JIM Jefferies has confessed that the liquidation of Rangers two years ago made him fear the worst for his beloved Hearts – and he is refusing to get too excited until the club’s safety is “signed, sealed and delivered”.
The former Hearts captain and manager is thrilled with Wednesday’s news that key creditors Ukio Bankas have decided to support the Ann Budge-led supporters’ takeover of his old club. However, Jefferies has gone through a worrying period of administration as manager of Dunfermline, where Bryan Jackson was also administrator, and knows from that experience hurdles remain for Hearts to overcome in the coming weeks.
And, having worked under the Vladimir Romanov regime at Tynecastle, the 63-year-old will remain cautious over Hearts’ future until no further setbacks are possible. He said: “That was the news they were always waiting for. They’ve thrown out a caution that they’re not completely, 100 per cent out of the mire, but they’ve saved themselves from liquidation, which is just fantastic news and reward for all the fantastic work people have put in behind the scenes.
“But I feel a bit like I did here, in that until its done and dusted and signed I’m a bit wary. It’s a different culture over there and you never can tell, but I hope it all goes through.
“They are still to cross the t’s and dot the i’s and I just hope there’s not any last-minute hitches. And when you’re dealing that far apart, in terms of distance and different culture, Bryan Jackson will be very aware there’s still a bit of work to be done to get it through.
“It seems to have been a series of meetings that have been cancelled and put off, and finally they’ve got a decision. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that they keep to that decision in Lithuania and it’s now on the right lines.
“The prospect of liquidation seemed to be very real. As someone who has supported the club and captained the club and managed the club that was something I didn’t want to contemplate. But then look at Rangers. Who would have thought that Rangers, with all those thousands and thousands of season-ticket holders and home crowds of 50,000, would get into that situation. It’s just incredible. They’re one of the biggest clubs in the world, never mind Scotland, Britain or Europe. And if it could happen to Rangers it could happen to anybody.
“But, even though nobody can afford to relax until its been signed, sealed and delivered, it’s a great step forward and great news for Hearts, Edinburgh and Scottish football.”