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The Luke Henderson Story

Finding a way in Scottish football
Started on 22 December 2019 by Luke Henderson
Latest Reply on 23 June 2020 by TheLFCFan

#049 - Ready, steady, goooo!

01/08/2026 -- It couldn’t any better so far. All circumstances are looking good for still being a Hearts manager within the next month. First I will show you our pre-season results and our schedule for the first few matches in the league. Again we played more practicing games than I’m used to, mainly because we are still bringing in new players, so they can take part in the team and learning our new 4-4-2 tactic as well. We faced a couple of tough opponents like Fulham and Derby County (both away) and Danish champion København but we managed to win seven out of eight and only conceding three goals.

The most important part every season are our efforts on the transfer market. We are still in a search for new players, but it’s really harsh to be honest. The market is quite small, with Rangers and Celtic picking nearly every promising talent. We can’t pay them, so we are dependent for left-overs and hiring somebody. Until now we signed only two new players. The first guy is one of these talents who is bought by Celtic in the past, but at the end he didn’t made it. Although he played around ten league matches every season. We are talking about Harry Cochrane. A very balanced central midfielder who is definitely an upgrade for us. Unfortunately not the natural leader we were searching for, but these kind of characters are nearly impossible to find. He is on a free which is important as well and I think his good passing, visions, technique and capability for making a goal are helping us for being more creative. He is almost paid twice as much as our second best paid player, but luckily we have a good amount of wage budget left so I think we had to do it.

The second newbie is a really promising youngster on loan from Liverpool called Neil Nix. I’m very glad with this guy who can compete with Field for sure. He is more a defender rather than an attacking wingback like Field, so we can make use from both of them qualities depending how the matches are evolving. There is one more player new in our squad. Last season we send Lloyd Kenny on loan to Championship side East Fife were he did a really good job. Celtic and Rangers were interested in him with Celtic making a really good offer at some point, but we warned them to put their hands of him! As you can see he is a very pacy winger, despite being only seventeen he has some great mental skills and his main technical attributes are double figures already, with dribbling already amazing. We made an £1,300,000 offer for a 22-year old Danish Guy, quite good as well, but at some point I was thinking: what am I actually doing? We have this youngster with us already, why are we spending such amount of money? Despite we agreed a contract with this Danish guy we turned it down in favour of Kenny. We give him all the space for developing himself, at least I have some really good faith in him. He might be our new club legend!

As already expected it’s quite hard to sell a couple of our players who I want to get rid of. This far only one player moved: Craig Halkett joined Saint Mirren. Yeah, that’s a real challenge, isn’t it Craig? Good for him, Good for us. Although we have to pay a little amount of his wage during his period at Saint Mirren, but we’ll take it (although I’m not really a fan of this). However, we received £500,000 for him, not that bad actually. Our search for new players is still going on, hopefully one of our scouts can bring in some interesting players as well.

This is it, the five most important matches of my managing career are starting to begin
Unfortunately our squad is far from complete so far, but the start of the season is definitely not wating for us of course. It will be challenging for sure. But there are two big favours ahead of us which do make it quite plausible that we can force a flying start of the season and not getting sacked. The first one is our schedule. I really have to send a big thanks to the Scottish Football Association. It seems like they wanted Luke Henderson in the Scottish Premiership for at least another year. We are facing Raith Rovers away (12th last season), Dundee at home (15th), Queen of the South at home again (they are promoted from the Championship), Partick Thistle away (13th) and Livingston away (16th). In that order. Normally spoken these matches should deliver us fifteen points. Normally spoken… But what should be normal currently at Hearts, I don’t know actually. Afterwards we are playing against Rangers, Hamilton, Hibernian and Celtic... Possible delivering us no points at all, but he, by the time my ass might be saved already, ha-ha! The second fact is that I always made a pretty good start throughout the seasons over the past few years. With Spartans of course and my first year with Hearts as well. The tactic looks good so far, I’m pleased with the new signings and we had a really solid run of practicing game. So probably everything went horribly wrong when the first official match is starting to begin ha-ha… Next update I will show you if I’m still in charge with Hearts!

