The Mirror, 01/11/2005, p59
By Shaun Milne
IT seemed odd, yet insignificant at the time. But in retrospect, who knows what clues it signalled on what was to come last night.
Half-time at the Hibs v Hearts game at Easter Road last Saturday, and the guests from Gorgie filed into the director’s lounge in the main West Stand for their half-tie pie and soup.
George Foulkes led the line, Phil Anderton was also there. So too was Chris Robinson and others.
But one person remained in his seat – Vladimir Romanov.
Not for him meeting and greeting his Hibs counterparts. Instead he stayed put, just his inter-preter with him, oh aye, and his son. Roman Romanov, just 29, was whispering into his dad’s ear, looking deadly serious, like he always does.
It seemed almost rude, rejecting the hospitality on offer. After all, it’s part of the game.
We dismissed it as the foreign way, we didn’t think it was important. We know differently now.
When the others came back, he remained impassive. At full-time, he didn’t speak. Just stared ahead, stony faced.
Last week I offered a guarded defence of Romanov Snr, suggesting perhaps the departure of Burley wasn’t all wrong, that surely he had the club’s interests at heart.
But after the departure of Anderton and Foulkes, I am far from sure.
Anderton is a man I’ve come to respect. He is approachable, boasts a sharp business mind, and has made some telling appointments at the club.
The club has benefited from his stewardship, and I can’t see why anyone would want to lose him.
George Foulkes’ passion for the club is second to none – he simply bleeds Hearts.
When he put his faith in Romanov last week, risking his credibility, I believed him. So when he leaves his dream role – chairman of the club he loves – you know something has gone badly wrong.
Just what, hopefully, will emerge soon. We cannot face yet another confidentiality deal.
It was perhaps apt this happened on Halloween. It’s fright night and Romanov may still have skeletons to come yet.
Does he really mean to take the club forward? Or has he suckered us into handing over £30m worth of debt to the bank he controls?
I’d like to believe in the dream, but it feels like a nightmare. I feel like a fool for doubting the detractors, hoping for better times ahead.
Romanov last night said Foulkes and Anderton hadn’t “met expectations”. But now the Lithuanian gang’s all here, he can pretty much do things his, or maybe, Roman’s way.
When I suggested we give Romanov a chance, I qualified that by saying the fans would turn on him if it went wrong.
The angry crowd that gathered at Tynecastle last night proved that and won’t simply go away, he isn’t all powerful yet.
We face an uprising now where the club’s very existence is at risk. But how can there be a winner when there are already so many casualties?
And where does it leave the players, missing their manager, and now, the very soul of their club?
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