Craig Levein has left UEFA Cup contenders Heart of Midlothian FC and is set to take over as the new manager of English first division side Leicester City FC. Levein, 40, and his Tynecastle assistant Peter Houston will replace Mickey Adams who resigned a fortnight ago.
"There is only one reason for my decision and it is my ambition to manage in England and get into the Premiership," he said. "I have great affection for Hearts, but I am ambitious and Leicester are a club that fulfil that. It's been a difficult time [at Hearts] with money problems, stadium issues and boardroom unrest, but all that had no bearing on my decision to leave."
Levein, a former Scottish international and Hearts player, has been an unqualified success with the Edinburgh-based side despite operating in financially difficult times. He has trimmed almost €4.3m off the Hearts wage bill since he took over in December 2000, yet on the field his team has not let the standards drop.
Hearts have finished third behind Rangers FC and Celtic FC in the past two seasons and this year Levein guided the Edinburgh club into the group stage of the UEFA Cup. They lost their opening Group A match away to Feyenoord 3-0 last week and are at home to FC Schalke 04 next Thursday.
Hearts will receive compensation in the region of €215,000 from Leicester for the loss of Levein, who still had 18 months of his Tynecastle contract to run. Levein is expected to watch Leicester in Saturday's Championship match against Cardiff City FC and assume full control from caretaker managers Dave Bassett and Howard Wilkinson for Tuesday's game against Crewe Alexandra FC.
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