommy McLean's contract.
A statement issued by chairman Chris Robinson insisted that an offer had been made to the manager to end the problems which had dogged the relationship between him and the directors for months.
The statement maintained that McLean had frequently expressed his unhappiness and his readiness to go if a suitable settlement could be worked out.
Last night Robinson seemed sure that he and his fellow board members had gone a long way to meet the requirements of McLean, who signed a three-year contract last summer with a salary of £90,000 a year.
But there was no official response from McLean, who will, I understand, meet with his lawyer and accountant this weekend.
That could push Robinson and his board into a corner.
The troubles between McLean and the men who employed him just a year ago came early.
Motherwell wanted to build a second new stand -- McLean wanted to strengthen his side for a premier-division title challenge.
Soon afterwards Robinson and Leslie Deans, the men who had bought out Wallace Mercer to take control of Hearts, persuaded him to join them as they tried to revive the club.
It was a challenge McLean accepted happily, fully expecting that he would have a free hand in the transfer market.
The new men in control claimed they had found more problems than anticipated and that ground rebuilding was a priority because of the Taylor Report and all its implications.
McLean felt he had been misled, possibly even betrayed, when he signed the three-year deal.
Since the end of the season McLean has looked at various team-building options and found himself thwarted by the lack of funds.
Hearts now say they have made a good offer -- "This is not Mickey Mouse money," I was told last night -- but McLean, I understand, does not see things that way.
Meanwhile Hearts, with a £4m overdraft, drift closer and closer to crisis -- a far cry from the brave new world offered by Robinson and Deans when they assumed control.
As of last night, neither businessman Jim Glass, who has claimed he wants to take over the club, nor anyone else had approached Robinson with an offer.
Meanwhile, if McLean is bought off, Hearts must look for another manager -- and be ready to pay suitable compensation.
Taken from the Herald