Revealed: The incredible Hearts £5000 win bonuses during Vladimir Romanov era

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Hearts at one point paid each of their players an incredible win bonus of £5,000 during the early days of the Vladimir Romanov era, according to former star Paul Hartley.

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Hearts 1-0 win over Inverness in September 2005 made it eight consecutive wins. Picture: SNS

Hearts 1-0 win over Inverness in September 2005 made it eight consecutive wins. Picture: SNS

The Lithuanian-based businessman was known for lavish spending when he first arrived at Tynecastle after buying the club from previous owner Chris Robinson.

This included a squad made of top class talents including former Champions League winner Edgaras Jankauskas and European Championship winner Takis Fyssas as the majority shareholder sought to topple the Old Firm duopoly.

As well as an inflated wage bill, Hearts were also spending thousands per week to reward a winning team.

Win bonuses would increase every week by £500 per player if the team kept winning. Under the guidance of George Burley, the Jam Tarts won their opening eight games to begin the 2005/06 campaign.

Hartley, speaking to Simon Ferry on Open Goal, explained: “Our win bonus, we were on £1500 a win. Every win it goes up £500. We win eight in a row, so every time it’s going up: £2000, £2500, £3000... If you won three or four games and then drew it would go back down to £1500 again.

“Everyone’s like, ‘where’s the money come from?’ But we weren’t caring.

“The amount of money they paid out over that season in bonuses was incredible.”

Romanov’s spending, with the majority of the money loaned to Hearts through his Lithuanian bank, wasn’t just consigned to player spending. He also treated the squad and backroom staff to an unforgettable trip away in the summer of 2006 for pre-season training, even if it wasn’t ideal preparation for the players.

Hartley added: “See after the season we won the Scottish Cup, our pre-season was something else. The itinerary was scary.

“He hired a yacht, which cost £600,000 to charter for ten days in the Mediterranean. We would come off the speed boats and on to dry land for training.

“But he had this mad itinerary where we’d be going here and there at night, going to P Diddy’s nightclub. We were saying this isn’t what we’re here for, we’re here for pre-season training.

“We didn’t have a training pitch. I dunno who organised it but the boys were running on concrete.”