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Should Hearts sack Craig Thomson?


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Can't help wondering what our club's owner and management would do in similar circumstances...


Hearts should sack Craig Thomson, says Children 1st charity chief

• Defender has been placed on sex offenders' register

• His behaviour was 'unacceptable', says Anne Houston

guardian.co.uk, Sunday 26 June 2011 11.38 BST



The chief executive of a prominent children's charity has called on Hearts to sack Craig Thomson after the defender pleaded guilty to lewd, libidinous and indecent behaviour towards two under-age girls.


The 20-year-old, was fined £4,000 and placed on the sex offenders' register for five years but Hearts confirmed on Friday that they would allow Thomson to resume his career following their own investigation into the matter.


Prosecutors at Edinburgh sheriff court were told how he sent pictures of male private parts to two girls aged 12 and 14, asked one of them for sex and made lewd comments about their bodies.


Thomson issued an apology via the club's website and thanked the club for their "understanding" of his situation.


But Anne Houston of Children 1st said that the club's decision not to take action against the Scotland Under-21 international was "unacceptable".


She told the Scotsman newspaper: "We must use this particular instance to send a clear message that children have the right to be happy and healthy, safe and secure in everything that they do. We all have a responsibility to make that happen.


"Not taking action to protect children from the risk of sexual harm is unacceptable. Allowing convicted sex offenders to continue working where they will have direct and indirect contact with children is wrong.


"There is no place in our society for role models who have been convicted of sexual offences, no matter what talents they might have. We would hope that everyone in football, and particularly the Scottish Football Association, who are the primary governing body in Scottish football, would agree."


David McLetchie, a Conservative MSP and Hearts fan, was also unhappy at the news the club are standing by Thomson. "I am surprised given the seedy and unsavoury nature of his offences," he said. "The fact that the club places a high value on the work that it does with the community and the fact that footballers are supposed to aspire to be role models for young people – I do find it surprising."


Hearts released a statement regarding Thomson on Friday which read: "The club believes that there is no reason for Craig Thomson not to continue his career as a professional footballer and he will resume training with immediate effect.


"In reaching this decision, the club accepted that there are sufficient mitigating circumstances that provide significant assurance that the player's conduct, no matter how distasteful, was the result of a grave error of judgment due to naivety and possible wrong outside influence rather than anything more sinister and it will not be repeated.


"The club views this matter very seriously and does not condone the behaviour of the player.


"Appropriate action to prevent any further development of unlawful activities has been taken."


The Hearts Supporters' Trust chairman, Derek Watson, said: "The majority [of fans] are very much against keeping Craig Thomson on."


However Watson added: "I think there's more to the situation than meets the eye. I think the guy should get another chance. I've spoken to his lawyer at some length, I've also spoken to Hearts on the situation and I think it's a bit of a witch hunt."


OK, so I know it's not a matter of direct concern to our club, and we all know the way that money rules this game these days, but surely it's too far to accept having someone play for the team when you know they've been grooming 12 year old girls.


This story just leaves your blood running cold: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2011/06/26/victim-s-mum-reveals-full-horror-of-hearts-star-craig-thomson-s-depravity-86908-23228208/

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Didn't realise that part of his sentence was 'don't let him continue with his day job.'


The amount of grief he'll get from the stands mixed with that actual punishment sentenced by the judge I would think is fair enough.

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We'd probably offer him a new 5 year contract tbh.



In all seriousness though, I'm all for people righting their wrongs and get them a second chance with their lives, but I've got absolutely mercy or compassion for someone in a situation like this - he clearly knew what he was doing and still went ahead and did it. He'd get sacked on the spot if it was up to me, regardless of how 'sorry' he is.

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I can't see how he'll survive on the pitch, tbh. You all saw what happened to Neil Lennon at Tynecastle last season. :lol:


Imagine what they'll do to a convicted paedo, even if he is an important part of their back four?

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Can't help wondering what our club's owner and management would do in similar circumstances...



We didn't try sacking him, but I seem to remember Ashley not "opposing" selling Barton in August 2008.


Not to mention his face when Barton came on at The Emirates.

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Aye, for those the other article link:


Victim's mum reveals full horror of Hearts star Craig Thomson's depravity

Jun 26 2011 Exclusive by Lauren Crooks, Sunday Mail


THE mum of a schoolgirl groomed by footballer Craig Thomson called on his club to sack him yesterday and asked: "Have you no shame?"


Breaking her silence, she condemned the sex-shame player and his bosses at Hearts after they announced he would be kept on at the club despite his conviction for targeting her 12-year-old daughter and another young girl online.


She revealed the defender - who was a close family friend and had known his victim for years - bombarded her girl with obscene messages over nine months from January 2010.


The shattered mum, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told how Thomson, 20, begged the youngster not to tell anyone about him.


He made filthy comments about her appearance, tried to take her on drives and even sent naked photographs of himself.


Speaking to the Sunday Mail at the family home near Edinburgh, the 47-year-old woman said Scotland under-21 international Thomson had known exactly how old her daughter was.


He was put on the sex offenders' register for five years and fined £4000 after admitting lewd, libidinous and indecent behaviour earlier this month.


The mum-of-three said: "Hearts are not taking this seriously enough. As far as we are concerned, Thomson has got off with this. He needs to be sacked.


