April 2014 Dinner Meeting
Following an excellent dinner attended by over 170 members and guests the Chairman introduced our guest speakers for the evening, Jamie McDonald, Callum Patterson and Brad McKay.
Having been voted the Shareholders Association Player of the Year, Jamie McDonald was presented with the trophy by the Chairman who told him it was an award richly deserved as he was a great ambassador for the club and an example to all the young players..
In reply Jamie thanked the Association for the award and in particular all those who had voted for him. It was clear that it meant a great deal to him.
During a lively Q and A session the players were asked about their best and worst parts of the season. Amongst the best moments were derby victories against Hibs,, in particular the 1 0 League Cup win at Easter Road. Among the worst moments of the season was the 7 0 defeat to Celtic in the Scottish Cup although in the case of Brad McKay it was the League Cup match against Queen of the South where, by his own admission, he had his poorest game in a maroon jersey.
All the players were unanimous in their opinion that the squad had improved massively over the season and the more experienced they become the greater the confidence.
There was great amusement at comments about Jamie’s height as a goalkeeper. He said all he could do was play to his strengths and remain mobile about the goalmouth.
Callum admitted that playing centre forward was not his favoured position. He much preferred right back where he could see the game developing in front of him. Whilst admitting we might not win the derby on Sunday 7 0 it was always a great feeling beating Hibs.
When asked where they saw themselves and their careers in three years’ time Callum stated that he would love to captain the Club and has ambitions to play for his country. However if Manchester United, Barcelona or Real Madrid came calling it would be difficult to turn them down. Jamie intimated that he would love to remain at Tynecastle for the rest of his career. Brad has always wanted to play for Hearts and would also love to continue his career at Hearts.
The players were unanimous when asked who the most improved player was this season. All said it was Sam Nicholson.
On the subject of who was the biggest influence on their careers was the answers were quire diverse. Andy Goram was the biggest influence on Jamie’s career and thanked his Mum and Dad (who were present) for their support. Callum is a great admirer of Gareth Bale and liked his direct style of play. Brad said that Andy Webster and Steven Pressley were the biggest influences in his career.
All the players were in agreement that Hearts have been the victims of some very harsh refereeing decisions this season, in particular, penalty decisions at Inverness and Aberdeen as well as the disallowed goal against Dundee United at Tynecastle.
When asked about an immediate return to the Premier League the players were confident this could happen if the nucleus of the squad could be kept together. They believed they could come back as league winners. In addition they said that the backing of the fans had been massive in keeping their confidence high.
The players were hopeful that Garry Locke would continue as Manager. Speaking on behalf of the players Jamie said that Garry had done a fantastic job under difficult circumstances and had shown dignity and class in the way he had gone about his job.
Asked about their favourite players the answers were fairly predictable, Cassillas. Ronaldo, Messi, Terry, Henry and Steven Gerrard. Still on the subject of players Callum said the best he had played with was Charlie Adam and against was Luis Suarez. Jamie’s best was Craig Gordon and against was again Suarez. Brad said his best was Jamie McDonald (tongue in cheek!!) and against was Virgil Van Dyke.
Bill thanked the players for the way they had answered the questions and also added that along with all the other players at the Club they had been a credit to themselves and Hearts. The players received a well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the night.
Once again our Player of the Year Dinner had been a most enjoyable evening for all those present.