Are we heading down the same road again? The defeat at Ibrox at the weekend upset a few but not as much the alleged meddling in team affairs, once again from Vladimir Romanov. Earlier this week Hearts announced the signing of Kaunas goalkeeper Marian Kello, which almost instantly had some supporters bashing away at their computers, berating the club owner for bringing yet another dud to the club.
The so-called ‘hat kickers’ were given further reason to vent their anger when it was claimed in yesterday’s Edinburgh Evening News that Romanov entered the Hearts dressing room at full time after the match on Saturday to tell the team why the, until now, first choice goalkeeper Steve Banks had been dropped for the encounter.
“Banks cannot be trusted, same as [Steven] Pressley could not be trusted, same as [Andy] Webster could not be trusted”, Romanov supposedly said. The quote is attributed to the Russian-born Lithuanian businessman but I was unaware journalists were able to sit in dressing rooms waiting for a scoop.
Of course it is possible a player who was present has informed the reporter in question and the words do sound Romanov-esque but until it is confirmed or denied by Hearts and/or Banks himself, the truth of the post-match events will not be known.
The silence displayed by the Tynecastle club in their refusal to comment when asked about events after the match on Saturday, could possibly be an indication that some sort of fall out between Banks and Romanov did occur.
Not long after manager Csaba Laszlo was appointed he identified signing a goalkeeper and a striker as a priority. At the time Banks was involved in a dual role as player and coach and Csaba pointed out that he “must know what his job is”. The arrival of Kello paved the way for Banks to concentrate on his coaching, although he is apparently disappointed with, what he sees as a demotion to Youth team goalkeeping coach.
All seemed normal to me when Banks was dropped for the match on Saturday, as we had been informed that he would not be continuing as a player coach once a goalkeeper was signed.
If what is claimed in the Evening News is true it is a bitter disappointment that Romanov is once again sticking his nose in, not so long after promising that Csaba would be given full control of first team affairs. If he has a say in which players the club sign then fair enough, it is his money after all. If some sort of altercation between him and Banks has occured, that is fine also, people fall out in football, like they do at work, in business and day-to-day life. But why does Romanov feel the need to disrupt the mood amongst the players, which is still in the midst of patching itself up after a few seasons of turmoil and dressing room splits, by making stupid statements like what he has been quoted to have said?
We might never know what really happened. Or maybe we just need to wait a few days until Banks is punted and gives his side of the story.