Hearts boss: Focus on football - not club’s future

Gary Locke. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Gary Locke. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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HEARTS boss Gary Locke insisted today that his team must focus solely on their football and not on what the future holds for the club.

The Tynecastle side’s administrators, BDO, are scheduled to meet with their creditors tomorrow and ask them to accept a Company Voluntary Arrangement, although there were suggestions this morning that the summit could be postponed for a second time after it was adjourned last Friday.

Ukio Bankas and UBIG, Hearts’ main creditors, are due a combined £23.7 million of the club’s £28.5m debt. Foundation of Hearts, the club’s prospective new owners, are offering £2.5 million to creditors. If and when the meeting does go ahead, a yes vote from the creditors would be the first step towards bringing Heart of Midlothian FC out of administration.

If the Foundation of Hearts wins control and manages to take the club out of administration before the end of January, Hearts will then be able to sign under-21 players until the transfer window closes at the end of that month. After that period, they will be able to sign free agents regardless of their age.

However, both Ukio Bankas and UBIG representatives need to agree to the CVA proposal, with a ‘no’ vote at the meeting sending the club back to the drawing board and potentially opening the door towards a worst-case scenario of liquidation.

The ongoing uncertainty off the park continues to cast a cloud over events on the field, but with a Scottish Cup fourth-round tie at home to Celtic on Sunday, Locke is adamant there is no chance of he or his players taking their eye off the ball.

Locke said: “It’s obviously a big week for the club and everything is gearing up for the meeting.

“We don’t know what the outcome of that will be – we’re all keeping our fingers crossed that things go our way – but the main thing for me is still the football. The club and the outcome of the meeting clearly means so much to everyone involved, from the players and the fans through to the coaches and the office staff.

“It’s hard not to think about it, but we know that our job is to take care of matters on the park. We have to make sure we do everything that we can to get a positive result this weekend and hopefully everything else will take care of itself.”