Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hearts fans come out - but is it enough?

Regular readers will know that I am occasionally perplexed by the Romanov regime at Tynecastle. Occasionally perplexed and often supremely cynical.

But Vladimir promised to bring the fans back into Tynecastle. And, in that, he has been successful. This season Hearts’ total attendance has risen to 428,000. This figure would have been far closer to the half million mark if their Champion’s League and UEFA Cup fixtures had worked out differently.

The figures, somewhat obviously hailed as "fan-tastic" by the Evening News, are, to borrow punnery from the Edinburgh tabloid, heart-ening. Yet they also show the size of Romanov’s task if he is to compete with the Old Firm.

Based on their last home attendances it would take Celtic just over seven games to achieve the same total. Rangers would surpass it in little over eight and a half games.

Lies, damned lies and statistics? Possibly. But it shows the disparity that any Old Firm challengers face.

Whatever else Romanov brings to the party he’s going to need come up with some way of levelling the playing field. A new stadium might be the start. We can only watch and wait.

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