Hearts cup final heroes back fans’ buyout group

Rudi Skacel (centre) has backed the campaign. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Rudi Skacel (centre) has backed the campaign. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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ALL four of Hearts’ goalscorers from the 2012 Scottish Cup final have now committed themselves to the campaign by supporters to take control of the Tynecastle club.

Rudi Skacel, who scored the second and fifth goals in the 5-1 Hampden humiliation of Hibs, offered his backing to the Foundation of Hearts on Thursday night. The Czech player joins fellow-goalscorers Darren Barr, Danny Grainger and Ryan McGowan in making a financial commitment to the Foundation.

More than 4,000 individuals have now made a monthly pledge to the Foundation, who are holding a public meeting at Tynecastle next week to help increase awareness of their campaign. Several well-known former Hearts players are expected to attend.

After introductory speeches from prominent members of the campaign, the bulk of the meeting in the Gorgie Suite will be a question-and-answer session conducted by Edinburgh MP Ian Murray, who is the independent chairman of the Federation.

The next step in the Foundation’s bid to buy control of Hearts is to convert those pledges into regular payments. The money thus raised would give the Foundation a working monthly budget for running Hearts if and when they bought the majority stake from Ubig, the Lithuania-based company in which Vladimir Romanov has a controlled interest.

There are currently restrictions in place in Lithuania which prevent Ubig from disposing of many of its assets, but it is understood that those restrictions were imposed to prevent parts of the business from being hived off.

Foundation sources appear confident that, if they were to make an offer which would improve the financial position of the troubled group, the legal authorities in the Baltic republic would not stand in their way.

Hearts’ current board of directors outlined their plans for next season at the club’s recent annual general meeting, and admitted they would need income of £1.5million from a ‘membership scheme’ to balance the books next season. But they remain eager to complete the sale of the club – ideally to the Foundation – over the summer.