Ian Murray: Hearts are so close we can touch it

Ian Murray.' Pic: Neil Hanna
Ian Murray.' Pic: Neil Hanna
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Foundation of Hearts chairman Ian Murray believes that Hearts are now within touching distance of securing their long-term survival after they overcame the last major hurdle in their battle to exit administration.

Hearts had been running desperately low on funds and administrators BDO were growing increasingly concerned about the club’s prospects, with matters in Lithuania dragging on at a worryingly slow rate.

However, there was relief all round yesterday when Ukio Bankas, Hearts’ second biggest creditor, agreed to transfer their 29.9 shareholding in the club to BIDCO 1874, the vehicle that will be used to transfer Hearts to owner-in-waiting Ann Budge.

Murray told the Evening News: “This is absolutely fantastic news. Yesterday is probably the second most important day for us – the most important day will be the day the deal is signed, sealed and delivered. I had no idea until yesterday morning that the meeting was happening – it came right out of the blue.

“I would caution against calling it a formality but all the hurdles in terms of getting agreements with the two biggest creditors are in place. We still have to get the sale and purchase agreement done. That is essentially the legal contract, which will have obligations in it for the club, the purchaser and the seller.

“People have been working on that for some months so it’s not far away but there are still clauses in it which need to be dealt with. We’re not quite there yet but we’re certainly so close now that we can touch it.”

The big question on every Hearts fan’s lips now is when Budge can officially start running the club. The exit from administration could be complete as soon as next month, if all goes to plan.

“Ann has been the pseudo chief executive for a few months now so there’s been a lot of work already going on in the background,” Murray explained. “That work will continue apace now that we’ve got the Ukio deal together.

“We’ve got the cooling-off 
period for Ubig until 28 April, so nothing can be done and dusted until then.