London Hearts Supporters Club

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John McGlynn (Caretaker) <-auth George Caulkin auth-> John Underhill
Jankauskas Edgaras [G Buezelin 78] ;[G O'Connor 80]
87 of 099 ----- L SPL A

Tynecastle turmoil leads to forecast of revolution

By George Caulkin

GIVEN the unrest, backbiting and bitterness that have engulfed Heart of Midlothian, Vladimir Romanov can reflect that his promise to usurp the Old Firm has been partially fulfilled already. Whether it brings the club’s majority shareholder — described yesterday as a “dictator” by his former chairman — solace or success is another matter.

Tynecastle is the focal point for farce and controversy in Scotland, which, although welcomed gratefully at Ibrox and Celtic Park, is a crushing blow to the Hearts supporters who had come to regard this season as one of rich potential in the Bank of Scotland Premierleague.

In the past 12 days, Hearts have parted company with George Burley, their manager, slipped from their perch at the top of the league, interviewed Sir Bobby Robson and Claudio Ranieri for the vacant manager’s position, dismissed Phil Anderton, the chief executive, had George Foulkes, the chairman, resign in disgust and replaced both board members with Roman Romanov, Vladimir’s only child.

By any standards, the events have been extraordinary and while Roman Romanov hosted a hastily arranged press conference yesterday in which he requested patience and understanding, he cannot have failed to notice the jeering crowd — albeit a limited one — as he entered the stadium. Rarely has a position of strength been jeopardised so suddenly.

Anderton, the former chief executive of the Scottish Rugby Union, was appointed as recently as March 3, less than a month after Vladimir Romanov had bought a 29.9 per cent share in Hearts. He increased his stake to a controlling 55.5 per cent the day before Burley — who had guided his players to an unbeaten sequence of ten league matches — left his position amid allegations of interference by his employer in affairs.

Roman Romanov defended the decision to replace Anderton — “although Phil ticked many boxes, he didn’t tick them all and we need a chief executive who does,” he said — and tried to assuage supporters, whom he promised to consult, by reiterating that plans to redevelop Tynecastle were progressing as planned and that transfer funds would be made available to the new manager.

He also revealed that discussions with high-profile candidates would resume in London this week, although Foulkes, who was instrumental in attracting the Romanov family to Hearts, was sceptical about the lingering prospects of Robson’s arrival. “We were well down the road of signing Bobby,” Foulkes said. “He’d indicated that he wanted to come and we wanted him as long as we could agree on the price. Phil Anderton was in the middle of discussing that. I don’t know whether Bobby is still interested — that would be an interesting question to ask. I wouldn’t put money on it.

“The only people who will work for (Vladimir) Romanov now are people who are prepared to do what he tells them. You are not going to get the best people that way. You might get a manager from Lithuania or Eastern Europe, but I don’t think you’ll get anyone from the United Kingdom.

“I brought in Vladimir Romanov and I’m regretting that very much now. Vladimir Romanov is behaving like a dictator and if he continues to do that then there will be a revolution against him. I’m still regretting that we were bounced into sacking George Burley. I think that was a big mistake.”

Roman Romanov, who will fill the chief executive’s role on a short-term basis, appealed for understanding. “Sometimes in order to . . . progress it is necessary to take action that may seem unpalatable at the time.” he said. “We ask our fans to judge us on the results that we are determined to bring to the club.”



Romanovs: Russian noble families whose common ancestor was Andrei Kobyla. His surname is Russian for “mare”, which, as if prophetically, is football-speak for “nightmare”

Romanov: Son of a war hero, he started selling bootleg Elvis records in Lithuania, then privatised companies and founded a bank


Romanovs: 300 years

Romanov: Since February


Romanovs: Under Alexander III, autocracy and economic expansion, but with a disaffected workforce

Romanov: George Foulkes, the former Heart of Midlothian chairman: “Vladimir Romanov is behaving like a dictator and if he continues to do that, there will be a revolution”


Romanovs: Secular, family-centric and inspired by western Europe

Romanov: Believed to be against the long-ball game


Romanovs: Acquired Ukraine, the Baltic States and most of Poland

Romanov: Wants a bigger stadium and to win the Champions League


Romanovs: Catherine the Great

Romanov: Rudi Skacel, on loan from Marseilles; nine goals in 13 matches


Romanovs: Dethroned in 1917 and murdered by the Bolsheviks, partly for having German consorts

Romanov: Lost to Hibernian, their local rivals, and were knocked off the top of the league. Signed a lot of unproven foreign players

Taken from

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