London Hearts Supporters Club

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John Robertson <-auth Stuart Bathgate auth-> Charlie Richmond
[T Buffel 9] ;[M Andrews 42]
17 of 019 Marvin Anthony Andrews og 84 L SPL A

Hearts in no hurry to find new manager


TWENTY-FOUR hours after parting company with head coach John Robertson, Hearts have revealed that Chris Robinson will be the next high profile departure from Tynecastle.

The former chief executive will leave at the end of the season, according Phil Anderton, the man who succeeded him.

At a press conference yesterday morning designed to bid a dignified farewell to Robertson, Anderton said Hearts would not rush into appointing a new head coach, having decided that getting the right high- calibre candidate is more important than solving the short-term problems of being rudderless.

The chief executive, mentioned only the start of the 2005-06 season as the date by which an appointee had to be in place. "We’ve got the beginning of the season at the end of July, so we better get someone in," he said.

Anderton refused to elaborate while sitting next to Robertson on the kind of manager the club are seeking, but the board’s decision to part company with the former Hearts striker after just six months has made it clear that they are aiming high.

One prominent figure who will not apply is Anatoly Byshovets. The man who had been earmarked as the Hearts director of football ruled himself out of the post yesterday and said he no longer worked for the club’s leading shareholder, Vladimir Romanov.

Meanwhile, the club have delayed an announcement on the future of Donald Park, who was Robertson’s assistant coach. It is thought Park does not want to stay, and the only question to be resolved is whether he takes charge for the remaining two games of the season or whether those duties pass to the youth coach, John McGlynn.

Robinson’s future is more clear-cut. The former chief executive, who is still a director, was to be kept on only for a "transitional period" after selling his shares to Vladimir Romanov, and that period is due to expire shortly.

"About Chris Robinson, we’ve said all along that he will be here to help with the transition," Anderton said. "The board will be meeting at the end of the season and there will be changes to the board and Chris Robinson will no longer be a member of the board. He will be leaving this club and will have no formal association with the club."

Anderton added that Robinson should not be singled out for blame over Robertson’s departure, stating it was a board decision. "I think it is irresponsible, frankly, to talk about ‘hatchet men’ and ‘knifing people’ and some of the expressions that have been used. I am not going to pick out individuals. It’s a board decision and we are responsible for that.

"After a lengthy discussion it was decided there would be a restructure of coaching at the club. The decision had to be taken as to whether we’d go with the potential of a good manager like John Robertson or bring in someone with a more proven track record.

"That decision has now been taken. We wished to continue to have John working at the club, but we fully understand John’s decision. I regret personally having to say goodbye to John for now, and it goes without saying that he will always be welcome at the club.

"To say the club has mistreated the manager would be unfair. For people to accuse the club of not having integrity when people are frankly telling a pack of lies - I’d ask people to look at their own behaviour.

"I was supposed to have been meeting with the manager of Yeovil Town [Gary Johnson]. I’d never heard of the guy, I’ve never met the guy. I wasn’t even in the country, so I would ask people to have a look at their own behaviour."

While Robinson was only one board member who argued that Robertson was not the right man for the job, he is understood to have been the most vituperative in his criticism. Anderton, on the other hand, agreed with the chairman, George Foulkes, that the coach should be given more time to prove himself.

Anderton said, however, the difference of opinion had never been so severe that he felt he could not continue in his post. "I gave John my full backing. I wanted and expected him to continue as the manager. [But] I want to make it clear that I’m not going to shirk responsibility or put the blame on others. The board took this very difficult decision and ultimately we will stand or fall on what happens as a result.

"This isn’t about popularity contests. This is about taking reasoned decisions that we think are in the best interests of the club.

"I’m not going to back away from being part of that collective decision. I’m part of that board, I’m part of the responsibility for [the decision] so no, I’m not going to resign.

"The only time that I would resign is if, as a result of the actions of the board, we don’t deliver what people want, which is success on and off the field."

Supporters are expected to demonstrate against the effective dismissal of Robertson at Sunday’s league match at home to Celtic, but Anderton suggested support for the former coach should not shade over into a protest against the leadership of the club. "While I fully understand the depth of feeling towards John, I would just urge supporters to show their support for John in a way that doesn’t damage the club.

"I would also urge supporters not to turn their disappointment against Mr Romanov, because let’s not forget something - if he had not come to this club, we’d be sitting now on a demolition site and playing our football at a rugby ground."

Taken from the Scotsman

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