Former Hearts director of football Jim Duffy has detailed how Vladimir Romanov wanted the Tynecastle side to wear a green strip.
The Russian, who owned the Edinburgh club between 2005 and 2013, presented designs for a controversial away kit but was told the team could not be seen in the colours of rivals Hibs.
Duffy spoke on the Football Daft podcast about his time managing Dundee under Giovanni Di Stefano. In 2003, he tried to bring Paul Gascoigne and Edgar Davids to Dens Park before signing Fabrizio Ravanelli.
He was baffled by Di Stefano’s interference and his brief spell as Hearts’ director of football in 2006 raised similar issues with Romanov.
“He [Di Stefano] wanted the fans to pick the team,” said Duffy, who also managed Hibs and is now in charge at Dumbarton.
“What he wanted to do was to have a phone-in, a bit like a competition on the TV, like a reality show before reality shows really were popular.
“But there was a charge. So you pay £2, you phone in, you say I want so-and-so playing. So you pick your team – but he’d be charging the fans £2 a call or whatever it happens to be.“I mean, Romanov, when I was at Hearts, wanted the team to wear a green away strip. And we’re saying: ‘You can’t wear green, that’s Hibs.’
“He wanted green. He had drawings, and all the designs made up, honestly, it was like a Hibs strip. We’re all like: ‘You cannae do that.’”
On Di Stefano, he added: “He wanted a celebrity signing. He kept at me, so we tried to get Gazza, so I arranged to meet Gazza.
“He missed the opportunity, he came up on the train one day and it didn’t work out. Then there was a couple of other players. He then said to me that he’d agreed to get Edgar Davids, the Dutch international.
“He said to me: ‘We’ve got it all agreed – all you have to do is go to Turin and convince him to come to Dundee.’
I was laughing: ‘Edgar Davids to Dundee? He’s on £90,000-a-week. He’s got a penthouse apartment outside of Turin. You’re wanting him to come and play against Brechin in the Forfarshire cup? With a beautiful big hedge in the background? That’ll really entice him.’
“So anyway, that fell through. It just so happened he said something about Ravanelli, and I was quite friendly with Luca Vialli, who I’d been with at Chelsea. Ravanelli and Luca were pals.
“So I ended up contacting Luca and we managed to get a hold of Ravanelli and he agreed to come. When he came in it was a bit surreal. There was just something about him. He could have been a Mafia hitman, the way he looked.”
A message from the Editor: Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you. The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our advertisers – and consequently the revenue we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism. Subscribe to the Edinburgh Evening News online and enjoy unlimited access to trusted, fact-checked news and sport from Edinburgh and the Lothians. Visit https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.