Ann Budge explains why she's not interested in Hearts sale - to Foster Gillett or anyone else

Tynecastle owner says club is in no need to take American's investment

Foster Gillett is interested in taking over Hearts.

Hearts owner Ann Budge has swatted away interest from Foster Gillett, the son of former Liverpool supremo George Gillett, who remains keen on taking over the Tynecastle club.

The club chairwoman, who stepped in to help save the Gorgie side from the brink of extinction after previous owner Vladimir Romanov had driven it into administration, revealed that the American businessman is not the first to express a desire to buy up a controlling interest in the Capital outfit, but maintained that her plans to hand over ownership to the Hearts supporters remain unaltered.

Sign up to our Football newsletter

Sign up to our Football newsletter

“You have no idea how many offers I have had, certainly last year I had two or three,” said Budge. “And since all the problems have started, my assumption is that people are out there looking for any bargains they think they can get. We didn’t even talk about money or anything else.

“It was never likely in my mind [to sell] unless I thought the club was going to go under or I thought we couldn’t survive this [coronavirus crisis]. Then the situation may be different, but I genuinely do not believe that is the case and, therefore, my plans haven’t changed. The plan was always to hand the club over to the supporters and that hasn’t changed.

“We are not interested and we will carry on, doing our best to see us through the difficult period.”

Gillett has been credited with a determination to buy up a football club and “invest significantly” and following Budge’s snub, he publicly reached out to fans group Foundation of Hearts in the hope of opening up talks on “significant investment”.

"To date there has been no response from the club board or Foundation of Hearts. No formal offer has been made," he said in a statement.

“I would welcome the opportunity to engage with the Foundation of Hearts to explore a potential investment.

"I am looking to acquire a football club with ambitions and I'm looking to invest significantly.”

But, having worked closely with the Foundation of Hearts over several years to fulfil the dream of fan ownership Budge maintained that the club was not for sale. “I don’t believe we have to go down that route,” she said.