HEARTS will have received income nearing £1million by the end of next week, helping them pay a £450,000 HMRC tax bill and process overdue wages for players.
The club has gained more than £600,000 so far through its share issue and an extra £300,000 is due from Rangers next week as part of David Templeton’s transfer to Ibrox.
Players and coaching staff agreed to defer November’s salaries and December’s are due on the 16th of next month, both sums totalling around £250,000. The HMRC bill for unpaid PAYE and VAT must be settled by December 3 and much of the Templeton money is expected to be ring fenced for that.
Hearts are keen to try and sell-out tickets for forthcoming home games against Celtic and Aberdeen, which would provide a further boost to their coffers as they attempt to make up a shortfall in funding. Supporters have raised additional amounts independently which have yet to be totalled by the club.
Players have agreed to different pay dates between now and the middle of next month so that their November wages are paid in full before December’s are due. The club needs fans to continue buying shares and match tickets to ensure they can pay staff on time next month and avoid further sanctions from the Scottish Premier League.
The SPL imposed a transfer embargo on Hearts until December 23 as punishment for failing to pay their squad on time in October.
Meanwhile, Hearts’ majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov will decide how the club should involve fans in any takeover bid following a meeting yesterday between the club and Supporters Direct Scotland. David Southern, managing director at Tynecastle, met with Supporters Direct’s Paul Goodwin to discuss various different models of fan ownership. Goodwin’s proposals have now been sent to Lithuania to be considered by Romanov.
“We had a really good meeting and we presented some proposals which will be sent on to Lithuania,” explained Goodwin. “We have outlined various different options and ownership models for Hearts to engage with their fans. In Scottish terms, there is the Stirling Albion model, the Dundee model, the Stenhousemuir model. Then there is the bigger picture of the Bundesliga models or the Barcelona model with a membership scheme. There are a broad range of options on the various different ownership models.
“The next stage would be to put more meat on the bones for Hearts. We have met the club a few times and I feel the fan ownership idea is definitely getting serious consideration. We are having serious dialogue. We are optimistic and hopeful that, out of this, will come some form of fan involvement. What that is depends on money, time and several other factors.
“These are hugely complicated things and Hearts is a complicated club because of the ownership. It’s going to take time to evolve. We are talking and that remains positive. The meeting was very productive but I wouldn’t expect anything to happen quickly. Every club is different but this is a big, big club. It’s not going to happen quickly. I reckon it will be well into next year. The momentum has started and that’s all that’s happened. We’re hopeful there will be another meeting in the next couple of weeks.”