TWO key figures who quit the board of the Foundation of Hearts a week before its expected takeover have said it is “the right time to go”.
The departures of Alex Mackie and Donald Ford come just days before the fans’ alliance hopes to seal a deal to take the Tynecastle club out of administration.
Fans have taken to forums to express their worries over the exits with some voicing fears it will “derail the takeover”.
But both men – who were founders of the fan-led organisation in 2010 – have dismissed any suggestion of a rift saying it is “the right time to hand on the baton” and they need to concentrate on their businesses.
Speaking to the Evening News, Mr Mackie promised to stay involved with the club and said he would “never let the fans down”.
He said: “This is the right time. I’m going to still be there with influence to give but I need to stand down and move on. It’s to do with getting on with my business and family now. They [FoH] have got all the structure in place, it’s the right time to hand on the baton.
“I’m still on talking terms with everyone and will still be around to advise and influence.”
In a statement, FoH said Hearts legend Ford had indicated to the board for some time that his own business interests meant he could not devote as much time as he would like to being a director.
It added: “He feels the Foundation is now at a stage which enables him to stand down.”
FoH chairman Ian Murray said: “Without Alex, Donald and their colleagues who had the vision for the Foundation, we would not be where we are today with this dynamic supporter-led initiative. We are very grateful for their work and where it has taken us.”
The nine-man board now includes representation from the Federation of Hearts Supporters Clubs, the Heart of Midlothian Shareholders Association, the Heart of Midlothian Supporters’ Trust, Hearts Youth Development Committee and Save Our Hearts, along with four business figures.
Jane Lewis, secretary of Supporters Trust, who sits on the board said she was confident the departures would not impact on the bid.
She said: “I can appreciate why they’ve gone, they just don’t have the time and they felt they couldn’t contribute the same. I don’t think it will have the impact it might have had early on because now we’re quite far along.”
A meeting of Hearts creditors is scheduled for November 22, at which FoH will attempt to pass a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).