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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 November 2005, 14:40 GMT
Romanov close to Hearts control
Hearts majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov
Vladimir Romanov wants full control of Hearts
Vladimir Romanov is closer to taking full control of Hearts after Leslie Deans and Robert McGrail agreed to sell him their 18% shareholding.

Romanov will up his stake to 55.5% next week when he takes control of Scottish Media Group and HBOS shares.

Deans and McGrail's shares will now take Romanov to within a whisker of the 75% he needs to de-list the club from the stock exchange.

"The future is bright under Vladimir Romanov," Deans told BBC Scotland.

Former Hearts chairman Deans and McGrail met with Romanov and his son and interim chief executive, Roman, on Friday.

Romanov has hit the headlines with the surprise sackings of manager George Burley and chief executive Phil Anderton in recent weeks.

But Deans was impressed by the Lithuanian businessman, who arrived at Tynecastle in February.

Deans told BBC Radio Scotland: "I wanted more details on the departure of Phil Anderton and I now understand the business rationale behind the decision.

"The club has strong leadership and we are fortunate to have a man like Vladimir Romanov at the helm.

"He is not the complete autocrat that some have suggested.

"He's a strong man, a strong leader because you don't get to the top in business by being weak-willed.

"He is determined to take this club to the top and intends to break the Celtic and Rangers domination of Scottish football and I believe the man has every chance of achieving that with this club."

"At the risk of claiming superiority, I've got 30 years business experience and I think he's the real deal."

Deans has asked for an undertaking that former chief executive Chris Robinson will not be employed again by the club and has agreed to release a small amount of shares to a Supporters' Trust.

The 300,000 shares represents a stake of just less than 1% of the club.




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