Football - Locke feared Pars' fate

Gary Locke feared the nightmare scenario that cash-strapped Dunfermline find themselves in could have occurred at Hearts earlier this season.

PA Sport
Football - Locke feared Pars' fate
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Gary Locke admits the financial situation at Hearts has been a major concern

The Irn-Bru First Division Pars have been placed into interim administration over a tax bill of £134,000, with interim administrator Bryan Jackson expected to make cuts at a club whose chances of survival he rates as only 50-50.

Hearts, for their part, have spent most of the campaign in turmoil, notwithstanding a trip to Hampden for the Scottish Communities League Cup final a fortnight ago when they lost 3-2 to St Mirren.

Late payment of wages to players brought sharp focus to ongoing financial problems at a club which staved off a winding-up order in December after supporters raised more than £1million to help pay off tax debts.

While Hearts supporters' groups held a "productive" meeting at Tynecastle to discuss options for future fan ownership of the club this week, manager Locke, who was thrust into the hot seat on a permanent basis earlier in the month following the departure of John McGlynn, glanced over to Fife and was grateful that he is able to prepare for the Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Saturday.

"It's difficult for me because my only focus is Hearts but it could possibly have been us earlier this season," said the former Hearts defender who experienced the effects of financial problems at a club when he played for Bradford.

"When you're in a situation where people aren't getting paid, it certainly does worry you.

"Hopefully we've got through that difficult time. But what's happening at Dunfermline is a sharp reminder for us.

"They're a great club and everyone at Hearts hopes they can pull through. People will be told they don't have jobs and that's not a great position for anyone. I experienced something similar at Bradford when I played there.

"You go on holiday and come back to be told you're out of work. So I really feel for players and staff at Dunfermline. A lot of things went on at Bradford but effectively I was made redundant. Fortunately for me I got a great move to Kilmarnock. Some of the other players weren't so lucky."

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