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Football: VLAD: I'D LOVE TO SIGN SCOTS.

Byline: Gary Ralston

HEARTS moneyman Vladimir Romanov will never allow the club to lose its Scottish identity. The Lithuanian tycoon has bankrolled five summer signings - all foreigners - but he is adamant the Tynecastle club will always retain its Scottish character.

Speaking to Record Sport in his first one-to-one interview ahead of Sunday's derby with Hibs he insisted he would love to add more home-grown talent to the Lithuanian, three Czechs and a Frenchman already snapped up boss George Burley.

Romanov said: 'Hearts need more Scottish and British players and it is important they make up most of the squad.

'We should not have too many Lithuanians or Czechs, or players from any one nation. If there are a lot of players from one country it could cause factions at the club and that wouldn't be good for the atmosphere.'

He is bankrolling his revolution from his Lithuanian interests, with three of the signings so far on loan deals.

But Romanov, the majority shareholder with Ukio Bankas,admitted he does not know how much he has spent on the Gorgie project since buying 29.9per cent of the club's shareholding earlier this year.

He added: 'Only the group financial director in Lithuania knows, that's the truth. But the money isn't the most important thing. We've got to focus on all areas, not just finance.'

Jambos fans are already chanting Romanov's name but he said: 'Everything we seek to do is for the fans, not for me or the players. It's dangerous to ride a wave of popularity just now.This is only the beginning - if I'm still as popular at the end, that will be great
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 5, 2005
Words:275
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