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Last Updated: Friday, 27 October 2006, 22:51 GMT 23:51 UK
Foulkes and Salmond back Pressley
Vladimir Romanov pushes his way through the media scrum
Vladimir Romanov kept smiling amid the media attention
Former Hearts chairman George Foulkes, SNP leader Alex Salmond and the Scottish players' union have backed a revolt by the football club's players.

Hearts captain Steven Pressley read a statement on behalf of players saying they were unhappy at the running of the club by owner Vladimir Romanov.

And Foulkes said: "I have a great deal of sympathy for Steven and the players.

"He is a highly intelligent and responsible person and he would not have made the statement lightly."

Foulkes worked under Romanov until a row over the sacking of George Burley almost exactly a year ago.

And he could understand why Pressley, flanked by fellow Scotland internationals Craig Gordon and Paul Hartley, felt they had to speak out.

"They have kept the club on the rails in times of turbulance, changes of management and other inexplicable events at the club and must be at the end of their tether," Foulkes told BBC Sport.
Mr Romanov's statements never surprise me, but they are becoming a little bit farcical

Former Hearts director of football Jim Duffy

He conceded that Romanov had enjoyed the backing of Hearts supporters since he bought control of the club, promising major investment.

"I think the fans are all a bit punch-drunk at the events of the last few months," Foulkes suggested.

"But their sympathy will be with the core players who have played their part no matter who was manager.

"Of course Romanov has done a lot for the club. He saved it from financial ruin.

"But that does not mean that he can ride roughshod over the fans and players like he has been doing recently."

Foulkes revealed that, shortly before he was sacked, Burley had been asked to take a similar, two-week "sabbatical" to the one presently being enjoyed by head coach Valdas Ivanauskas.

And the former chairman appealed for Romanov to become less of a dictator.

"If the team do lose to Dunfermline and he carries out his threat to sell all the players, it would be a disaster for the club," said Foulkes.

"I hope there are people around him that will persuade him that the club could be heading for triumphs and he can be the catalyst for that if only he would work in a co-operative way."

Hearts supporter Salmond was also hoping for a return to stability.

"Obviously everybody is concerned, but things appear to have reached breaking point and Elvis's statement was very dignified and very well put," he said.

Jim Duffy, who had a spell last season as director of football before being sacked, said that the players were only revealing problems that had been obvious to most outside observers.

"When he arrived, Mr Romanov was vibrant and brought excitement and controversy," he said.

"His statements never surprise me, but they are becoming a little bit farcical."

SPFA secretary Fraser Wishart added: "Over the last couple of years, the professionalism, conduct and commitment to Heart of Midlothian FC by the players has been exemplary.

"Under difficult circumstances, they have managed to continue to be successful on the field of play.

"As all those involved in football know, the relationship between the head coach and the players has always, and will continue to be, the most important at a football club.

"It is clear, however, following recent events, the players feel that stability at the club and a clear strategy with regard to the way forward at the club is now necessary."

SEE ALSO
Romanov issues player ultimatum
27 Oct 06 |  Heart of Midlothian
Hearts fined for Romanov comments
25 Oct 06 |  Heart of Midlothian
Malofeev relishing temporary job
24 Oct 06 |  Heart of Midlothian
Romanov lashes out at sacked trio
30 Nov 05 |  Heart of Midlothian
Foulkes brands Romanov a dictator
01 Nov 05 |  Heart of Midlothian
Hearts in turmoil as duo depart
31 Oct 05 |  Heart of Midlothian


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