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Hearts: Budge will not rush into big decisions

Hearts are just weeks away from being formally taken over by Foundation of Hearts. Picture: TSPL

Hearts are just weeks away from being formally taken over by Foundation of Hearts. Picture: TSPL

  • by STUART BATHGATE
 

FOUNDATION of Hearts chairman Ian Murray insisted last night that no decisions had yet been taken about key posts at the Tynecastle club.

The announcement on Thursday that businesswoman Ann Budge is the sole director of the Foundation’s takeover vehicle led to speculation Gary Locke and other senior figures would be axed. But Murray said Budge, who is lending the Foundation £2.5 million of her own money to complete its purchase of Hearts, would take her time before deciding the future of the manager or any other issues.

“Nothing has been decided in any way,” the MP for Edinburgh South said. “Ann has to get in as executive chairwoman and look at the club. She and the Foundation have to get the [takeover] deal done first, and all other matters will be dealt with further down the line. I can understand why there has been speculation, but it is precisely that – speculation. Ann will take her time.

“We need to come out of ­administration first. There is no point in preparing for next ­season until the ink is dry on the contract.”

Former Hearts and Scotland manager Craig Levein has been widely tipped to return to his old job at Tynecastle, possibly with ex-assistant manager Peter Houston. Asked last month if he would agree to stay on as a coach should a manager be appointed above him, Locke said he had not had time to consider it.

Hearts’ administrators BDO are now close to concluding a Company Voluntary Arrangement whereby the Foundation would buy the nearly 80 per cent shareholding owned by Lithuanian firms Ubig and Ukio. A Lithuanian court has to approve the sale, and then Bidco, the takeover vehicle, can become owner of the club.

Fanco, the part of the Foundation which receives monthly direct-debit payments from nearly 8,000 individuals, would have up to five years to repay Bidco.

 

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