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By ESPN Staff
May 14, 2006

Romanov attacks 'parasites' at victory parade

Hearts majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov ended a day of cup celebration at Tynecastle by claiming almost everyone in Scottish football had conspired against the Gorgie club winning the Bank of Scotland Premier League.

More than 250,000 people lined Edinburgh's main thoroughfare Princes Street and the route to the stadium to see the Jambos parade the Tennent's Scottish Cup following their 4-2 penalty shoot-out victory over Gretna at Hampden.

Inside Tynecastle, those fans who could force their way in through the chaos of the surrounding streets cheered as captain Steven Pressley led the squad and backroom staff on a lap of honour.

From the director's box Romanov also took the acclaim of the Hearts fans, who are looking forward to Champions League qualifiers for the first time after finishing second to Celtic in the SPL.

But afterwards the Russian-Lithuanian criticised the Scottish football authorities, referees, agents and the media.

He said: 'In my worst nightmare I never saw a season like that.

'When I built the team I built it to win the championship. But I didn't expect the systematic resistance from the whole surroundings.

'I didn't expect to be hit from the back by different people and different organisations, especially from the referees.

'There are parasites in football who just know one word - money.

'My goal next season is to make sure the parasites don't feed from this club.

'But I am ready. I will sew up my pockets, so nobody can take any money from me and I can concentrate spending it on the team.'

One player conspicuous by his absence at Tynecastle was defender Andy Webster, frozen out of the first team after new contract talks broke down.

The Scotland defender, an integral part of the Jambos side for the first half of the season, never showed for their first cup celebrations in eight years.

Romanov said: 'I don't know where Webster is - you should ask his agent.

'Too often agents make decisions for players, when to play and when not to play.'

Romanov was equally belligerent on the subject of midfielder Rudi Skacel, who has revealed he wants to leave Hearts.

The Czech Republic player was brought to Edinburgh on loan from Marseille at the beginning of the season by then head coach George Burley and recently had a two-year option on his contract bought up by the Tynecastle club.

During the celebrations cult-hero Skacel told the Jambos fans via the pitch-side announcer that he will be leaving - with Southampton, now managed by Burley, rumoured to be his likely destination.

Romanov said: 'If Rudi has the chance to go to a good club then we will give him that opportunity.

'But if he is just being twisted out of a good club to go to a mediocre club by his agent we won't let it happen.'

Romanov was less forthcoming about the future of interim head coach Valdas Ivanauskas, who took over from the sacked Graham Rix in March.

Addressing the media specifically, he said: 'If I say that I am keeping him you will say that he is a bad coach.

'If I fire him you will say that he is a good coach - so it doesn't matter what I do.

'It's difficult to know who you want as a coach - I think you want Rix back!

'But time will tell.'