Sporting director search on hold

Legend Jefferies back at Hearts in advisory role

Return: Jim Jefferies (pic: SNS Group)

Hearts have paused their search for a sporting director and have instead turned to their Scottish Cup-winning manager Jim Jefferies for ‘guidance’ over the next six months.

Jefferies, who won the trophy in 1998, has agreed to return to Tynecastle on a part-time basis as an advisor to the board of directors.

The Edinburgh side highlighted the ‘escalating costs’ of the ongoing legal challenge to their relegation as one of the main reasons for abandoning their pursuit of a sporting director for the time being.

A key role for Jefferies, 69, will be working on a transfer strategy with owner Ann Budge and new boss Robbie Neilson as Hearts prepare for season 2020/21.

A club statement said: “It is well known that we have been working on the recruitment of a full-time sporting director.

“However, given the time pressures and escalating costs of the ongoing challenge to our relegation, coupled with the re-opening of various parts of Tynecastle and Oriam, we have decided to put our recruitment process on hold for now.

“Such an important appointment deserves our full focus and uninterrupted attention, which, right now, is simply not possible.

“We thank all of those who have expressed an interest in the position and we look forward to picking up discussions when we revisit the process in a few months’ time.

“Having said this, we do need support to ensure Robbie has all the time he needs to work and focus on his first team squad ahead of the start of the 2020/21 season.  To provide that support, we have reached out to Jim.

“Jim has agreed to join us for six months, on a part-time basis, to give Ann and the board advice and guidance on a range of footballing matters.

Jim will work closely with Ann during the transfer window, which has now opened, to help make the changes to the squad that Robbie feels are needed.”

Fans favourite Jefferies made 310 appearances in maroon between 1972 and 1981, returning as manager in 1995. He left in 2000 for Bradford City after ending the club’s 42-year wait for silverware. He came back to Tynecastle for as second spell in the dugout in 2010.

Jefferies survived a health scare in September last year when he suffered a heart attack while playing golf at Gullane.

Gordon Forrest, who was assistant to Neilson at Dundee United, is set to be confirmed as his No. 2 at Hearts after his departure from Tannadice was confirmed.

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