HEARTS officials admitted today that this week is critical to their future as they attempt to stave off the threat of administration. With fixtures for the new season released on Wednesday, the Edinburgh club hope to generate vital income by selling individual match tickets immediately.
A total of £500,000 is needed to keep Hearts alive until the new league campaign begins and the club say much depends on fans buying tickets for games once they become available. Initial proceeds from match ticket sales would pay the five-figure sum of PAYE tax still due to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, and thus ensure Hearts avoid a winding up order.
Players’ monthly wages were not paid at the weekend as the club admitted they are out of money and will listen to offers for the entire playing staff. Non-footballing staff at Tynecastle are due their salaries on June 24. There appears no indication of when players will receive their money, with all hopes now being pinned on raising vital funds from selling match tickets later this week.
A Hearts spokesperson told the Evening News: “This week is paramount to the club’s future. The big difference this week is that, suddenly, one of the most important revenue streams for the club could be opened up when the new fixtures are announced. It is a critical period. We hope to have tickets on sale within 48 hours of the fixtures being released, which is going to be a vital lifeline for the club.”
Season ticket sales hover around the 7000 mark with some fans choosing not to renew their seats. When asked if the same problem could arise with people refusing to buy individual match tickets, the spokesperson replied: “Hearts supporters want to support their club. Individual match tickets are a much smaller purchase than buying season tickets. The best way the fans can help is by buying tickets and that’s what supporters do best – support their team.”
Hearts could find themselves in administration with a 15-point deduction before the start of the new season if some liabilities are not met. Several parties are interested in gaining control, with Americans, Scandinavians and the fans’ group Foundation of Hearts all in the running and hoping to lodge official takeover bids before the end of the month.