Cross country | City of Edinburgh, following hearts, pushes west

Romanov began his entrepreneurial career selling bootleg Elvis Presley records from the back of a taxi in Kaunas, Lithuania. He later served on a Soviet submarine, trolling seas off Great Britain. The navy motto was “die, but do it.” (Julie Bull | The Scotsman)

At least in the short term, he has been a man of his word. He has made Hearts competitive with Celtic and Rangers—they currently sit second in the Scottish Premier League, 17 points behind Celtic—and championed the redevelopment of Tynecastle, the cozy home ground first laid out in 1886. Before Romanov’s arrival, officials from both clubs were broaching the unpopular notion of ground-sharing at a new venue.

In reference to an earlier scheme to merge the clubs entirely and present a unified eastern front to the Old Firm, Hibs historian Stuart Crowther said, “You can’t force two communities to join together, no matter how much business and financial sense it makes—you are dealing with real people, not bricks and mortar” (see Ronnie Esplin, “Love at First Bite,” FourFourTwo, November 2003, 104–8).

Hatred is not so easily purged, as expressed in the title of Will Blythe‘s recent memoir about the college basketball rivalry between the University of North Carolina and Duke: To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever. According to the perspective of one Hearts historian, each club needed the other to construct its own identity:

Hearts needed a local teaser, a stable-mate which would stir the club to great deeds. Was it by chance that the two names happened to alliterate—Hearts and Hibs?

Update: Woes continued Sunday for Hibernian. Their Scottish Cup drought extends for a 104th year with a 4–0 loss to Hearts. Says the Sunday Herald‘s Bell:

In 1902, the Boer war ended, Portugal went bankrupt, and Australian women got the vote. Arthur Conan Doyle published the Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Balfour became Prime Minister, and Monet painted “Waterloo Bridge”. Hibs won the Scottish Cup. And that was it.

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