Is it ever going to stop?
Is it ever going to stop?
I`m referring to these ludicrous comments and accusations that continuously leave the mouth of one Vladimir Romanov. For a man who comes from a nation originating from corruption, bribery and controversy, it must be taken with a pinch of salt that he believes that referees and players are 'bought` by the Old Firm. Well judging by the recent financial figures, Rangers aren`t buying anyone!
As told by his advisor Charlie Mann, "We know that does not happen - he doesn't." So why on earth has he been allowed to make these accusations? The man is able to talk English freely when he wants, but when the going gets tough, he gets going on his private jet back to Kaunas, probably to pinch another 13 players!
Hearts themselves are draped in controversy; they hold the registration of 63 professional players, 15 of which are on-loan, 13 from Kaunas, countless against their own will. The likes of Laryea Kingston and Mauricio Pinilla are the lucky ones, signing on from Terek Grozny and Sporting Lisboa respectively. Others such as Bruno Aguiar, Ibrahim Tall and Takis Fyssas are all registered to the Lithuanian champions, without ever having pulled on their Yellow and Green uniform.
So why does Romanov make these accusations? Is it because he needs attention? Or is he actually for real? His latest stunt was preceded by the press being awarded bananas on their venture to Tynecastle to watch as they drew with a St Mirren side fighting for their lives in 11th position, another attempt to humour the media, whilst also attempting to demoralise them. Unfortunately, it never works. It doesn`t appear that the press care about his accusations, and if Hugh Dallas is to be believed, referees will never feel much more pressure at Tynecastle, after the Andy Davis affair of April 2005.
This is a man who has ridden the club of their prized assets at times of need; George Burley was sacked after going 11 games without defeat, a draw with Celtic caused him his job, Andy Webster was left out of the squad almost exactly a year ago, and from there on in the 'Iron Curtain` backline was dismantled. Steven Pressley and comrades Hartley and Gordon spoke out after being told they would be sacked if they failed to defeat Dunfermline; Pressley left the club amicably and signed for Celtic, Hartley joined him for £1.1million 30 days later. And finally, a man who has left out, arguably, the best goalkeeper in Europe in Craig Gordon, replacing him with Steve Banks, one of a lucky few not contracted to Kaunas!
My message to Mr Romanov would be sell up now. Hearts are no longer that third force that they seemed like last year, Hibernian, Aberdeen and even Kilmarnock are rivalling them in that aspect, although they do lie third in the table. An alleged Edinburgh-based consortium was ready to purchase the club; alright, the club would still be in heavy debt, but could build on that, ala Celtic, and become a great force yet again.
By Alasdair Mann