HEARTS owner Vladimir Romanov has vowed that he will not let the ailing club go into oblivion – despite his insistence that he will no longer provide funding.
The Lithuanian-based banker, however, could not resist a dig at the Foundation of Hearts, the consortium led by Alex Mackie which is trying to buy him out and turn the Tynecastle outfit into a supporters-run club.
Having rejected their offer, Romanov has criticised the FoH’s strategy.
He said: “The starting offer of the Foundation of Hearts was more of a bad joke. They offered to take over the club for £450,000 and for us still to fund it until January. In our view, this does not show their good intentions, but they said they will come back with a real offer reflecting the value of the club.
“I am surprised they want to buy the club with supporters’ money and not invest their personal wealth like I did.”
Despite this, Romanov favours the idea of fan ownership. Talking to a Sunday newspaper, he added, “We want to make Hearts the people’s club, but the success of this will depend on how the media portray it.
“We know the people who have invested so far are simple fans. We had one really outstanding personal investment of £27,500 from someone living in Singapore.”
Meanwhile, Romanov has accused Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs of over-reaction and leaving Hearts on the verge of administration. Last week, the club paid a debt of almost £450,000 and agreed to pay an additional debt to HMRC by instalments.
Insisting the club would not go under, Romanov said: “I don’t think that I would allow that to happen. Do you think that a missed payment for one month of tax is sufficient reason to put the club into liquidation?
“We were able to demonstrate to HMRC that we have sufficient income to cover that liability, so the threats were really a draconic measure.”