Sergejus Fedotovas warns fans of another do-or-die situation at Tynecastle

Sergejus Fedotovas: Tax settled. Picture: Neil Hanna
Sergejus Fedotovas: Tax settled. Picture: Neil Hanna
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Director Sergejus Fedotovas has warned Hearts fans the club could face another do-or-die situation if more supporters do not buy shares.

Director Sergejus Fedotovas has warned Hearts fans the club could face another do-or-die situation if more supporters do not buy shares.

The club have now raised more than £800,000 in a share offer that was launched last month and closes on 19 December. Hearts recently averted a winding-up order after paying Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs a £450,000 bill, and they have settled another issue with the tax authority by agreeing to pay £1.5million over three years.

Players voluntarily deferred their wages last month but these are now up to date and Fedotovas confirmed yesterday that Hearts would be able to pay this month’s wages by the 16 December deadline.

But Fedotovas continued to warn supporters of the dangers ahead by stating they were 
facing a £1 million deficit.

He added: “Make no mistake, we are entering another critical phase in the club’s history and it is imperative we all stand shoulder to shoulder as we face the battles ahead.

“We do not have a home game in January after the Hibs game on the 3rd until Dundee visit on the 30th.

“If we are not able to bridge the target for the share sales, the club will be in the same difficult position as we were in November but this time with no option for shares.”

The warning comes in the week that Lithuanian striker Arturas Rimkevicius, who scored 35 league goals for FK Siauliai last season, arrived at Tynecastle on trial.

Hearts are under a Scottish Premier League transfer embargo until 23 December over delayed wage payments but expect that to be lifted after this month’s salaries are paid in full.

However, it is understood that some players are still awaiting bonus money due from their William Hill Scottish Cup triumph in May.

In a lengthy statement on the club website, Fedotovas said: “It is premature to speak about any transfer business as it is never known in advance if deals will happen, particularly with staff salaries and monies due to the taxman in January.

“It goes without saying that, if we sell players without suitable replacements being available, our league position could suffer.”

Fedotovas revealed 3,200 fans had contributed to the share scheme, which aims to raise £1.79 million.

“But we had 100,000 supporters celebrating in the streets of our capital city after our Scottish Cup victory in May, and have 8,500 season ticket holders,” he added. “I appreciate a lot of these people may still be reluctant to pledge their monetary support to help the club in our hour of need. If that is the case, I would urge every fan to ask themselves: ‘Have I done all I can to help the club that means so much to me and people close to me?’

“If they are brave enough to answer ‘no’, there is still time for them to act. But, if they choose to wait, it may be a bad decision and there may be no return.

“We may disagree about the future with all those criticising the club now but we must preserve what we have today in order to have a future.”

On those who have taken up the option to buy shares. Fedotovas added: “It is with their assistance we have saved the club from liquidation in November and with their help we will be able to pay the players’ December salaries. We will do all we can to mark the sacrifices made by these people and their

dedication to the club. We are currently looking at a £1 million deficit and only when that is reduced significantly will we be able to move forward into 2013 with a degree of confidence.”

Meanwhile, talks on future possible fan ownership of Hearts continued between the club and Supporters Direct Scotland yesterday, at the club’s request.

Head of Supporters Direct Scotland Paul Goodwin said: “I was greatly encouraged at the progress made today and the club’s willingness to continue to explore the options available.

“Supporters Direct Scotland believes that as we get a better understanding of the options available to the club, there is a fantastic opportunity that a solution can be found that will be acceptable to the whole Hearts community as well as the current owner.

“Today was about looking in detail at some of the concepts that Supporters Direct Scotland had previously presented, and for the club to get to a position where there is a framework for future meetings that will undoubtedly follow in the coming weeks.”