HEARTS-DAFT celebrities and wealthy businesspeople are being urged to match the commitment of “ordinary supporters” and back a fan-led consortium vying to save the club from extinction.
Former Hearts chairman Lord George Foulkes has issued a clarion call for well-heeled Jambos to dig deep for Foundation of Hearts (FOH) and help lift the threat of liquidation by taking ownership of the troubled Tynecastle outfit.
It comes just days after lifelong Hearts fan and Edinburgh-born actor Ken Stott – who is currently starring in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit – pledged his backing to the fan-led consortium that represents a clutch of supporters’ groups. The former Rebus actor said he had set up a monthly direct debit to help finance the club should an FOH bid succeed.
Hearts’ Lithuanian administrators this week rebuffed three formal bids – including one from FOH – because none matched their valuation of the club.
Today, Lord Foulkes said VIPs in the hospitality suite at Tynecastle should follow the example of the fans on the terraces by investing in the Foundation of Hearts.
He said: “People in positions of responsibility who are known Hearts supporters should be searching their conscience just now. A lot of ordinary fans have been doing everything they can to help the club while there are some members of the executive club – and some former directors – who haven’t yet committed to the foundation.
“It’s very clear now the Foundation has got its act together and is the only vehicle available to take the club forward. People who are wealthier than average should be looking in the mirror and asking if there something more they could be doing to support this in what is a very crucial time?”
First Minister Alex Salmond, a lifelong Hearts fan, hailed fans’ efforts to keep the club float.
He said: “I know that the administrators and everyone connected with Heart of Midlothian Football Club are doing all that they can to support the club through this difficult time.
“The efforts made by supporters over these past few months have been incredible and clearly demonstrate the passion and dedication of the fans at Tynecastle.
“I am hopeful that a viable solution will be found soon enough giving future generations of Jambos a chance to support their team.”
FOH chairman Ian Murray MP said former Hearts managers Jim Jefferies and Craig Levein has already given their backing but refused disclose how much money they had pledged. Their support, he said, was however “worth its weight in gold”.
He said: “We have had support from numerous celebrities and former players and we’re always asking for people to get behind us.
“The more people we have, the better position we will be in when we go back with a revised bid.”