THE Foundation of Hearts has turned down an invitation from Angelo Massone to join forces with him and buy Hearts.
Massone, whose firm Five Stars Football Ltd is the only other bidder besides the Foundation still in the running to gain control at Tynecastle, made his offer in a newspaper interview.
The Foundation restated its willingness to work with any group or individual with the genuine interests of the club at heart, but insisted that Massone had done nothing to show he came into that category. “It’s strange he does this on the day he must prove funding to BDO after a near two-week extension,” FoH chairman Ian Murray said. “He’s had three months to contact the Foundation of Hearts and, given I’m not the hardest person in the world to get hold of, I feel somewhat suspicious.
“However, we have said we’d talk to anyone with the best interests of the club at heart. I’ll let others decide if this individual fits that particular qualification.”
Massone’s offer for Hearts consists of a greater up-front sum than the Foundation’s bid, but has no working capital for running the club in the seasons immediately after any takeover. His company has yet to do due diligence on the state of Hearts, and a deadline to do so was due to expire yesterday.
Administrators BDO are now waiting to hear whether Massone will seek more time to carry out due diligence. BDO have also yet to receive proof of funding from Massone, whereas the Foundation delivered their proof weeks ago.
“The Foundation of Hearts is confident that it delivers a low-risk, strong and credible solution which will allow the clubs supporters to play a meaningful part in the future,” a spokesperson for the united fans’ group added.
Although the Foundation has said little publicly to disparage Massone, it remains suspicious of his motives. In the case of previous interested parties, such as the American Club 9 and the group fronted by former Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Gordon McKie, a degree of amicable dialogue behind the scenes was possible, even though, in both those cases, there was never any real prospect of a formal dialogue. In the case of Massone, however, both his past as Livingston owner and the lack of clarity about his motives have led the Foundation to conclude that any prospect of working together is impossible.
In his interview yesterday, Massone claimed he wanted to work with the Foundation in order to help Hearts avoid liquidation – something with Lithuanian firm UAB Valnetas, administrators of creditors Ukio Bankas, have threatened to do if they do not receive any improved offers for the club. “Alone, the situation becomes very complicated for us,” Massone said. “So we want to provide money to help Foundation of Hearts create a stable future for the club.
“We would be willing to invest our money together with FoH to create the platform to save the club. Everyone has to work together now. We can help them, because they may not have the money to save the club.
Meanwhile, the Foundation will run LED digital advertising for its cause at tomorrow’s Edinburgh derby against Hibernian. The space has been gifted by The Football Company, which manages LED digital advertising and sales on behalf of several SPFL clubs.