Hearts and minds

There is at least one positive aspect concerning the now firmly established Russian Chelsea revolution: as far as we know owner, Roman Abramovich, pumps his millions into the club, but does not interfere with the day-to-day running of team affairs. He has hired professionals whom he trusts to shape his empire’s football fortunes.

In Scotland, the new Romanov Empire at Heart of Midloathian is subject to an entirely different regime. Initially hailed as a saviour, Lithuanian multi-millionaire Vladimir Romanov, who took over at Tynecastle two years ago, has proceeded to turn himself into a self-styled Caesar, more often than not faxing team selections from abroad on Saturday mornings.

The latter tendency has led to the dismissal or resignation of managers like George Burley and Graham Rix. The latest man in the hot-seat, fellow Lithuanian Valdas Ivanauskas, was recently sent on two weeks’ sick leave. In his absence, team captain Steven Pressley, flanked by several of the club’s most experienced players, called a press conference expressing his concern at the current state of affairs. The owner’s response – an ultimatum: win against Dunfermline this Saturday or the whole team is up for sale – the result – a score-draw; we await developments.