London Hearts Supporters Club

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Stephen Frail <-auth Stuart Bathgate auth-> Alan Freeland
Zaliukas Marius Wallace Lee [B Robson 22] ;[B Robson pen 69] ;[N Hunt 84] ;[B Robson pen 87]
1 of 020 Christophe Berra 37 L SPL A

Hearts put Frail in charge, for now

STEPHEN Frail took over as Hearts' caretaker manager yesterday, and immediately warned his squad that there would no longer be any guaranteed places in the team.
The assistant head coach has been put in temporary charge while Hearts seek "an experienced football manager . . . preferably with experience of managing in British football".

Anatoly Korobochka, who had been acting head coach, has reverted to his original role as sport director. Angel Cervenkov, the third member of the triumvirate which has been in charge of the first team this season, has left the club, although has been retained as an advisor to Vladimir Romanov, Hearts' majority shareholder.

Since assuming control of the club, Romanov has played an active part in team selection. The preferential treatment given to some players has provoked discord and resentment for some time, and was one of the main concerns of Steven Pressley, Paul Hartley and Craig Gordon when they issued a joint statement of protest in late 2006.

At the time, Romanov's response was to discipline those three and carry on team selection as usual. Now, by contrast, with Hearts having lost their last five games and slumped to tenth place in the SPL, he appears to have had a change of mind.

As caretaker manager, Frail has been given "full responsibility for team selection and coaching of the first team squad", according to a statement by the club. The new full-time manager will have the same working brief.

Speaking on the Hearts website,, Frail said he believed his appointment could give some players new hope of getting a run in the team, and would be a warning to others that they could no longer coast through training and matches and expect to retain their places. "It will be (a fresh start]," he said.

"And it will be a wake-up call for one or two other ones who think they can just turn up because of who they are, regardless of if they've played much football recently, and always hope to get back in the team.

"If my understanding is correct I've been given full rein on that side of things. So anyone who thinks they're just there for the sake of it, they're making a mistake about that. And hopefully the ones I know we can rely on will see this as a positive change and we can lift the whole place.

"Hopefully I can get a reaction from the players. I'll be sitting talking to them as soon as I can to stress to them what I'm looking for.

"And I'm certain whoever comes in will be looking for the exact same thing. That means we need everyone to be working hard, we need everyone who plays to earn the right to play.

"There will be one or two changes in terms of people, games and personnel and horses for courses type of thing. But everyone who plays, or goes out on the training pitch, knows they've got a chance if they're playing well.

"And if you're not training, or you think you're going on reputation, or you knew the last time that you could play one game, miss two then be back in for four, hopefully that will not be the case any longer. We'll have full rein of the team and be able to pick it and make substitutions as we see fit."

Frail does not yet have the coaches badges required to have his appointment made permanent, and the club expects him to revert to being assistant head coach once a new manager is appointed. But, while his term in charge may be brief, he appears ready to make the most of it.

"Ultimately nothing has been my decision," he stated. "But now it is. My thoughts will count now.

"(There will not be] wholesale changes at all. It's not as if we can say we're going to wipe out the whole back four and put in a new one. The areas we have maybe one or two extra bodies we might not have the same quality.

"There will be one or two in terms of the way we're playing. But because it has come so quickly it's something that's going to take time. And it's something I'm very excited about, and I'm very honoured to have it.

"It was a strange day on Hogmanay, to be asked to come to Tynecastle and told the decision has been made for the club to seek a British-type manager with full say in all team affairs. And until that time I've been given the charge of taking it on and trying to improve results and get us playing and working and moving up the table.

"The priority has to be getting back to having everyone connected with the club on the football side pulling in the one direction and ultimately getting results. Once you start getting results things take care of themselves and you can look to hopefully change other things.

"Again, I don't know how long it's going to be for, and until we bring in the correct manager I will try my very best to make sure we give something back to what has been a very loyal support, and make sure we move up the table.

"It's all about the players and what we can get from them. Something I hope I can get from the players is unity and a spirit, and if we can do that we've got half a chance.

"I would ask for the same level of support we've had from the fans. It's not going to change overnight. It's going to be a process of trying to get the players back to knowing what it's all about."

Frail's first game in full charge is at Dundee United
today, where he comes up against his old team-mate, the former Hearts manager Craig Levein. "My priority is the next couple of games, against Dundee United and then Kilmarnock, and trying to get something from that," said Frail. "Then we'll have a week between the Kilmarnock game and the next one (a Scottish Cup tie at home to Motherwell] and hopefully be in a position to implement one or two things."

THE developments at Tynecastle yesterday have already had Hearts supporters wondering who their next manager will be. Former Spurs boss Martin Jol is one big name mentioned – if only because the Dutchman is out of a job – while a poll on a Hearts fans' website, ( has former manager Craig Levein top of the pile...

Craig Levein 30%
Billy Davies 24%
Jim Jefferies 19%
Graeme Souness 16%
Martin Jol 6%
Other 5%

Taken from the Scotsman

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