However at Tynecastle many of the youth squad have failed to step up and taste life in the SPL. Gary Glen managed to make his way into the first team squad when Hearts failed to finish in the top six. Since then he has gone on to make 44 appearances for the team.
He is currently 21 years of age and fits the age requirements for a youth player at Hearts. With his contract drawing to a close he has been informed that he will not have it renewed. He is only one of the many players who are being released from their contracts at Hearts as the club faces serious financial struggles.
“Ever since Romanov has come in we haven’t really invested in youth even though he says he would. He said youth is a priority.
“All we have had is David Templeton, Ryan McGowan and Andy Driver. But that is about it really.”
This is the viewpoint of one of the players who is being released, the frustration at Hearts is clearly transcending from the stands and into the dressing room.
The club is however making preparations to send out several young players on loan. Jamie Walker, Jason Holt and David Smith were all sent out on loan to Raith Rovers to gain first team experience and this is a move that our source, a Hearts player wishing to remain anonymous, has a lot of praise for.
“It is a good way to get the boys experience playing competitive football at a good level. It helps when younger players go out on loan as playing in the under-19 league does not help a whole lot, especially as the reserve league has been scrapped.
“It is completely different as I found out. You get picked all the time for under-19s regardless of your performances, but if you have one bad game then you don’t get into the first-team next week. It is a better experience as it gives experience playing against men and not against boys.”
Hearts have a host of young talent coming back at the turn of the year. Conrad Balatoni is returning from Partick Thistle, Walker, Holt and Smith all return from Raith and Kevin McHattie also returns from Alloa Athletic. There is an abundance of talent waiting to come back into the squad and fill the places of the predicted January clear-out.
With the debt increasing and star players still not being paid it seems likely that the younger players will be taking the places of the highly paid first-team squad, players who are prepared to make a complaint to the SPL if they are not paid on Friday.
SPL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster has said that an investigation would be forthcoming if a player lodges a complaint. He said: “We cannot do anything until we receive a complaint. However, should we receive a complaint, the SPL has a duty to investigate and adjudicate on that contract.”
To further compound the misery at Hearts, Ian Black is reportedly working as a painter & decorator to make ends meet and to fund a Christmas for his eight year old daughter. This has painted a human face on the major strain that the club is currently under.
The Scottish Sun’s first-team regular source has said that: “I am having to avoid my bills and I have constantly been getting reminders.
“I have a mortgage as well, but I have spoken to the lenders and they are not too bad with me about it just now.”
So with Hearts players currently thinking that their futures are in doubt it is clear that Hearts have youth players in supply, ready to step up and fight for the club. These players will be on less wages than a first-team footballer, so the move would be healthy in reducing the debt of the team.
But as our source has already said, Romanov and the Hearts board have said that youth is a priority ever since they took control of the club. A promise they have not fulfilled.