London Hearts Supporters Club

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Anderton was ready to resign before sacking

MARTIN GREIG November 03 2005

Roman Romanov has revealed to Hearts supporters that Phil Anderton tendered his resignation last Saturday with a view to leaving at the end of the season.

It was previously understood that Anderton had been sacked following a meeting on Monday afternoon, a decision which prompted the resignation of the chairman, George Foulkes, in protest.

In another twist yesterday, Sir Bobby Robson indicated his concern over Anderton's departure, though stopped short of ruling himself out of contention for a move to Hearts.

In a two-hour meeting with the new chairman and stand-in chief executive on Tuesday evening, representatives of the four fans' groups were informed by Romanov that Anderton had written a letter of resignation to then chairman Foulkes on Saturday.

"They clarified that Phil Anderton tendered his resignation, in writing, to George Foulkes on Saturday 29th October 2005," read the fans groups' summary of the meeting.

It went on to state that "it was felt [by senior management, including Vladimir Romanov and his son Roman] that Phil had been focusing too much on the short-term nature of the business and it was disappointing that certain longer-term objectives had not been satisfactorily progressed since he started."

Martin Laidlaw, chairman of the Hearts Supporters Trust, claimed that the negligence shown to "longer-term objectives" related to the redevelopment of Tynecastle.

He said: "When the exact nature of these 'longer-term objectives were discussed, they said that, for example, their plans for the stadium had not been developed enough. They're very keen to push ahead with it."

The longer-term priorities were spelled out in the summary, which refers to Romanov's plan for "redevelopment of Tynecastle to accomodate

25-27,000 fans within the next two months".

It was confirmed that the board would be submitting two planning applications to the City of Edinburgh Council, one looking to redevelop the Main Stand only and the other looking to develop the whole stadium.

The senior management team also acknowledged that the recent events had been a "PR disaster for the club".

"They are getting [legal firm] Brodies to do an analysis of the company structure," added Laidlaw. "They believed that the lines of communication were very poor and it all went some way to contributing to what was quite a leaky organisation, particularly after the departure of George Burley."

The summary also stated that the board became discontented with the team's performance after the 2-2 draw with Falkirk and the subsequent 1-1 draw with Celtic at Parkhead.

"They indicated that it was their opinion that, since the game against Falkirk, they had noticed that the performance of the team had been in decline.

"They suggested that there were circumstances involved which meant that George Burley was no longer able to get the most from the squad."

Laidlaw and the seven other fans' representatives present at the meeting left with a more positive impression of how the departure of George Burley, Foulkes and Anderton had been handled.

"I really don't think this is a megalomaniac running around sacking people," said Laidlaw. "It doesn't work that way. They gave us reasons why they made these decisions. Some people might not agree with them, but at least they were made on the basis of concrete information."

Meanwhile, Robson spoke of his dismay at Anderton's departure, though refused to rule himself out of contention as Burley's replacement.

"I thought Phil was a top man," said Robson. "In fact, I came home and said to myself I could work for him as he is intelligent, forthright and honest. But he has lost his job and it does give me a lot of concern.

"The owner or chairman at any football club is a very important man. Because, if he is right then, more often than not, the club will be right through him. So I am just waiting, watching, listening and looking."

Robson was tipped to take over as director of football, with Leeds United's first-team coach, John Carver, coming in as head coach. The pair worked together at St James' Park but Kevin Blackwell, the Leeds United manager, has dismissed the speculation.

"John is already at a massive club, in Leeds," said Blackwell. "John and I had a chat about it but, at this moment in time, there is nothing to say. It's all speculation because of the Bobby Robson link, but Bobby hasn't been appointed yet."

Wim van Hanegem, the former Dutch internationalist and manager of Feyenoord, has put his name forward for the job, though Lothar Matthäus is likely to withdraw from contention and take charge of the Bundesliga club Nuremberg.

Taken from the Herald

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