Hearts Set To Appoint Paulo Sergioby Mick Bates / 02 August 2011, 09:16Tweet
Heart of Midlothian are expected to appoint Portuguese coach Paulo Sergio as their new manager today, less than 24 hours after sacking manager Jim Jefferies and his assistant Billy Brown. The duo were ruthlessly disposed off on Monday, just two league games into the new 2011/12 season. Sergio, a former Sporting Lisbon manager, is now set to became the club's ninth manager in only six years.
The extraordinary scenes at Tynecastle yesterday came out of nowhere and will no doubt disappoint Hearts supporters, who will now question the rationing behind the shock sackings and the direction in which the club is heading. Hearts got their 2010/11 campaign underway with a respectable draw away to defending champions Rangers. This was followed by another 1-1 draw at Paksi in their Europa League Qualifying match. On Sunday they were beaten by a solitary strike from Dundee United's, leaving them 9th in the Scottish Premier League. However, this obviously wasn't the start the club's owner Vladimir Romanov expected and he opted to send Jefferies and Brown packing.
Jefferies and Brown led Hearts to 3rd last season behind the Rangers and Celtic. This is a creditable achievement and is widely regarded as top spot among the SPL's other ten clubs, such is the dominance of the Old Firm duo. If Romanov believes he can successfully break the mould of the top two just by switching managers then someone needs to point him in the direction of a library so he can open up a couple Scottish football history books. Not only is there a sizeable gulf in class between the Old Firm clubs and the rest of the SPL, but they also eclipse everyone else in terms of spending power and support, something that is unlikely to change in the forseable future. Hearts have at least offered Jefferies, who has a long and distinguished history with the club having made over 300 appearances and managed them on two separate occasions, the role of director of football, although at the moment it is unclear whether he will accept the role.
Hearts are now expected to put their faith in Sergio, who ironically lost his job at Sporting in February following the club's Europa League elimination by Scottish side Rangers. Reports suggest the 43-year-old will arrive at Tynecastle today, where he is believed to take over training, followed by a press conference later this afternoon. His appointment is certainly a gamble as he has never managed outside of Portugal and doesn't have a very distinguished managerial record. Nevertheless he is likely to be in charge for Hearts' return Europa League Qualifier fixture at home to Paksi on Thursday. Betfred have Hearts as the 1/2 odds on favourites to win, with Paksi at 9/2 to come away with a win, and a draw priced at 11/4.