Note: Thanks Scott, we really need it! I truly hope we can do so, I'm really not done yet with this club. We strenghtened our squad a bit TheLFCFan, but not as much as I was hoping for at this point. Hopefully we can add some more quality and squad depth in the next few weeks. As already said above, next update will make everything clear.
Your job could be saved with those fixtures. You have a good chance!

#050 - The show must go on

15/09/2026 -- The show will go on! We did it! I’m so pleased I survived these first five matches. I wasn’t done with Hearts already. This is a fantastic club with a great potential I would say. Luckily I can go further with my future visions for Hearts. Although the board is still expecting that we do qualify ourselves for one of the European Cup tournaments. A tough expectation, but definitely not insurmountable. We start our run with a somewhat tricky 2-1 win over Raith Rovers after they scored a late goal, but luckily we hold stand. Thereafter we managed two comfortable wins against Dundee and Queen of the South, with Tompkins scoring goals! Great news for him and me as well. Away against Partick Thistle we screwed a 2-0 lead, but a point was a very welcome result as well to be honest, meaning that only one point will be enough against Livingston for saving my job. But we managed to win this fifth match, gaining a total amount of thirteen points out of fifteen, enough to save my job and being third in the league! In between we played a League Cup match as well. It was an awful game to be honest, but luckily we managed to win this time, after penalties. So, good to say we can go further, although it’s not going to be easy from now on for sure.

The transfer-window is closed now, but in the few days before closing day we managed to bring in three more players. Two guys on loan and one transfer and with this transfer in particular I’m very pleased. The guy we signed is 34-year old goalkeeper Zander Clark. It was really hard to bring him in because at the beginning of the transfer window he was put on the transfer-list, but by the time we were close to an agreement Hull City suddenly decided to keep him. But just before the end of the transfer-window Clark asked for a transfer himself. We had to pay even a little bit less money than we did before, so at the end I’m pretty damn happy! He is an experienced goalkeeper, tall, Scottish (which is always a huge benefit to me if I’m managing in the same country) and having very decent numbers for his key attributes. But the most important fact is without any doubt his capability for being a captain. 15 leadership and 12 teamwork is way better than any other guy in our squad, so he will be directly promoted to our captain. Which was accepted by almost every player in the squad immediately, which is good I suppose. We paid £850,000 for Clark. Quite a lot for an aged player, but I think he can easily play another two or three years.

Buying new players is quite difficult, so we went ourselves into the loan market. We found two new guys, because of which we are now hiring four players in total, the maximum number allowed in the league. The first one is left-midfielder Kevin Brown from Portsmouth. Not the best player in the world, but there was not much more available. He well be used as a back-up for McAllister. The main benefit for this choice is that we don’t have to pay a lot of wage money. The second guy on loan is called John Pugh from Spurs. An Englishman as well. He will be our back-up player for the right full-back position. He has some really good mental and physical skills and his technical key attributes are not that bad either. He can play with both feet, so he is also usable at the left hand side of the pitch.

I think this is pretty much it for the first half of the season. Not many new players, mainly because a lot of players hadn’t an expiring contract last year and beside of that they are hard to sell. That will be different at the end of this season, when a lot of players who were already here before I joined Hearts are running out of their contracts. At that point I can really change some things, hopefully! But the main priority right now is to perform better then last season. I have to convince the board first for extending my contract. I think we can finish within the first five if none of our key players is getting heavily injured like last year and I want to perform way better in both the Cup tournaments. With a little bit of luck in the draws we are definitely capable for reaching into the final I would say.
Congratulations on keeping your job and also on the great start to the season. Really like the look of Kevin Brown as well certainly a nice addition for the year as a backup option. Clark will also bring a lot of experience and a good leader so some really good business. Well done.
Zander Clark is a great addition to the team. He provided great service at St Johnstone! A very good start to the season too, good job.

