London Hearts Supporters Club

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Jim Traynor

SO Phil Anderton and George Foulkes have become the latest victims of Vladimir Romanov's Hearts revolution. Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't this supposed to be a bloodless coup?

Just don't be surprised if you come across a Hearts fan cowering under his Cossack hat.

Hearts' people are disappearing rapdily these days and no one can tell who'll be next.

Firework Phil, who did not approve of the Russian-born Lithuanian's dealings in the wake of team manager George Burley's departure, was first yesterday, snuffed out like a damp squib.

Then Foulkes, whohadbeen such a blethering supporter of Romanov, also resigned as the brave new world that had been opening up to Hearts began to crumble around them Suddenly the notion Hearts were basking in warm harmony was blown away and the swift removal of Anderton and Foulkes surely sends ominous signals that far from being a place brimming with joy andambition Tynecastle is actually a dangerous place to work.

A man can lose his livelihood in there.

Some of us had long suspected there might be a hidden agenda and perhaps we are about to discover Romanov's real intent.

And as he tightens his grip on the club it appears there is no one left who can stop him.

And yet it was all so simple for him. He very quickly won over Foulkes, who was always ready to get up on his soap box and blab about how wonderful the new man was, and even Leslie Deans, who had been a bitter opponent of Chris Robinson, spoke in glowing terms. Romanov must have had to stop and look in the mirror at times just to check if this terrific individual, the football philanthropist they were all applauding, was really him.

We can assume, though, that Anderton and Foulkes, along with Burley, are looking at him in rather a different light today.

They might see a man with whom they could no longer reason or advise and Anderton, I'm sure, would have been trying to do both as Hearts searched for a new manager.

Indeed, it might well have been the refusal to offer potential manager Claudio Ranieri a decent salary that convinced Anderton the dream was turning into a nightmare.

As for Foulkes, I wonder if he doesn't feel just a little silly now.After all, he was happy to be the master's mouthpiece and became something of a bore as he spouted his platitudes.

On his arrival in Edinburgh, Romanov,who has banking interests in Lithuania, was also quickly embraced by Hearts' long-suffering fans but they were so desperate to get rid of Robinson, they'd have accepted Vlad the Impaler himself.

If you think about it, Robinson must be about the only man involved in the change who can still smile because he got his cash out of a club with debts of almost £20million.

In return the supporters got their wish - a change of leadership - and blindly followed their Pied Piper along the road to ... well, the truth is not a single one of these fans knows where this will all lead.

This morning they'll probably still cling to the hope that Romanov and his son, Roman, who was appointed chairman in succession to Foulkes almost before the old Lord could get out of the way, really are planning good things for Hearts.

Roman also takes over Anderton's duties in the meantime but it might be longer than he thinks.

If you were a top manager or administrator, would you want to work for Hearts right now?

Tynecastle is in turmoil and just might be in the hands of a tinpot dictator who appears to have little regard for those under his rule.

Burley was willing to gamble by returning to his homeland to run the team and although he took them to the top of the SPL without losing a match, he couldn't stomach Romanov's constant interfering.

He left and in just more than a week since the place has gone into meltdown.

Hearts lost the Edinburgh derby and 24 hours later - when Celtic beat Dundee United - they also lost top place in the league. Now they've lost two more bodies. What else might be lost in the weeks ahead?

All hope of winning the title almost certainly and maybe even their best players, who must be stunned by what is going on, in the January transfer window.

But one more thing could be lost.

Dare I say Tynecastle, despite all the assurances that have been given on that score?

After all, with Romanov at the helm Tynecastle is now an ever-changing landscape

Taken from the Daily Record

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