MP Ian Murray has assured Hearts fans that no Craig Whyte character will be allowed to take control of their club, but he has also reiterated his warning that no white knight is waiting in the wings either.
The chairman of the united fans’ group hoping to buy Hearts has spoken out to quell concerns that the Tynecastle club is vulnerable to the advances of less scrupulous businessmen who could run the club into ruin and liquidation. “Whoever buys the club has to pass the Scottish Football Association’s fit and proper persons rules and the administrator has to make sure that he sells the club with SFA approval to make sure they are passing it on to someone who passes the SFA rules on ownership of a club. It’s not the case that it is as easy as it was when Rangers were taken over because the rules have been tightened and if some kind of scoundrel was to come in and try to get the club, they wouldn’t be allowed to buy it.
“But the bottom line is that there are no white knights out there either because if there was I’m pretty sure we would have heard about them by now.”
Having taken on the chair of the united fans’ group, which pulls together half a dozen organisations under one umbrella, he says the body is working hard to put together a bid for the club, with another meeting planned for Tuesday.
With the club still owing Ukio Bankas £15m, there remains uncertainty as to when that loan will be recalled after the Lithuanian institution was made bankrupt this week, and whether the situation would impact on the selling price of the club. At this stage Murray is unable to say what that bid is likely to be.
“I have absolutely no idea. But in really difficult economic times and so soon after the fans were asked to dig deep for the share issue, we have been very, very encouraged by the pledges. It has to be a realistic and credible bid but we are not putting a figure on that. Sometimes liquidators will take a lesser bid just to get it off their desks. But all we can do is get the best possible bid together and hope that it is accepted. We know there is a desire to do things quickly but, more importantly, we have to do things right.”