Ian Murray seeks Hearts takeover next season

THE Member of Parliament who has been chosen by Hearts ­supporters to front a fans-led buyout is hoping they will be in a better position to table a take­over offer by the start of next season.

Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray has been elected by the six key supporters organisations to become their independent chair.

Murray will meet the groups for the first time tomorrow evening when they will attempt to create a business model that they hope earns the backing of the fans and can convince owner Vladimir Romanov to part with his majority shareholding.

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Supporters Direct had previously presented the fans with a plan for a proposed buyout but the Foundation of Hearts (FOH) – a collection of Hearts supporters – have also put forward their idea for gaining control.

Romanov, who has been beset by problems in Lithuania after seeing his Ukio Bankas bank plunge into administration and UBIG, Hearts’ parent company, have its assets frozen, has said he wants to sell a 51 per cent stake to the fans.

Former Hearts chairman George Foulkes, a one-time MP, is assisting Murray.

“The main aim behind this, and me becoming involved, is to have the fans speaking with one voice and putting forward a credible proposal,” said Murray. “The window of opportunity for this is relatively small. If you’re for fans ownership, we need to work together to come up with a formula. It is not easy trying to take over a football club. No white knight will ride in with £20 million.

“We have to get it right, there is no point in doing it and it’s not sellable to the fans. You have an unwritten timescale, but it would be nice to get some kind of response [from the fans] by the start of next season.”

Murray, who is representing the Federation of Hearts Supporters’ Clubs, FOH, Hearts Shareholders Association, Hearts Trust, Hearts Youth Development Committee and Save our Hearts, added: “My dialogue will be with the board of Hearts football club. What is going on behind the scenes with the situation in Lithuania does not really concern me at the moment.”