ONE of the first things Ann Budge should do once the shares which will free Hearts of Lithuanian ownership finally become available and allow her to complete her takeover is to politely decline any advice offered by George Foulkes or other associates – including those still at the club – of the disastrous Vladimir Romanov regime.
The revisionism employed by those who played an integral part in facilitating the sale of the club to Romanov is mirrored only by those supporters who previously crowed about the elevated status Hearts seemingly enjoyed under his stewardship, yet now flock to proclaim the club a model of humility and honesty.
The myth is continually perpetuated that Hearts were effectively railroaded into accepting Romanov’s overtures as an alternative to closure when in fact there was a valid, if unpalatable, business alternative on the table. It seems extraordinary now that a regime built on shifting sands which drove the club into bankruptcy and laid not a single brick towards improving a stadium deemed “not fit for purpose” a decade ago should be regarded as preferable to rebuilding a more workable structure while relocating to Murrayfield.
The annexing of two Scottish Cups is unquestionably the reason many Hearts supporters remain reluctant to denounce the Romanov regime for what it was, but one can only assume most rational fans surely privately regret he was ever allowed near the club.
It is interesting, therefore, that the Ann Budge takeover is being hailed as a victory for fan power when it appears that, with the entire funding for the share purchase coming from Mrs Budge, the club is – for the foreseeable future – passing into private hands once again.
With that in mind, while it does seem that Ms Budge has the best interests of the club at heart, any alliance with those still trying to wash their hands of their association with Romanov should surely be best avoided if the ultimate vision of genuine fan ownership is to be realised.
DR JM MELLOR
Locke will prove his worth even if he leaves Hearts
THANK you Stephen Halliday for your article on Gary Locke in last Monday’s Scotsman. (‘Locke deserves chance under Budge’, 17 February). Locke’s performance as a coach and man manager has been outstanding this season. I defy any other manager in the SPL to claim he would have gained more points with the threadbare and inexperienced resources available to him.
The spirit and enthusiasm shown by Locke’s team every week is remarkable. Locke has also dealt with the media in a very professional and dignified manner and shown excellent leadership qualities despite the adversity he has faced. If he is replaced by the new owners in due course, then one thing is fairly certain – he will be back in good time and prove his doubters wrong.
Orchard Road South