Hearts fans ready to back club’s share issue

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HEARTS supporters are ready to back the club’s new share issue in their thousands, with fans’ groups reporting significant interest from people wishing to buy into the Edinburgh club. Shares priced at 11 pence were made available last week and Hearts have received hundreds of applications 
already from interested parties.

The Federation of Hearts Supporters’ Clubs and the Hearts Supporters’ Trust revealed today that many of their respective members intend to take up the offer to buy shares. Hearts hope to raise £1.79 million by selling ten per cent of the club back to fans and many have moved quickly to 
ensure they do not miss out.

Financial problems at Tynecastle, combined with an end to funding from parent company Ukio Bankas Investment Group, has led to the share issue in an attempt to raise much-needed capital. Hearts are also being pursued by tax authorities for £1.75m, although they are confident of 
being cleared at a tribunal next month.

Supporters want to back their club in its hour of need following statements from 
director Sergejus Fedotovas stressing that the situation is now “serious” as the board seeks new investment. Steve Kilgour, secretary of the Federation of Hearts Supporters’ Clubs, said: “Of the fans I’ve spoken to so far, I’d say about 95 per cent of them are interested in buying shares. Most of the ones I’ve spoken to go to games week in and week out and the feedback has been very positive. The majority of people I’ve spoken to are going to buy shares.

“I think people realise we have to do something to help the club. The ultimatum is you either back them or watch them dwindle. The folk I’ve talked to are loyal Hearts fans and willing to back the club. If you have the club’s best interests at heart, then you have to back this. In the absence of a better alternative at the moment, we have to back the share scheme.

“I don’t think it’s a case of Hearts not being here if people don’t buy into this, but they will struggle and they will have to cut back even more. They could still be a big club but they won’t be a top club.

“If what we’re getting told is 100 per cent true, which I tend to believe it is, then I think the club has been as transparent as they can be. If you’re honest with the fans, the fans will back you. That’s what we’ve always said. It’s like any walk of life, if people feel they’re getting duped they will walk away.

“At my own supporters’ club, Livingston Hearts, our members have really got behind it. They’ve actually asked to organise a fundraiser so we can buy shares in the name of the supporters’ club. That’s on top of what anyone might do as an individual.”

Derek Watson, chairman of the Hearts Supporters’ Trust, reported slightly more mixed feedback but said: “I know quite a number of individuals within the Trust who are going to buy shares. A lot of people are keen to do it, although some others have been put off by the tax case. I’d say it’s a 50/50 split, although that doesn’t include a large group who are still thinking about it. We’d like to see fans own more shares.”

To apply to purchase shares in Hearts, visit the club’s official website at www.heartsfc.co.uk and fill out an application form.