Date: 29th March 2021
The latest blog from SFSA writer Donald Stewart:
The Budge has called a meeting…
She is not happy…
Those rivals in Leith were already running away with the major trades that had kept her Empire going…
Now inside the organisation, tensions have led to them taking a hiding from the amateur and part time hoodlums from the Highlands…
The Budge wants answers, and she wants action, and she wants it all now!
Picture the scene…
The Budge is holding court in her Tyny Castle.
Also, there is the main man, Mr. Neilson. He is sitting with his head bowed – awfa feart tae lift it.
“How long did we say we had tae dae this?” asks the Budge.
Mr. Neilson mutters, “Wan year.”
“Aye, she responds. And then, after all the turmoil, heaving out that Lithuanian monster, taking the indignity of being relegated tae second best in the city we get a hiding frae the Highlanders? Not a Sean Connery or a Christopher Lambert amongst them but we end up being the only wan who is humped. What dae ye have tae say fur yersel?”
Mr. Neilson keeks out from under his wild blond brow and mutters, “They will aw be fighting fur their joabs noo.”
“Fighting? Don’t make me laugh,” snorts The Budge.
“I am stunned. I am embarrassed. I am livid. Folk are coming tae get us. Folk are going tae be at this Castle, giving it big licks oan Saturday and we need tae be ready.” She points at the entrance below from the window at which she is now standing, towering over Mr. Neilson.
The Budge then shouts, “ARE YOU READY?”
Mr. Neilson jumps aff his chair and stands in an embarrassed and strange pose. He is way beyond caring how he looks. The dishevelled and shambling look he has cultivated was never more apposite than now as The Budge starts to wonder if she did the right thing bringing Mr. Neilson back into the fold. He had done wonders on the West Lothian estates. Despite the company he was running being a bit of a franchise, it was a decent outfit with plenty of growth. Mr. Neilson had made them premier league material. That was his job here. Things were going fine until the Battle of Brora.
That was where the wheels had started to come off. The Budge wanted nae mair budging in their “direction of travel.”
Former members of the Tyny Castle had also made their voices heard with a certain tattooed giant, Mr. Stevenson, coming off the side lines and calling it for what she saw it as – Big time Charlies forgetting who paid their wages…
The Budge was not finished with her critique.
“Mr. Neilson, I know that you are stunned too. I get you are embarrassed as well. I realise you know it is unacceptable. Completely unacceptable. It is only right that folk round here get tae vent their anger and their frustrations but Mr. Neilson be rest assured that I…”
The Budge, has now stealthily moved from the window to now being at the opposite side of the desk. Mr. Neilson is still standing in fear. The Budge stretches across the desk and looks directly under his mop of hair.
“I,” she continues. “I shall be watching.” With that she nods in the direction of the door, signalling Mr. Neilson to leave, he does not need a second invitation and flies out of it like a bat out of hell.
Out of the shadows, a figure emerges. Speaking to The Budge, this ghost says, “This falls well below our standards. There may well be people on the streets, and you will have to contend with that.”
The Budge nods.
He continues, “You all feel let down. You need to bounce back and get back to where you belong.” He pauses poignantly. Then continues: “Wherewebelong.”
The Budge nods.
He continues once more. “We are on the cusp. On the edge. Close to achieving that. Let’s not risk success by allowing that anger, that frustration to knock you off course. We still have a job to finish. I am sure I can help…”
The Budge turns to the ghostly figure and shakes her head. She speaks. “Not yet, Big man… Not yet.”
At that the ghostly figure of the Big Levein takes his leave… Never to return?
Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an original tale, there is no evidence that a certain Ann Budge has ever been visited by the ghost of Craig Levein so this is clearly untrue though a certain Ann Budge did utter some of those words in a carefully written statement during the week.
During the week, Hearts had to live with being dumped out he Cup by Highland League outfit Brora Rangers. They have since gone on to be defeated for the first time in hunners o years by Queen of the South. People are talking of crisis and some Hearts fans turned up at Tynecastle to protest. After the debacle at Brora, Ann Budge, the owner of Hearts, released a statement saying this: “The board, management and staff fully understand and share the anger and strength of feeling being expressed by our fans following what was a totally unacceptable performance and result on Tuesday evening. We can only echo the comments made by Robbie Neilson after the game. He was stunned and embarrassed, as were we all, by our exit at this stage of the Scottish Cup. It was, as the manager said, completely unacceptable and fell way below the standards that we set and expect at Hearts. Wecompletely respect the right of any and all of our supporters to make their voices heard and feelings known in a peaceful and law-abiding manner. However we are aware, from social media, that there is the suggestion of a fans protest at Tynecastle Park on Saturday prior to our Championship fixture with Queen of the South. We do not need to remind anyone that we are still in the midst of worldwide pandemic during which our focus has at all times been on ensuring the safety and security of everyone at Tynecastle. Nor do we need to remind you that it is unlawful for crowds to gather in public places due to current Covid restrictions. We must, therefore, urge all fans, in the strongest possible manner, not to congregate at Tynecastle Park on Saturday. Everyone associated with the club feels let down. However the most important thing now is to bounce back. At the start of this season every single one of us agreed that, above all else, this year was about winning the Championship and getting back to where we belong. We are on the cusp of achieving that objective. Let’s not risk success now by allowing frustration and anger to knock us off course. We still have a job to finish.” Hearts sit 13 points clear at the top of the Championship and are on the brink of returning to the Premier League. Robbie Nielson has commented, in the manner of crisis? What crisis?
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