Ann Budge says Hearts not for sale as ex-Liverpool owner's son tries to buy Edinburgh club

Tynecastle officials committed to Foundation of Hearts handover

Hearts will be placed into the ownership of supporters later this year.
Hearts will be placed into the ownership of supporters later this year.

Hearts insist they are not for sale after rejecting a takeover bid from the son of former Liverpool owner George Gillett.

The Edinburgh club remain committed to fan ownership, with a legally binding agreement in place for Foundation of Hearts to become majority shareholders later this year.

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Foster Gillett, a former director at Anfield, made a formal approach to the Hearts owner Ann Budge earlier this month but was given a swift rebuttal.

A Hearts spokesperson said: “An approach had been made, as have others in the past. We have a commitment to pass club ownership to the fans and that has not changed.”

Gillett Jnr got involved at Liverpool during his father’s turbulent reign as co-owner with Tom Hicks, who bought the English club in 2007.

They sold their shares to Fenway Sports Group in October 2010 after a fallout between the partners. Gillett Snr’s net worth is estimated to exceed £500m.

Gillett Jnr has been managing director at Booth Creek Management Corporation in Colorado, USA, which runs ski resorts. He was also involved in a NASCAR team, Richard Petty Motorsports, up until 2010.

Budge reiterated the not-for-sale message to BBC Scotland, adding: “My plan has always been to hand the club over to supporters and nothing has changed. Right now, the club needs stability.”

Hearts have officially been relegated to the Scottish Championship for next season following the coronavirus pandemic.

Budge has devised a league reconstruction proposal and is awaiting feedback from other clubs across the Scottish Professional Football League.

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As it stands, she is therefore unsure which division her club will play in when football restarts. She has also imposed wage cuts at Tynecastle to mitigate the global financial crisis.

Foundation of Hearts have around 8,000 monthly subscribers and are due to take hold of Budge’s 75.1 per cent stake in Hearts in the autumn.

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