We tried to stop Vladimir Romanov ruining Hearts - ex-director

Former Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov was prevented from 'ruining the club' when attempting to pick the team by the very people he had put in charge at the club, according to an ex-Hearts director.

Friday, 1st September 2017, 4:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 12:20 pm
Vladimir Romanov, with son Roman, was a controversial figrue during his time as Hearts owner. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

In an interview with the Daily’s Mail Stephen McGowan, Liutaurus Varanavicius confirmed Romanov’s desire to pick the Hearts team, comparing the businessman to US President Donald Trump.

“I watch the news now with Trump and you know what? That was Vladimir Romanov 10 years ago,” Varanavicius told the Daily Mail. “I was the chairman of his Ukio Bank and we would start each day at the bank with a meeting to discuss how to minimise the damage done by the commander-in-chief yesterday.”

There were similar precautions at Tynecastle.

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“He stopped trusting the football professionals and started bringing in his family instead,” Varanavicius said in the wide-raning interview. “His son, his daughter...he started sending faces suggesting what the team should be.

“He picked the team. Or he wanted to pick the team. But, actually, we managed to fix things so that his decisions never quite reached the club. We had three circles protecting the club.

“The first layer was me in Kaunas in and office trying to find an excuse to not send the fax. When that didn’t work, the second layer of protection was Sergey (Fedotovas) in Edinburgh trying not to receive it. And then there was the Russian sporting director Korobochka making sure it did not reach the coach. People didn’t know this, but he was very good at defending the football department from Romanov.

“So we had these three levels of people trying to stop Romanov ruining the club.”

Varanavicius, who labelled Romanov a “dictator”, confirmed the owner’s use of unconditional methods for judging the state of a player.

He said: “He employed some magician or wizard from Lithuania as his sporting guru and it was bull****. I didn’t know what she did, so I stated out of it.

“But whey would go to meet players and put their hand in some machine and it would take a reading of his bio-rhythms and that would predict how he might perform in a match.”

Romanov, who won Lithuania’s Dancing in the Stars, a victory which wasn’t real according to Varanavicius because he claimed the Russian-born businessman had people voting for him repeatedly, had considered investing in both Dundee clubs and Dunfermline Athletic prior to pitching up at Tynecastle.

Yet, the 70-year-old was put off by the weight of the female clientele in a Dundee pub when Varanavicius and Romanov met with then Dundee United owner Eddie Thompson and his daughter.

“Suddenly, he turned to me and said: ‘There are no nice girls here, the DNA pool is very bad. We are not investing here’.”