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Money matters at heart of Brown's Tynecastle exit

Billy Brown will leave his role as assistant manager of Hearts this weekend, after being informed that his contract with the club would not be renewed at the end of the month.

Billy Brown was in his third spell as an assistant manager at Hearts after volunteering to assist Gary Locke. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
Billy Brown was in his third spell as an assistant manager at Hearts after volunteering to assist Gary Locke. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS

Brown wanted to inform the players at training today, then take the opportunity to say goodbye to the supporters and staff at Saturday's game against St Johnstone, however news of his departure was broken by BBC Scotland last night.

Herald Sport understands that Gary Locke, the Hearts manager, wanted Brown to be kept on until the end of the season. However, there is a financial imperative in not renewing Brown's deal at the club while Heart of Midlothian Football Club plc remains in administration.

Results have also been poor in recent months, and some football voices within the club believe that altering the personnel might shake the players up, and that something needed to be changed.

Brown will not be replaced, although John Robertson and Robbie Neilson will assist with the first-team training. Brown, who was in his third spell as an assistant manager at Hearts, was only informed of the decision yesterday, and was given the opportunity to time his departure. As far as the administrators, BDO, are concerned, it is a financial decision and no reflection on Brown's abilities as a coach.

Hearts remain 20 points adrift of Ross County at the bottom of the SPFL Premiership, and it seems almost certain that the team will not find the means to escape relegation. However, there is a concern that poor displays could have an impact on attendance figures at Tynecastle.

Any decline in income would affect the club's ability to continue trading into April and May while waiting for administrators in Lithuania to agree to pass on their shares to the Foundation of Hearts, who have made a bid that will fund the company voluntary arrangement required to take HMFC plc out of administration.

Brown returned to Tynecastle last summer, volunteering to assist Locke. The pair have been close since Locke was a player at the club under Jim Jefferies and Brown, before both working under Jefferies at Kilmarnock.

This is Locke's first management role, and Brown was considered an experienced assistant as they tried to guide a young squad through difficult times.

Hearts will, though, investigate the possibility of applying to bring a new player into the squad if another one leaves, which Scottish Professional Football League rules allow them to do despite the HMFC plc being in administration.

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