Ann Budge: Hearts deal is the start of a new era

Hearts Executive Chairwoman Designate Ann Budge  says the club is about to enter a new era, after a deal was agreed with creditors Ukio Bankas.

Hearts Executive Chairwoman Designate Ann Budge says the club is about to enter a new era, after a deal was agreed with creditors Ukio Bankas.

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THE new chairwoman designate of Hearts FC has hailed the deal that will see her take over the reins of Tynecastle the “beginning of a new era”.

A deal to handover control of Hearts has been finalised after creditors Ukio Bankas shook hands on an agreement that should see the Gorgie club exit administration.

Hearts are set to exit administration. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Hearts are set to exit administration. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

It is understood Hearts’ administrators BDO have agreed a deal with the Lithuanian bank which owns 30 per cent of the club’s shares and security over Tynecastle.

It follows a deal signed last week with UBIG to buy up the firm’s 50 per cent holding in Hearts.

Businesswoman Ann Budge is expected to become the club’s new owner following Vladimir Romanov’s tumultuous nine-year reign.

And she said the “end is now in sight” after administrators today reached agreement with Hearts creditors to buy out their shares for around £2.5 million.

“I am very much looking forward to the beginning of this new chapter in the club’s history,” she told the official Hearts FC website,

But she warned fans that there backing would be crucial to ensure the club survives until the end of the season. It is hoped the share transfer and stadium security will be completed by then.

The remaining hurdles appear to be the signing of the sale and purchase agreement and a cooling-off period for UBIG’s 50 per cent stake which elapses on Sunday April 27 - the day of the Edinburgh Derby at Easter Road.

In a statement on the club’s website, Ann Budge said: “This is the beginning of a new era for Heart of Midlothian Football Club.

“I would personally like to express my gratitude to the fans for their support and I am confident that together we can rebuild Heart of Midlothian FC to once again become one of the greatest clubs in the country.

“We are not across the line just yet but this is a very positive step and we are almost there.

“The fans have been magnificent throughout but I would urge them to keep backing the team in their numbers during the last few games to ensure we get to the end of the season.

“The end is now in sight and together I am confident we can achieve our target.”

Chairman of the Foundation of Hearts Ian Murray, MP, also welcomed today news adding: “This is fantastic news for the club and all the supporters who have, time after time, shown their support for the club.

“We still need to conclude the legal agreement but there is little doubt that today is the second most important day in the recent history of the club. The most important day will be when we officially exit administration.

“We will continue to work hard to get the final documentation concluded as soon as possible so we can look forward to the future with confidence.

“Thanks to BDO and everyone in Lithuania for getting it to this stage. It will not be forgotten. All I would urge is for all supporters to continue to support the Foundation of Hearts and ensure as many can attend the remaining matches of this momentous season.

“All supporters can have a great deal of self-congratulations tonight in what they have done to save this great club.”

Gintaras Adomonis, bankruptcy administrator of Ukio bank, said: “The deal is very significant for us in several aspects. For the fans of Hearts this has been a very emotional and difficult period and we are happy that this has now been resolved in an amicable way.”