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Hearts administration: Tynecastle vital to FoH bid

Foundation of Hearts chairman Ian Murray MP. Picture: SNS

Foundation of Hearts chairman Ian Murray MP. Picture: SNS

  • by ALAN PATTULLO
 

ON THE day that Foundation of Hearts revealed further details of their bid to buy the club, chairman Ian Murray stressed that remaining at Tynecastle stadium is key to a proposal that is financed by a group of currently anonymous Edinburgh businessmen.

Murray has vouched for their standing within the business community while confirming they are Hearts supporters.

These business people will provide the vast majority of the capital required for the to be proposed Creditors’ Voluntary Agreement [CVA], which BDO, the club’s administrators, need to secure in order to sell Hearts as a going concern to the supporters.

The proposal involves two companies – Bidco and Fanco – entering into a binding contract in order to conduct the transaction with BDO and then with each other. As well as ensuring the club’s assets are placed in the hands of the supporters, this ownership model keeps the football club and the stadium together.

“That’s the model we went with because none of the other models would have allowed that to happen,” said Murray. “The long term future is to stay at Tynecastle.

“All those issues around the main stand for example have to be worked out but now we have Tynecastle, the club and the supporters all involved and working together to take the club forward.

“Everyone wants to see the club playing at Tynecastle and that’s the starting point of anything we ever do,” he added. “Who knows what will happen in 20 years’ time? But we will take forward what the fans want to do. Don’t forget they will be in control of the club in terms of making some of those decisions. It’s important they are involved.”

The nightmare scenario could yet unfold where the FoH bid is not viewed as acceptable by administrators for Ukio Bankas, the Lithuanian-based bank that holds the security on Tynecastle. Administrators Valnetas UAB have already threatened to liquidate Hearts if they do not receive what they regard as an acceptable offer for the club. They could then seek to sell Tynecastle Park on the open market. However, Murray yesterday attempted to pour cold water on this idea. “There are a lot of hurdles [preventing that scenario],” he said. “There is the financial hurdles in the sense that will someone want to buy it in the current economic climate?

“There is the planning hurdle, as we have the ethanol tanks across the way [from Tynecastle].

“We’ve got the difficulties around whether or not you could build flats here in the first instance. And there is also the [damage to] reputation difficulties as well.

“If there is anyone out there that wants to use this as a property development site to build flats, then they would have to take that into account.

“I’m sure if anybody has the money to be able to do all of that they will be looking at other opportunities that are far easier to deliver than trying to liquidate a football club.

“There are a lot of imponderables,” he added.

 

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