Date: 18th June 2007 at 12:37pm
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Former Hearts midfielder Julien Brellier has lifted the lid on his departure from Tynecastle and some of the feelings he has towards the way the club is currently being managed.

Brellier, a favourite of many fans but a player who for some reason has just never been popular with Vladimir Romanov & co, has been treated appallingly during his stay at Tynecastle and it was little
surprise that he eventually had to leave the club. His feelings about the club’s management are so extreme that he would actually have been prepared to have made the ‘Riccarton 3’ into a ‘Riccarton 4’ if he’d known about Pressley, Hartley and Gordon’s plans at the time.

Here is some of what Le Juge had to say about the Riccarton press conference:

‘I was 100 per cent behind them (the players). I didn’t know they were going to do it but, if they wanted me, I would have stood beside them to make that statement. They were right in what they said and they did the right thing. After that, a lot of things changed.

‘We lost two very important players, one of them who was the most important figure at the club. I think Craig suffered too. It affected him a little and wasn’t good for him. The way Hearts treat a lot of players and manage the club is not good. Mr Romanov wasn’t even there a lot last season, maybe only three or four times. He is the president so he’s very important at the club. He pays all the players so they must do what he wants, but he must not be a dictator.’

Brellier then talked about Romanov’s subsequent threat to sell the entire first team squad the day after the press conference if they failed to beat Dunfermline:

‘That wasn’t good for the players to hear. It just made us angry and we didn’t beat Dunfermline. He didn’t say that to all the players but I don’t think it was a joke. He could sell everyone if he wanted so he can say what he wants, but players are not slaves.’

Of his own position at the club, Brellier pointed to the ‘arrogant’ attitude of Sporting Director Alex Koslovski as a factor for his departure from Tynecastle. It was Koslovski’s job to act as a middle-man between Romanov and some of the players, but according to Brellier, he was far from the ideal man for this job. He continued:

‘Maybe some people would say Alex is nice. I wouldn’t. He’s just strange. I don’t think he’s bad, but strange. I don’t think there are a lot of people who would say he’s nice. Arrogant is the best word for him, I think. When we spoke about my contract he was very arrogant and I didn’t like it.’

‘Alex said to me I wasn’t worth more money. He told me that at the beginning of the season after the Celtic game, then two weeks later he came back to tell me something else. One day he says one thing and the next day he says another thing.

‘After our second meeting I said I wanted to stop talking with him. My first agent [Maurizio de Giorgis] was dealing with the contract and he said the same about him. That was in January. They [club management] didn’t do anything to make me feel terrible. I’m very quiet, I just stay on my own. I didn’t want to speak with them and they didn’t want to speak with me, and that’s how it went from then on.

‘When I left, Anatoli Korobochka said publicly that Hearts offered me a good contract. That’s a joke. I know the offer they made and to be honest it was a joke as well. When a player doesn’t feel the confidence of the man who runs the club, he cannot sign. It was not about money, it was just about respect and the way the club is running. I don’t like it and I don’t want to be involved with them.
‘When Eduard Malofeev was in charge I didn’t like the way we were training. Last season was totally different to the one before and I only saw it getting worse and worse. I hope for the players and fans I am wrong.’

Of course, Brellier is only just confirming what most of us have accepted anyway, in one way or another. Some fans have decided to take the view that any player who leaves the club, no matter their situation, is a traitor, which perhaps tells you something about the power of Romanov’s ability to get people on his side. Just look at some of the comments from Hearts fans about Steven Pressley these days for examples of this – quite shocking really.

And ‘shocking’ is also the word that should be used to describe the treatment of Brellier, a player who was indeed over-rated by a number of Hearts fans, but still one with enormous influence and value to the Hearts team. He was sorely missed last season and will be again next year unless a top quality replacement can be found, something that is looking more and more doubtful by the day.