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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 September 2005, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
Hearts board halt MacFarlane move
Hearts midfielder Neil MacFarlane
United were frustrated to lose out on Neil MacFarlane
Hearts chief executive Phil Anderton says the last-gasp decision to halt Neil MacFarlane's move to Dundee United was made by the whole board.

The 27-year-old midfielder had even travelled to Tannadice for a medical.

But Anderton described as "complete rubbish" claims that major shareholder Vladimir Romanov had intervened.

"I found out on Wednesday night about the position with Neil and the overall package wasn't what we wanted, so we turned it down," said Anderton.

The saga follows the admission by manager George Burley that Romanov is having a big say in who is signed by the Edinburgh club.

"I discussed it with my fellow directors and the decision was relayed back to the agent that we weren't prepared to take the deal forward," said Anderton.
He and his agent took it for granted we were going to let him go
Hearts manager George Burley

"So this idea that Mr Romanov intervened and said the deal was off is nonsense."

Burley admitted his part in a confusing day for former Airdrieonians midfielder MacFarlane.

"I think it was my fault for speaking to the boy a month ago and he and his agent took it for granted we were going to let him go," said the Hearts manager.

"But nobody had agreed about him going for a medical. If people want to jump the gun, that is their problem.

"I got a phone call from his agent, Gordon Smith, at 6pm and he said somebody was interested and I told him that was fine.

"The club then said no and I phoned him at 8pm to say there was no deal.

"But the decision has got to come from the board and I have no qualms that we want to keep hold of him.

"If it had happened a few days ago and we had other players in then it might have been a different decision for Neil, but that sometimes happens."

United manager Gordon Chisholm admits that the cancellation of the deal for MacFarlane was a source of major frustration.

"I'd spoken to George Burley and he said Hearts were willing to let Neil go," he told Dundee's Evening Telegraph.

"The player was here for a medical and we'd agreed terms and conditions, but we then got a call from Hearts saying they wanted him back.

"I don't know what their reason was behind it. But, obviously, I'm disappointed and I also feel sorry for the lad, because he was looking forward to coming here.

"Now he has to go back to Tynecastle, which can't be an ideal situation."

Meanwhile, 21-year-old midfielder Graeme Holmes has left United by mutual consent.

Holmes had made just three substitute appearances for United and spent a spell on loan to Dumbarton.


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