"The only thing that will teach him a lesson is if he goes. Football is all he cares about.


"Hearts are a family club and if he continues in football, he is obviously going to be around children. But who would take their kids to a game when they know he is on the pitch?


"They obviously don't want to lose him because he is a decent player and could make them money.


"They should be taking notice and investigating this. But there doesn't seem to have been anything of the sort - we haven't even heard a word from Hearts about it.


"To us, he has been let off really lightly. By the time he is 25 he won't even be on the sex offenders' register anymore. And a £4000 fine is nothing to him.


"He's meant to be a role model for kids and yet he has used his celebrity status to get at young girls."


The horrified mum, a support worker, said she had known nothing about Thomson's vile chats with her youngest child, now aged 13, until the police got in touch with her.


And when she heard how the player - who had been a friend of the family through the girl's older sister for around six years - had been grooming the girl, she was at first stunned then furious


The mum said: "He was somebody we knew and trusted. It's not that my daughter was in awe of him because he was a footballer. He was a family friend she had known since she was about six.


"He went to school with my older daughter and he used to come about the house quite often. He knew the whole family from a young age.


"This was someone my older daughter was very close with. But while she was attending Hearts events that Thomson had invited her to, he was also grooming her little sister."


Thomson began chatting to the 12-year-old at a party they were both invited to and the next day he added her as a friend on Facebook, then began chatting to her on MSN Messenger.


The girl's mum said: "She would mention that she had been chatting to him and I thought nothing of it. I worry that I didn't pick up on that.


"I wonder if she was trying to tell us something but didn't know how to.


"He had asked her if she had told her big sister they were chatting. He told her he didn't think she should and that he didn't imagine she'd be too happy about it.


"A couple of days in, he had pushed her into speaking to him in front of the webcam.


"When I heard the things he was saying to her after the police became involved I was shocked and disgusted. He was commenting on her figure, saying he liked her big chest, what she was wearing and would turn up in places that he knew she was going to be.


"Nearly every time he was in contact with her he asked her to take her top off.


"He moved on to sending her pictures of himself naked and asking her if she thought he was big. She was a 12-year-old girl, it's disgusting."


The sickened mum added: "He was well aware of how young she was. At one point he asked her how old she was now and when she told him she had turned 13, he said to her 'I knew that' before saying what he wanted to do to her. It is disgusting.


"He also invited her to come to his house for a sleepover, as long as she promised to walk around in her underwear. He tried to take her on drives and I'm just so relieved she didn't go with him. I dread to think what might have happened.


"I feel a bit stupid for letting this happen to my daughter. The worst of it is that if even if I had've known he was offering to take her out to McDonald's and that kind of thing, I would have just thought what a nice laddie he was. I wouldn't have thought he had any other motive than being nice to his friend's little sister.


"He disgusts me. If he was a total stranger who had come on and said that type of thing, then she would have deleted him straight away. But because she knew him, she thought there was a wee bit of protection.

"And it went on so long because she was frightened to say because he was a friend of the family."


The family are unsure how Thomson came to be investigated but the mum told how when her daughter went to the police station about it, there were four other girls there too and she knew three of them.


She said: "He has been found guilty of two, but there is probably lots more. This is a 20yearold footballer who could probably have any girl he wanted, yet he chooses to hang around at schoolgirls' parties."




Thomson's young victim yesterday said the player's unwanted attention gave her the creeps.


The girl, now 13, said: "I used to see him around all the time, he was everywhere.


"I would always put my head down or put sunglasses on to try and avoid him. I just hated seeing him.


"I used to shake when I did. He was always commenting on what I was wearing if I saw him. One time he drove past and waved and then later he asked if I was still wearing the leggings I had on earlier.

"So I'd wear things that wouldn't get his attention.


"I was scared to tell my mum and sisters in case they thought I had done something wrong. I was relieved once it all came out.


"When I look back I think 'How did I ever think that was okay?' but I think I thought to myself that he was a friend of my family, and also a footballer, so surely he wouldn't do something that was wrong.

"Surely he wouldn't risk everything by doing something bad.


"Even when I see him now, he doesn't try and hide, he just stares right at me."




A top football agent yesterday accused Hearts of putting money before morality.


The players' rep, who asked not to be named, said: "The reason they have kept Thomson is quite simple.


"He's an asset to the club and is somebody they will feel they can sell for upwards of £500,000 or maybe seven figures in a year or two.


"They have invested a lot of time training him and they aren't about to discard him now.


"This is a financial decision, pure and simple. If he was an ordinary 20-year-old they'd be delighted to get shot of him. He stays because he has talent.


"Football is littered with bad boys being given another chance and, as long as Thomson is doing the business on the grass, there will always be be a taker.


"Of course, there may be clubs who take the moral high ground and won't want anything to do with it, but there will be plenty clubs who won't care."


The agent, who has done business with Vladimir Romanov's club, said: "This whole thing isn't surprising to me. I have had a few dealings with the people at Hearts.


"They are unpredictable, to say the least, and are tough negotiators when it comes to money."

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Moral high ground? I guess it's far too much to ask to not want this individual on your club's books.


This situation is diabolical for more than the acts themselves.

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