Hearts seek corporate sales boost

Trevor Birch of Hearts administrators BDO. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
Trevor Birch of Hearts administrators BDO. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
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HEARTS administrators are concerned by the lack of corporate income so far this season and admitted today that they need more backing to ensure the club does not run out of money earlier than expected.

BDO, appointed administrators at Tynecastle in June, want more local businesses to step forward and support Hearts in their hour of need. Trevor Birch, a senior partner at the insolvency firm, said more matchday hospitality income is vital to keep the club going while negotiations continue over a Creditors’ Voluntary Agreement (CVA) to take Hearts out of administration.

Fundraising efforts and season ticket sales helped preserve Hearts through the summer and stop the need to sell players such as midfielder Jason Holt, who was the subject of two bids by Nottingham Forest. BDO hoped to have enough cash to see them through until around November time, but that depends on corporate income reaching a certain level.

Birch also expressed concern at the demands on Hearts’ young players, six of whom are on Scotland Under-21 duty in the Netherlands tomorrow night. The Edinburgh club are banned from registering any new players while in administration and must operate with a small squad.

“We are relieved that we have managed to pass through the transfer window without any further loss of players,” said Birch. “The effect of the recent injuries and dismissals has left an already threadbare squad looking somewhat depleted and to retain our best young prospects is a real boost.

“I think Gary Locke is doing a great job in the circumstances without making a fuss about the lack of resources. The sanctions on recruitment are harsh enough when we have a squad with an average age of under 20 and this has been compounded by the fact that we lose six players on Under-21 duty this week. I think there is a real risk that some of Scotland’s best young talent will be burnt out by being overplayed.

“The continued support of fans, players and management has ensured that so far there is sufficient funding in place to keep the club going without the need to have sold players in the window. However, we cannot relax and I’m concerned that the hospitality uptake on the next few home games and in particular the Celtic game has been exceedingly poor.

“We continue to work towards a CVA and ultimate sale of the club to Foundation of Hearts, but there is still much to do in getting the deal agreed and over the line and it is vital that we continue to hit our budgeted figures for matchday tickets and hospitality to give us the time to complete the sale.

“So it remains vital that the fans continue to support the club financially and I would urge all corporate fans and local businesses to step forward and support the club. Keeping the squad together has been an important signal that the club is battling on, but I would urge the fans to keep up their support over the coming months both on and off the pitch.”