HEARTS fans today said they had no fresh fears for the club’s future despite shares in owner Vladimir Romanov’s bank crashing to an eight-year low.
Ukio Bankas shares plummeted by 16 per cent to just 8p each – which means more than half the bank’s value has been wiped out in the last year. However, supporters groups said Hearts were “on the right track” and insisted the bank’s performance would not affect the club.
Iain Macleod, a campaigner with the Save Our Hearts group, said the only link was Mr Romanov himself and that the club was working hard to control its finances.
He said: “Hearts are on a cost-cutting exercise to make the football business stand alone, so I don’t think it’s going to affect us too much because I think Hearts is already on the right track.
“We’re playing youngsters, we’re in another cup final, which’ll bring much-needed revenue to Hearts.
“If Hearts are treated as a standalone business and they’re able to get their own house in order with respect to turnover of wages, I don’t see how this affects us really.”
Hearts have endured months of turmoil which began last September when late payment of wages resulted in a 60-day transfer embargo.
The club then admitted they were short of cash to see out the season and fans rallied to raise £1 million in a share issue.
In November, HMRC issued a winding-up order for £450,000 of unpaid tax. Hearts later settled the PAYE and VAT bill before striking a deal to stagger payments over a separate claim for £1.5m.
The SPL lifted the transfer embargo last month, but restricted the club to signing under-21s and only replacing players who leave.
Two parties have showed interest in buying out Romanov in recent months, including the Foundation of Hearts consortium, which remains keen to strike a deal.
A spokesman for the group declined to comment on the bank, but said: “Hopefully, the club is a wee bit more on the up at the moment with the fans’ support that they’ve given the club recently. “From the foundation’s point of view, we hope that it’s going to be about a future based on fan ownership.”
Hearts declined to comment on Ukio Bankas’ position.