London Hearts Supporters Club

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Hearts home in on dream ticket of Robson and Carver


SIR Bobby Robson and John Carver are the front-runners to become director of football and coach respectively at Hearts, despite a report linking Kevin Keegan with the managerial vacancy. The dual appointment could go through later this week, the main stumbling block to it being the fact that Carver is currently under contract at Leeds United, where he is first-team coach.

Having decided they need a director of football to bridge the gap between the footballing staff and the board of directors, Hearts would be able to save themselves several weeks of further uncertainty if they can come to an agreement with Sir Bobby and the man who was his No2 at Newcastle United.

Any director of football who did not arrive at the same time as a deputy would have to spend time forging a working relationship with Hearts' existing coaching staff, including the interim manager John McGlynn - and then replicate the process when a longer-term second-in-command was in place.

Candidates for the top post have been asked for their thoughts on a head coach they could work with, and Carver is clearly a man with whom Sir Bobby could work very well. The 72-year-old former England boss impressed the Hearts board when they interviewed him, apparently persuading them that his enthusiasm and ability were undiminished.

By contrast, the prospect of appointing Keegan - also, by coincidence, once manager of Newcastle and England - was dismissed by a club source as at best remote. The claim by a BBC reporter that Hearts had approached Keegan should be taken, said the source, "with a large Siberian-sized cellar of salt".

Meanwhile, Claudio Ranieri, in whom the club did take a serious interest, has told friends in London he is out of the running for the job after failing to impress Vladimir Romanov. The former Chelsea manager had a favourable initial meeting with the Hearts chief executive Phil Anderton on Wednesday, but fared less well the following day when he flew to Edinburgh to meet the club's majority shareholder.

Hearts sources confirmed yesterday that Romanov and Ranieri had not hit it off. Besides failing to convince Romanov that he had the right ideas for the club, the Italian is also understood to have priced himself out of the job. Hearts are willing to reward success with a generous bonus scheme, but do not want to pay a basic salary of anything like the £1.8million which Ranieri was reported to be seeking.

The Tynecastle club know that the fact the team lost their unbeaten league record to Hibs on Saturday is likely to increase the pressure from Hearts supporters to make an appointment. However, given they are seeking their fourth manager in a year, following the departures of Craig Levein, John Robertson and George Burley, they are determined to hold their nerve and get this one right.

"The result will have no effect at all on the process," Anderton said yesterday. "It is still our priority and we are working very hard on that at the moment. Further meetings are planned and will take place this week."

Taken from the Scotsman

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