Ian Black recalls Vladimir Romanov's first-team meddling and the time he joined in training

Ian Black has recalled two occasions when Vladimir Romanov's meddling in first-team matters at Hearts went beyond the point of absurd.

Monday, 22nd July 2019, 9:21 pm
Former Hearts midfielder Ian Black.
Former Hearts midfielder Ian Black.

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The midfielder spent three years at his boyhood favourites after joining from Inverness Caley Thistle in the summer of 2009.

While he didn't have much personal interaction with the former Hearts owner, the influence the Lithuanian-based businessman had on the team was there for all to see.

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Former Hearts midfielder Ian Black.

Black told Si Ferry: "He had a good chat with Adrian Mrowiec one day. Now me and Adrian were playing in the middle together and doing quite well. So I asked him what he was saying and he [Mrowiec] says, 'he's told me I need a rest, I'm not playing'. That was it. The gaffer could've picked the team but he's still like, 'you need a rest, I'm going to have a word'.

"He did it to Big Zal [Marius Zaliukas]. It was first game of the season at Ibrox. Zal was on the bus and he got off. He was told to see the manager and then he came back and said, 'all the best boys, I've got a sore back'.

"It was Mad Vlad that phoned and said he's not to play."

Black also recalled an occasion when Romanov decided to join in with the training and put the goalkeepers through their paces.

He added: "The goalkeepers would be doing their shooting training and he'd just come over and move the goalie coach out of the way. He'd just take shots into them in the middle of a session.

"His wee puppet would run beside him with the umbrella. The wee boy would put the ball down. He would then shoot and if the ball went wide or into the stands, the wee boy give him the umbrella and then run away and get the ball and put it back down for him."