HEARTS fans have rallied behind calls for Angelo Massone to step aside in favour of a takeover by the club’s supporters.
The Evening News made the direct plea to the failed former Livingston FC chairman to withdraw his interest and clear the way for the Foundation of Hearts to move forward with their bid.
In a hard-hitting front page editorial, The News called for Mr Massone, right, to do the honourable thing and step aside.
Since then, scores more pledges have been made to the fan-based bid, with the Foundation of Hearts revealing the stance had given them a much needed fillip.
A spokesman said the Foundation continued to be overwhelmed by the public response with the number of monthly pledges surging in the last 24 hours.
“Since the Evening News coverage, the Foundation has received a real boost in terms of sign-ups.
“It has certainly played its part in the number of direct debit pledges we have had.
“We are delighted to receive the support of the Evening News and the positive response the story has had with fans.”
Yesterday’s news highlighted fans’ concerns including Mr Massone’s failure to provide proof of funds for his £4m bid.
Calls were made for him to show the money exists or step aside, amid fears his prolonged interest will cause an artificial rise in the club’s asking price.
Councillor Alex Lunn, a lifelong fan and Foundation of Hearts member, agreed it is time for Mr Massone to take his hat out of the ring.
He said he firmly believed the Foundation represented the best opportunity for the survival of the “proud Edinburgh institution.”
He said: “While not trying to disrespect Angelo Massone’s intentions, I do believe his past record at Livingston should cause every Hearts fan concern. Hearts are a bigger club with bigger problems than Livingston had and I am not convinced he has the necessary qualities or financial backing to solve these problems.
“I think the Foundation are the best placed to take this club forward.”
Earlier this week, First Minister Alex Salmond, a lifelong Hearts fan, hailed fans’ “incredible efforts” to keep the club float.
Former Hearts chairman Lord George Foulkes also ordered VIPs in the hospitality suite at Tynecastle to follow their example by investing in the FoH.
While buoyed by the renewed efforts, FoH urged supporters to continue fundraising.
The Foundation again urged fans to help lift the threat of liquidation by taking ownership of the troubled Tynecastle outfit.
“We continue to be encouraged but are still encouraging any Hearts fans that can do their bit, to do so, and get those direct debits set up.”
Mr Massone could not be reached for comment.