#051 - It’s slightly getting better

04/12/2026 -- After the good start of the season which saved my ass we faced a couple of tough opponents immediately. Although we were very close to a result against Rangers they managed to win the game with 2-1. An stupid own goal from Findlay granted Rangers the three points, but it was not deserved at all. Thereafter we played a draw against our rivals Hibernians, which wasn’t bad and we smashed Hamilton with 3-0 in the League Cup. The next match, at home again, we played against Celtic. They are definitely from another planet. Even Rangers is struggling heavily to compete with them. Their best player is almost paid as much as our whole squad together, to give you an idea how far we are behind them. They forced two early goals and we couldn’t turn the match in our favour afterwards.

But the next eleven games the results were decent I would say with only one loss against one of the better clubs in the league again, Aberdeen. We qualified ourselves for the League Cup Semi-final, in which we facing Aberdeen again at their stadium and won our game in the third round of the Scottish Cup against Dundee. The last match against Kilmarnock was quite enjoying. Their goalkeeper made two awful mistakes which Tompkins punished immediately and Tompkins scored another goal from eleven meter providing him his third hattrick already this season. He seems fully recovered from his last seasons injury and scoring goals frequently. Fortunately I would say, we spent a lot of money for him last year. By the 3-1 victory over Kilmarnock we are currently fourth in the league, although we played one game more than most other clubs did. But we are definitely performing better then last season, so I’m still convinced we could end within the first five this season.

Because our busy schedule we have a couple of injuries currently, which harmed our strikers. That’s why I send our youth talent Lee Saunders into the squad. I mentioned him before, but didn’t show his profile already. Now he is with us, and scored a goal already, I will show his profile underneath. He needs some development of course, but in essence he could be a very dangerous striker. Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen and even Tottenham Hotspur are already interested in him, but I’m definitely not selling him of course. Or one of these clubs made an insane offer which I can’t ignore! Furthermore I’ve send our new goalkeeper Zander Clark to the bench. Stone played the two cup matches, in which he proved himself. He performed really well and even stopped a penalty kick against Dundee. Because of that I decided to give him another chance and so far he is quite decent. So for the time being he is our first goalkeeper again, despite the fact he is still a little bit to short in my opinion for being my instant goalkeeper in the next few years.

Note: Actually Brown played pretty shit the few times I used him as a substitute, TheLFCFan. Hopefully he can perform better in the nearby future! Yeah Clark looked like a huge upgrade for us Scott, but so far he didn't convinced me that much... Maybe he isn't as good anymore when he played for Saint Johnstone IRL as you mentioned; in the game we are almost eight years ahead! But I think we will see him back for sure. Stone will make mistakes again at some point I suppose (although I hope not!). Coming up next: facing Aberdeen in the League Cup and more league results
Excellent work. Good luck in the semi-finals that await you. Saunders looks exciting!
Well up there in a fight for the top spots, a good season is coming!
Good going so far this season, the top three may be out of reach for this year considering they have at least a six point gap on you with one or two games in hand, you are steadily building a strong team that will soon be pushing them hard.

#052 - The rope was almost cut, until…

10/02/2027 -- After our 2-0 loss against Inverness (bottom league team), our 1-0 loss against one of our competitors Hamilton and the tremendous 3-0 loss at home against Saint Mirren, were all of my players walked on the pitch like warmed corpses, I really thought it’s all over for me. And, to be honest, I can’t even argue about it. Suddenly from nowhere we performed terrible. If we lose the following game against Ross County I’m pretty sure I will be sacked. I thought by myself: fuck it, I’m not going to change my tactic again, I just can’t believe that will make any difference. Before these three losses we played quite well, why can’t we suddenly play football anymore? If they sack me, they sack me, but I’m staying behind my tactic. Definitely.

