Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov has labelled former captain Gary Mackay a "parasite".
Mackay, who played for Hearts from 1980 to 1997, was initially in favour of the controversial owner but walked away from a role as an analyst for Hearts Media because he was unhappy that he constantly interfered with team affairs.
Mackay wrote in his Evening News column this week: "We need something to change or this ridiculous situation is going to continue for years.
"As much as I was part of getting Chris Robinson out and getting Romanov in, I have to hold my hands up and say enough is enough - it's time for change. I can only hope and pray that either someone can reason with our owner or a knight in shining armour can ride along and rescue our proud club from this mess."
Mackay's comments come after Hearts exited the Scottish League Cup with a 4-3 defeat at Falkirk and were then beaten 2-0 at home to Motherwell in the league.
Romanov has reacted angrily to the comments and suggested Mackay, now working as an agent, may have had an influence on the results.
"I agree with Mr Mackay that a new owner is needed - to rescue the club from people like him and from those who live all their lives at the expense of football," he said.
"I am tired of fighting the mafia and will be pleased to step down for someone who has the strength and hope to defeat it more than I do. Let the Great Saviour (Mackay) answer a question - has he ever bought a ticket for the game with his own money?
"I can understand his outrage. Perhaps due to the fact we have assembled a good management team he currently does not have a chance to steal players from Hearts or shove his players to the club - as parasites living at the expense of clubs begin to smell.
"A defeat at the time the club has brought together good players, has a solid pyramid of more than 60 footballers, and suddenly loses four goals, then two, from weaker teams - it is a reason to start thinking that perhaps there may be a betrayal.
"We need to see if there were any of Mr Mackay's players involved in defence and how they played."