Romanov strikes again as Jefferies & Brown are sacked


Hearts are looking for a new management team as owner Vladimir Romanov wields the axe on manager Jim Jefferies and assistant Billy Brown.

After one win out of 15 SPL games – their last win was back in March 19th against St.Mirren. It may not be that much of a surprise given the winless record, but so early on into the new season it is quite clearly another sign of Romanov’s bewildering ownership style.

The opening day of the season saw Hearts walk away with a credible draw against the reigning SPL champions at Ibrox, while a 1-0 defeat at home to Dundee United looked to have been the final straw for the Russian-born Lithuanian businessman.

The sacking comes days before the all important Europa League second leg against Hungarian outfit Paski on Thursday. With the tie all square at 1-1, Hearts play host to the Hungarians with the benefit of an away goal on their side. Romanov’s decision is certainly going to upset the apple cart within the Hearts squad.

It has been reported that Jefferies was offered a Director of Football role at Tynecastle, but the Jambos legend is understood to have declined the position. Assistant Billy Brown has been sacked with immediate effect, while the future of First Team coach Gary Locke is uncertain.

Jim Jefferies said: “Even though I’m disappointed at leaving the club and everyone knows my strong connection with Hearts, I’d like to thank the club for the opportunity myself and Billy have had in the last 18 months. I also appreciate the offer to develop in a new role at Hearts however it has perhaps come too soon and it might be something that I would consider at a later date. I want to wish the players and staff all the best for the forthcoming season and I’ll certainly be hoping the boys can do the business on Thursday night.”

Director Sergejus Fedotovas said: “We would like to thank Jim for his service to the club. He has supported us in our efforts to develop the team and the wider squad and we have enjoyed a good working relationship. The club did offer Jim another senior position but we understand his reasons for not accepting this and we wish him well for his future career beyond Hearts.”

Since Romanov took ownership of Hearts back in February 2005 the Tynecastle side have seen EIGHT managers come and go.

Scotzine contributor Joel Sked gave his opinion on the decision: “All that has happened since the sacking of George Burley in 2005 you think nothing can surprise you in football. But Vladimir Romanov has that uncanny talent of doing so. Again and Again. And the news about Billy Brown and Jim Jefferies was no different.

Romanov has split opinion amongst Heart of Midlothian fans like no other club so it is difficult to speak for the majority of fans but personally I am not angry or disappointed. I am just frustrated by the timing. Three games in to the new season and only days before a big European game. Jefferies has had all pre-season to train the team and gel his new signings into the framework. Then this. It’s just bizarre.

However we have won one game in 15. That is not form for the 3rd best team in the SPL. And Jefferies has to take a portion of the blame, large portion even. He is not the most tactically aware manager and struggles to change games with substitutions or formations. Once Kyle was injured last season he struggled to adapt. Then there is the glaring inability to see we are lacking in the centre of midfield.

I suppose we can only wait and see what transpires over the next few days, gather the reasons, analyse the new management team and then form a more balanced opinion. But if he has been sacked for poor form then the only thing you can question is the timing.


About Author


Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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