That was the only good decision. Although it was a very tough game, we managed a 2-1 win over Ross County and thereafter we surprised our rivals Hibernian away, managed to win the League Cup semi-final match away against Aberdeen and beat Ross County again in the fourth round Scotch Cup match. If anyone of you can explain these great variables throughout the past seasons please let me know. I have really no solution anymore. We just start a game and it’s like a flip of a coin every time who is going to win the match. Although, that are my feelings…

The next match against Hamilton we really outplayed them. But of course from their only chance they scored… We created more than 25 chances, but couldn’t score a single goal. Tompkins seems to be in a crisis currently, hopefully he will pick up his form soon. But in the dying seconds of the additional time left wing-back Neil Nix scored a breath-taking goal from distances, saving a point for us. Although that should have been three… Thereafter Celtic humiliated us, which was not a big surprise, they are above everyone in the league, but it was definitely not a good lead-in for our next match: the League Cup Final!

We are playing against Partick Thistle, currently struggling against relegation. But finals are always different and matches on their own, so we don’t have to think this one is already won. After an very unlucky end of the ninety minutes followed by a very excited additional time, Henderson managed to win the first trophy with Hearts after fifteen years! Which one of the guys from the board dares to sack Henderson now! Henderson did win his first major trophy, after he won the League One competition more than four years ago with Spartans. It's just an amazing achievement given the circumstances, when Henderson has to read almost every week that he will be sacked after another bad game… But I’m still at the wheel, and now we have granted the fans a prize after so many years. The board has to show some really big balls now if they decide to sack me at some point…

The match against Partick Thistle wasn’t great until the 87th minute, when one of their centre backs suddenly from nowhere headed in a free kick which means the equalizer after Easton scored the 1-0 only ten minutes earlier. Sadly we have to fight for this cup another thirty minutes… But we didn’t start great and soon Partick scored again, bringing them in the lead. Henderson was furious, but a magnificent free kick from Mimnaugh brought us back in the game. Most of the players from Partick seemed pretty tired, with Henderson still having a substitute in hand. But that wasn’t even needed. Seven minutes before the end of the game Easton scored his second goal of the evening, granting us the lead again. We immediately closed our lines with the last substitute, and pulled the lead over the final whistle. “Not a perfect game obvious, but the result is the only thing that really matters. I’m so proud. We all need to be. Everybody knows there are some big troubles here at the club currently, but the players gave everything they had to force the win. The first prize in fifteen years. It’s just amazing. We will definitely drink a beer tonight!” An overjoyed Henderson said afterwards.

We handled to win the next league match against Raith Rovers, but lost the next away game against them in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup. Quite disappointingly I would say, but winning the League Cup did satisfied myself and the players already, although the Scotch Cup could bring us into European football next season. Now we have to qualify ourselves via the competition, which will be a tough job to complete. Dundee United is already six point ahead of us, so we need a good run of form to surpass them. In about two weeks we are facing them, which will be a very important match. If we loss that one we get further behind and ending within the first five will be nearly impossible then I suppose.

Winter transfers
Beside our changeable results on the pitch we didn’t do anything on the transfermarket. Not because of we don’t want to, but we couldn’t… The club is not generating enough money throughout the season, so our current amount of money in the bank is dropped below zero… Despite having around £4,500,000 for transfers it’s definitely not a good idea to spend this. There is a good chance that we do miss European football again, so at the end of next season the club is probably running into financial troubles. Quite frustrating, because we really need a quality injection to be honest. But it is wat it is, we have to focus ourselves for having a good run of form until the end of the season which hopefully is awarded with the fifth place in the league.

