Hearts Part Company With Charlie Who?!
Talk 107 are reporting that the media and legal services consultancy Weber Shandwick will no longer be representing Vladimir Romanov.
It's not clear if Charlie Mann is a direct employee of Weber Shandwick, or if the company outsourced some of Romanov's Scottish business to him, but it appears that the one-time Radio Scotland football correspondent will cease to have any involvement in the Hearts 'circus'.
Of course, most of us are underwhelmed by this news. Charlie Mann has never been able to give any worthwhile information to the fans about the actions or intentions of his 'boss', so he won't be missed.
However, Talk 107 are also saying that David Southern, Communications Director at Hearts, will handle PR work directly on behalf of Romanov. I've read favourable comments about Southern on fans' message boards, so this move could be viewed in a couple of ways:
a) It's purely a cost-cutting move to replace an expensive consultant company with an existing in-house professional. Well, it sort of makes sense, I guess.
b) Romanov reckons he'll get a better 'press' in Edinburgh if Southern does the job - a Hearts media man who knows how to make daft decisions look good. Just look at the website - full of clever stuff , TV replays, interviews, information, etc - you'd never guess the club was going down the tubes, would you ?
Perhaps it's also a sign that Romanov trusts a Scottish employee - another small positive gesture, following Ogilvie's promotion to Managing Director. However none of this really does anything to make us believe that Romanov has an earthly clue about how to run a football club in Scotland.
Another report today carries an interview with Donald Ford, who can't find any grounds for optimism about the team's fortunes this coming season. Join the club, Donald !!
As Mr. H's fine article about the passion of playing for and supporting Hearts in the 80s and 90s mentions, we had many fine players who gave long service to the club when they could conceivably have made more money elsewhere, and Donald Ford is another fine example, having played 95% of his senior career with Hearts in the 60s and 70s
As well as being a respected ex-player, Ford is a fan and it may hurt him even more than it does us to see how rapidly his club has declined through poor management structures and decision-making.
Donald is a well-educated and erudite man, and expresses very well the feelings of the fans having watched the bizarre events and non-events at the club recently. He genuinely expects Hearts to be involved in a relegation struggle at some point this coming season. Sadly, without a proper manager, I have to agree with him.