London Hearts Supporters Club

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Robbo: fans fear worst

Paul Kiddie

HEARTS fans today admitted they fear the worst for John Robertson as the board continues to deliberate his position as manager.

The club’s directors were expected to give him the go ahead to continue as Jambos boss at a board meeting last night. However, despite debating the issue late into the evening at Tynecastle, they failed to reach a decision and Robertson’s future remains shrouded in uncertainty.

An announcement that discussions will continue after today’s SPL clash with Rangers at Ibrox has set alarm bells ringing within the Gorgie faithful and increased suspicions that new owner Vladimir Romanov is determined to bring in his own man.

John Borthwick, secretary of the Federation of Hearts Supporters Clubs, said: "The fans thought that this meeting would have clarified John Robertson’s position as to whether he was staying or not."

"We are still in limbo though and the fact his future as boss appears to rest on the result of one game against Rangers at Ibrox is astonishing.

"I fear the worst for him as manager as last night was the opportunity to come out and back him. The fact the board hasn’t is obviously a concern."

Chairman George Foulkes went into the meeting having tabled a proposal in support of the Gorgie legend and confident of winning backing for Robertson.

Despite insisting on Thursday that there wasn’t the split in the boardroom over the manager’s position, it now appears Foulkes has failed to convince his fellow directors of the merits of retaining the head coach.

Robertson spent over an hour addressing the seven strong board - Romanov’s son Roman did not attend as expected and participated via a telephone link to Moscow. He went over his seven months at the helm and outlined his plans for the new season.

Foulkes is a staunch supporter of Robbo and believes he deserves more time to prove himself after inheriting Craig Levein’s team in November.

It is an opinion shared by the fans’ federation, with Borthwick saying: "This is not the time to judge John Robertson. The time to judge him is in a year, once he has had time to work with his own team and his own signings.

"We were all delighted when he was given the job but he has only been allowed to bring in two players on loan in Lee Miller and Mark Burchill, while the three Lithuanians who have arrived have been a breath of fresh air.

"We may not have been happy with recent results but it has to be remembered he has only been in the job for seven months.

"Supporters have been working hard to make the football club better and instil a feel good factor back in Tynecastle. What is required is a period of stability and sacking John Robertson will not give us that."

Robertson, who has a clause in his contract allowing his position to be reviewed at the end of the season was informed of the situation at the hotel in Glasgow where the team stayed last night ahead of the trip to Govan.

An official statement from the club said: "The Board of Heart of Midlothian Football Club considered the position of head coach John Robertson. This was at the request of John and in light of considerable speculation in relation to his future with the club.

"The board is to continue to deliberate the situation but have agreed with John that any further communication on the issue will be delayed until after the Rangers game. The club will make no further comment until that time."

Shareholders today urged the board to consider just how briefly Robertson has been in charge.

"This latest statement from the club is not entirely consistent with unequivocal support for John Robertson," said Ray French, Chairman of the Hearts’ Shareholders Association.

"However it appears that it is John himself who is asking for his position to be considered, which is maybe understandable given the amount of speculation. I personally feel that after coping with all the off-field frustrations and uncertainties earlier this year John hasn’t yet had long enough."

Foulkes will be hugely disappointed if he can’t get backing for Robertson. Before last night’s meeting, he said: "John has not had a chance to prove himself properly and the board have to consider these things in a proper context. He has done a terrific job and some people have under-estimated his success."

Taken from the Scotsman

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