Although we brought nobody in, we did some transfers. Back-up goalkeeper Harry Stone (the tiny one) is send on loan to Saint Mirren for the rest of the season and 21-year old centre back Michael Strang is send on loan to Livingston. Strang is believed a great talent, almost every big team in the league is interested in him, but I really don’t see it. He is quite short, has a weak jumping reach and his main skill for defending are okay, but definitely not above average. We tried to sell him, but the bids from these interested clubs were to low so far unfortunately.
A tough run of results originally, but you recovered well in the end and even went on to win silverware. Well done!
Congratulations on the League Cup victory, a massive step in the right direction for both you and the club, hopefully more success will follow.

#053 - Damn, be realistic for god sake!

10/04/2027 -- After Raith Rovers eliminated us in the Scottish Cup we showed a good run of form with very decent results. From the nine matches afterwards we won six, played two draws and only lost away against Aberdeen (0-1). The most important one was the game against Dundee, our main competitors for position five in the league. We played a good game, but only forget to score, resulting in a 0-0 draw. I’ll definitely take it, because we are still close behind them and their schedule is much tougher than ours. Just a couple of weeks later we passed them in the league and with only four playing rounds in hand we have a six points gap. Although that says nothing, last year we screwed a 7 points lead in favour of Hamilton… But, our last four fixtures are not really hard beside the away game against Rangers. We only have to make sure we saved the fifth position before the last match of the season.

But finishing fifth is not automatically meaning that we are qualified for European football next year. If the Scotch Cup winner is not one of the four clubs in front of us at the table, then the fifth position is just the fifth position. And that doom scenario might be happening… Of course it does… It won’t be that way either, huh? FM is always playing with my balls this career, so why not again? This is the case: from the last four clubs in the Scotch Cup, only Rangers is above us in the league. So I think we have to give all their players a Rolex or such for motivating them winning the Scotch Cup… We shall see next time how things are sorting out; firstly we have to finished fifth by ourselves before we can put all our hope into Rangers.

Henderson’s future
Beside our battle for finishing fifth and so gaining the possibility to play European football for the first time in four year, I’m not very sure if I’m the manager of Hearts next year as well. My contract is expiring within a few months and the board is still extremely disappointed about my achievements. They expected us to qualify for Champions League football this year and next year they are even expecting that we can compete with Celtic for the league title… Completely ridiculous, but there isn’t any possibility for downgrading the five-year club vision policy. Almost every week I’m receiving messages that the next match will be the last one if we don’t manage to win that match, and my current job status is highly insecure. Beside of that we didn’t have any money, the overall quality of the current squad is just ‘mwoah’ and our youth intake was terrible again (just as almost every year, I really don’t know why… In all that years I played FM, no matter which club I’m managing, I barely get a youth talent which is boosting my heart rate…)

So, yeah, I really don’t know where I’m standing currently. Most likely they will let sitting me down until the last match and say goodbye to me when my contract is expiring. Very disappointingly if it is like that. I really want to push Hearts further upwards the ladder, but the working atmosphere isn’t very comfortable to be honest. Every match there is pressure, which is annoying me heavily. But the most worrying thing is called Ann Budge. The chairwoman who is deciding about my destiny will leave the club very soon. A so called take-over is underway right now. It couldn’t come in on a more worse moment obvious. I’m pretty sure the new board wants to be a fresh start from next season, and Luke Henderson is definitely not fitting in that picture I guess… So I’ve been already started to take a look at the job market if there are some interesting clubs to manage next year. Most likely that will be in England. In Scotland only managing Rangers or Celtic will be a step up for me, but it will be very unlikely one of their managers will leave the club. So I’m thinking about a bottom (or relegated) Premier League club or a competitive Championship side. Although I have selected a lot of playable competitions all over Europe, but I don’t think many of them have ever hear of Luke Henderson before to be honest… Well, we shall see how things are sorting out, maybe Hearts do give me another chance… Be positive Luke!

Fingers crossed you can keep your job. Perhaps the potential success in the cup could be a reason to allow you to remain as manager.
Been in a similar situation before with the risk of losing your job, hopefully this takeover can go through and Ann can leave, allowing for a fresh board to come in and really back you!

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