A LEADING Hearts supporters’ group today spoke out against Angelo Massone’s bid for the club and told the Italian: “We don’t want you anywhere near Tynecastle.”
The Federation of Hearts Supporters Clubs, led by secretary Steve Kilgour, are deeply concerned by the prospect of Massone gaining control. Kilgour said there would be protests from fans if Massone is named preferred bidder by administrators BDO and labelled him a worse option than Vladimir Romanov, who oversaw Hearts’ descent into administration last month with debts totalling £25 million.
Massone’s company, Five Stars Football Limited, lodged an offer of around £4m with BDO prior to Friday’s deadline but did not indicate whether any working capital would be provided to run Hearts.
Foundation of Hearts, the fan-led group which includes the Federation under its umbrella, submitted a £2m offer with an additional £3.75m working capital over the next three years. HMFC Limited, the company run by Edinburgh businessman Bob Jamieson and backed by Club 9 Sports, offered £1.8m plus £3.2m working capital.
Kilgour pointed to the chaos at Livingston, who were close to going out of business during Massone’s tenure as chairman, as evidence of why supporters do not want the Italian owning Hearts.
“If Massone was to be named preferred bidder, I think there would be an outcry and protests from the majority of Hearts supporters,” he said. “A lot of the good work that’s been done unifying the support would be undone and we’d be in further turmoil.
“We don’t want him anywhere near our club, absolutely
nowhere near it. Look at the mess he left Livingston in. I’d like to think the SFA would rule him an unfit person to run a club because his track record at Livingston speaks for itself. We’d be out of the frying pan and into the fire going from Vladimir Romanov to Angelo Massone.
“I think Massone would actually be worse than Romanov and I don’t think he even has the financial clout Romanov had when he first came to Hearts.”
Suspicion surrounds Massone’s offer as he has yet to publicly declare his plans for Hearts. His £4 million bid is by far the highest cash amount and would therefore give major creditors Ukio Bankas and UBIG more money through a Creditors’ Voluntary
Arrangement if Hearts are to exit administration.
Kilgour, however, believes the Foundation of Hearts offers the most credible option for the club’s future. “We know what the Foundation of Hearts are about. They’ve been the most transparent right the way through,” he continued. “None of the three bidders seem to have masses of money behind them, and for that reason I would strongly urge all Hearts fans to get behind the Foundation’s bid. I think it’s the best bid for the future of the club. I believe we’re approaching 6000 pledges now so all these people who are desperate for
tickets when we get to Hampden, where are they all?”