Football - Fans' group questions club's worth

The MP leading a fan-backed bid to buy Hearts claims the cash-strapped club is virtually "worthless".

PA Sport
Football - Fans' group questions club's worth
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Hearts were handed a transfer embargo by the Scottish Premier League on Friday

The Tynecastle club was on Friday hit with an immediate transfer embargo by the Scottish Premier League after admitting they could not afford to pay their players.

The news came just 24 hours after the Gorgie board released a statement saying they had entered a "critical" stage in their battle to pay off debts of £25million as well as financing tax and running costs. The entire Jambos squad was put up for sale in a desperate bid to raise the reported £500,000 needed to see the club through to the start of the new season.

Politician Ian Murray is leading the Foundation of Hearts supporters' group who hope to buy the club. But the Labour man admits the current situation at UBIG - which owns a 50 per cent stake in the club - and 29.9 per cent shareholder Ukio Bankas has "muddied the waters".

Both firms were formerly controlled by Vladimir Romanov but are now in the midst of being declared insolvent by Kaunas-based authorities. Ukio Bankas - which lost an appeal against liquidation on Wednesday - is due £15million by Hearts, who also owe another £10million to UBIG.

But Murray, who addressed 300 fans at Tynecastle meeting on Friday night, insists the desperate nature of Hearts and their Lithuanian owners' balance sheets could work in his group's favour.

The FoH have already signed up more than 4,000 fans pledging between £10 and £100 a month to back their effort and hope to lodge an offer by the end of June.

Murray told Press Association Sport: "Given Thursday's statement and the club accounts, it's quite clear there is an ongoing annual funding gap at the club that is quite substantial. That obviously has an effect on what the club is worth and I would go as far to ask whether the club is worth anything?

"From a hard-nosed business outlook, the club only has value in terms of its history, its share in the SPL and the assets that it holds. But given the funding gap it is only really worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

"From a FoH point of view, though, we are in a better shape than we have ever been. We have more than 4,000 fans pledging cash to us and we are ready to go."

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