‘This story still has a long way to run’

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Football will have to take a backseat to a game of high-stakes poker at Tynecastle over the coming weeks.

The offer from the Foundation of Hearts which Vladimir Romanov has so forcefully rejected is clearly only the opening gambit in the consortium’s bid to take over the Gorgie club.

The astute business brains behind the consortium cannot have seriously expected Mr Romanov to accept what appears to have been a derisory offer to hand over the club. While his previous asking price of £50 million may have significantly dropped, no one could foresee him handing over the club in exchange for clearing the club’s current £450,000 tax bill.

But these are successful and committed individuals and they are clearly in this for the long haul. They are not going to walk away quietly at the first – or even the third – knockback. The “signing” of IT specialist Anne Budge, one of Scotland’s great entrepreneurial success stories of recent years, is a significant step forward for the consortium. She adds considerable skills and contacts in the business world, as well as potential financial clout.

What remains unclear are the two most important factors – Mr Romanov’s demands for parting with Hearts and the consortium’s ability to meet those demands. What is crystal clear is that this story has a long way to run.

Dutch and go

CONVINCING motorists that two wheels are better than four is always going to be a tough job. Navigating the Capital’s traffic is often hair-raising enough even inside a big lump of metal.

So if Edinburgh is to stand any chance of meeting its ambitious targets to have 15 per cent of all journeys to work being made by bicycle by 2020, there will need to be some pretty major changes.

Our cycle leader, Councillor Jim Orr, has told how he would like to copy the Dutch model which has seen schemes such as banning cars from certain areas, better cycle parking facilities and properly segregated cycle lanes help make cities like Amsterdam a cyclist’s dream – along, no doubt, with the fact that there are not many hills.

In Edinburgh, there is a fine balance to be struck. Yes, encourage more people out of their cars and on to bikes, but not at all costs. Where more space is needed for better bike lanes, it has to be shown this can be done without causing unreasonable disruption to other road users.

The Capital has made a good start on hitting its cycling ambitions, but there are hurdles on the road ahead.