Hearts administration: Fans fight to save club

Neil Connolly is selling hundreds of old matchday programmes and donating half of all sales from hot drinks to Hearts. 'Picture: Neil Hanna
Neil Connolly is selling hundreds of old matchday programmes and donating half of all sales from hot drinks to Hearts. 'Picture: Neil Hanna
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HEARTS fans are pulling out the stops with fundraising efforts to help save the club as season ticket sales continue to grow.

Neil Connolly, owner of Morrison Street’s Cafe Fresco, will today sell as many as 5000 old match programmes at £1 each from his premises, with all proceeds going directly to Hearts.

He is also donating 50 per cent of the sale price of any hot drink bought from 7.30am to 3.30pm to the Jambos.

And supporter Craig Dunlop is brewing his own beer - 20 gallons of Skac-ale, named after the former Tynecastle hero – to make his contribution. Mr Dunlop, from Sighthill, can’t sell the beer but fans who pledge £15 to the club will be rewarded with half a dozen bottles. He hopes to raise around £300.

More than 1000 season tickets have been sold since last Thursday ansd sales are on target to reach the 3000 that administrators BDO said was needed to guarantee the club’s immediate future.

Die-hard fan Ian Taylor, 65, from Stoneyburn, had already bought three season tickets two months ago, but decided to get another for his six-year-old granddaughter Jessica to help make a difference.

Even supporters of rival Scottish clubs have pitched in.

Rangers fan and marketing manager Mark Britton, 22, gave £10 to forum group Jambos Kickback, which has raised more than £25,000 for the cause.

He said: “It’s sad to see any football club go through that. As a Rangers fan, you just wish that Scottish football would have united behind us.”

Meanwhile, Sale Sharks chief Brian Kennedy, who failed in his bid to buy Rangers, urged interested parties to waste no time submitting their offers.

He was approached for advice last week by former Scottish Rugby chief executive Gordon McKie, who is involved with a UK-based consortium looking to buy Hearts.

“He just wanted my view of it really, to give him a bit of advice given my experience with Rangers and overall commercial experience,” Mr Kennedy said.

“That was as far as it went. My only advice to Gordon was time is of the essence. He can only move as quickly as the administrator can move, but if there’s any way that can be expedited then I think there’s better prospects of a resolution.”

A cash bid has been put to administrators BDO by the syndicate of investors Mr McKie represents.

The supporter-backed Foundation of Hearts issued a statement yesterday saying it had also made a formal registration of interest to buy the club. The organisation has converted half of more than 6000 received pledges from fans into a monthly direct debit.

A statement said: “Time-scales are short, so please support the foundation’s cause. We cannot fully rely on waiting for others, so it is in our hands. Spread the word, it is truly in our hands to own the history and shape the future.”