I usually refer to football related stories on my other blog On the Terracing but this posting will hopefully relate to a wider audience.
Hearts player Craig Thomson appeared in court in Edinburgh last week and plead guilty to two charges of indecent behaviour for lewd and libidinous behaviour towards two girls aged 12 and 14 years over the internet. He was fined £4,000 and placed on the Sex Offenders Register. The player has apologised for his crimes and Hearts said his "grave error of
judgement" was due to "naivety and possible wrong outside influence". Nonetheless, the club have decided not to sack the player and are standing by him. On Friday evening, Hearts issued a statement, part of which read:
"For almost seven years we have been fighting to shield the club from crooks,
criminals and thieves.
Many of the top players at the club have felt the bitter results of the
swindles that have been carried out with them on their own skin. Skacel and
Webster have returned to the club after realising where these 'football
patriots' have led them. Every year Hearts fights to be in the top three, but even last season in the
last 12 games of the season it was almost like someone replaced the team with a
different one. Whose fault is that? Players'? Managers? Or it is mafia.?"
This statement purports to be from the club but it's fair to say this is another rant from Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov.
Understandably, the decision to keep Thomson at Tynecastle - and the subsequent statement - has sparked a furious reaction from the majority of the club's supporters. I have received numerous emails from people wondering asking what my take is on this. My view is you can't defend the indefensible. Hearts used to be a club that stood for
dignity. What Craig Thomson did was wrong and he should have been sacked, no
matter that he has now apologised. Hearts promote themselves to be a family club, the 'Heart and Soul' of Edinburgh. Can they really try and continue to promote the idea of attracting families to Tynecastle when children are watching a convicted sex offender on the field of play? A player who has become - until this sordid incident - a role model for thousands of young Hearts supporters. I took my grandson Jack to Tynecastle last season but will be loathe to do so again knowing he will be seated just yards away from a convicted sex offender - one who has admitted his crimes.
There's now an active and fast
growing campaign by Hearts supporters to have Thomson thrown out of Tynecastle.
A protest is planned for the pre-season friendly in three weeks. As for
Vlad, the Hearts support needs to show that this, quite frankly ridiculous,
statement (and some other Vlad actions and statements) are not in the name of the club's most important people - the supporters. Without us, Hearts are nothing.
Heart of Midlothian FC used to stand for respect, decency and dignity. It presently stands for the exact opposite. No one, it seems, is capable or has the will to stand up against Mr Romanov; to tell the man in Lithuania that his actions and what he wants publicised on the club's website is quite simply wrong. Until someone does, he will continue to make a once famous club a laughing stock.
For me and thousands like me, this is no laughing matter.