FIRST Minister Alex Salmond has said he fully expects the Gorgie club to survive its difficulties, and urged fans to put their hands in their pockets to help the club through its administration crisis.
The lifelong Hearts fans says he plans to buy a second season ticket and has urged others to do likewise.
During a speech to business leaders in Edinburgh, Mr Salmond said: “The situation affects fans like myself and players, but Heart of Midlothian is a substantial employer in the city.
“Like other clubs who’ve gone through that process, it’s a great time of anxiety for the employees of Heart of Midlothian. One comfort I would have at this time is that other clubs have gone through it and emerged at the other end of the tunnel, and that’s what I fully expect Heart of Midlothian to do. They’ve been around for a long time and I’m sure they’ll be around for a long time to come.”
“Unfortunately I don’t get to Tynesastle as much as I would like to do these days, but as a small gesture I’m going to buy another one [season ticket] which can be given to a deserving fan”.
His rallying call came as accountancy firm BDO was appointed to take control of the club’s finances by their major creditor Ukio Bankas who are owed £15 million.
BDO’s Bryan Jackson has admitted it may have less than six weeks to save the club as it seeks a new buyer.
Meanwhile, the fans-backed Foundation of Hearts has been warned it will need to stump up a large sum of cash within days to a newly-appointed administrator if it is serious about buying Hearts.
BDO is already locked in negotiations with bidders wanting to buy Dunfermline Athletic, which also entered administration earlier this year.
One of those bidders – supporters’ group Pars United – today warned the Foundation it would almost certainly be asked to contribute thousands in cash over the coming days to prop up the financially-stricken club while the administrators did their work. The Pars group was forced to pay £100,000 in April to BDO to help pay for general running costs, including staff and player payments.
Drew Main, vice-chairman of Pars Supporters Trust, said: “The administrator will require money to ensure the continuation of the business. He will be required to pay wages from when he’s appointed.
“I suspect when he goes into Hearts he’ll find there’s no money.
“If that’s the case, the first thing he needs to do is to get fundraisers to give him money that will ensure he can pay the bills.
“The Foundation would need perhaps not all of the pledges, but at least some of them to come to fruition.”
Fans have previously been told the Foundation will convert pledges into cash from July 4.
Major shirt sponsor Wonga said it intended to stick by Hearts – for now – despite the situation. A spokesman said: “We have been and remain a proud sponsor of Hearts and we are closely monitoring the situation.”