foundation of Hearts have gained more new pledges in the past fortnight than in the previous two months as supporters rally behind Ann Budge’s prospective takeover of the club.
More than 350 fans have signed up to the fans’ group, who aim to ultimately take control of the club, in the last two weeks. It is understood FoH’s next target of 8,000 subscribers is within touching distance.
Reported estimates put their current annual funding through pledges somewhere between £1.4 and £1.5 million. Self-made millionaire Budge was last week revealed as the financial muscle behind the £2.5 million purchase of a majority shareholding (78.97 per cent) in the administration-hit Tynecastle club from Ukio Bankas and UBIG.The Edinburgh businesswoman will run the club for at least two years, but she has made it clear that plan will only succeed if fans’ group FoH provide working capital.
Around £6 million will ultimately be required from FoH – £3.8 million in the first two years – if they are to help fund the club and, eventually, take control of Hearts within three-to-five years. In an e-mail to 55,000 Hearts supporters this week, Budge stated: “Right now, the club needs your financial support to see us through the next two years. Thereafter your contributions are required to secure supporter ownership.”
Administrators BDO, who remain in day-to-day control of the club until the deal to hand over control to Budge is finalised, have privately welcomed the developments of the past fortnight.
However, they are no closer to finding out when UBIG and Ukio Bankas’s shares will be available for Budge to make the purchase. A creditors’ meeting must be scheduled in Lithuania at 30 days’ notice, during which the shares are likely to be released to Budge’s BIDCO (1874) Limited company. No meeting has yet been penciled in.