Hearts – “A Call To Arms” – Pay Up or the Club Dies!

Yesterday I wrote about the new HMRC petition to wind up Hearts over a tax debt in excess of £400,000.

The announcement of this, which the Hearts Board had to do if they wish to proceed with their share issue, was followed by an apocalyptically titled letter to the fans – The future of Heart of Midlothian.

It reads as follows, with my comments in bold:-

———————————————————

Today the Board of Heart of Midlothian plc is writing to you with the express wish that every supporter provides emergency backing for the club.

This is not so much a request as a necessity.

To use the words yesterday of John Robertson, one of the greatest players in this club’s history, this is a “Call to Arms”.

There is no greater need than now for supporters to invest in the club in whichever way you can, without delay. How can you do this?

 

I think it is fair to say that, as an attention-grabbing introduction, it hits the spot. In the same way as no one reading the Share Prospectus could be under any illusion about the need for the investment sought, this letter in fact suggests that the Prospectus, which made Private Fraser’s demeanour seem like that of Timmy Mallet, was a harbinger of glad, confident morning.

The club needs “emergency backing” “from every supporter”.

 

Invest in the Share Issue! Take time to look at the Share Offer brochure and give some thought to what you might be able to afford to commit to the Offer. There are risks, we know, and these are laid out clearly so be very sure this is right for you before committing but please at least consider it.

The Board cannot try to drum up interest in the share issue without pointing out the risks. As the “risks” effectively guarantee loss of the investment, there is no business case at all for investment – instead it is, if you pardon the pun, a need for the heart to triumph over the head.

 

Buy a ticket for you and a friend for the St Mirren game next weekend (Saturday 17th November KO 3pm)! We currently have 4,700 available seats for this game and we must fill the stadium for every game from now on to have any chance of avoiding future financial consequences.

To say that a sell out is needed for every match from now on is laying things out starkly. A sell out is needed “to have any chance” of avoiding financial consequences.

One might wonder about the contrast between the earlier statement yesterday and this one. That statement indicated that, with money due to Hearts, they were hopeful of reaching a payment arrangement with HMRC over the unexpected overdue £400k. That seems to have changed. Have the projections deteriorated between the two statements, or did HMRC tell Hearts that the choice was to pay up or go under?

The thing with HMRC is that, eventually, the patience snaps and repeated failure to abide by payment arrangements leads to that facility ultimately being withdrawn. It looks as if Hearts are at that point now, and saying, as they do, that they are vergens ad inopiam will not encourage HMRC to give them more time.

Hearts have 4,700 seats still free for 17th November. At best that might bring in an extra £100k? So less than ¼ of the new tax bill?

 

Buy a ticket for you and a friend for the Celtic game on 28th November. It’s always a cracking atmosphere under the floodlights at Tynecastle and we will welcome the champions for what we expect to be a cracking game. Let’s fill the stadium and help the club continue to operate.

Buy a ticket for you and a friend for the Aberdeen game on 8th December. Aberdeen has already requested additional capacity as they vie for top spot in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and this could squeeze availability for home fans. However, we want to look after our own fans and if demand from you is there, then we will make the Roseburn Stand available once again to Hearts fans.

Without the support of fans there is, as we issue this note, a real risk that Heart of Midlothian Football Club could possibly play its last game next Saturday, 17 November against St Mirren.

This isn’t a bluff, this isn’t scaremongering, this is reality.

For a football Board to state, in stark terms, that it is less than two weeks from closure is not a step to be taken lightly. The fans would be unforgiving if it was a case of crying wolf. The implication is though that HMRC is playing hardball and wants £400k in the next week and a half.

A winding up petition cannot be opposed on the basis that you want time to pay HMRC, unless the time is very short.

Taking account of the changes seen since the share prospectus, it seems that the tax bill has completely knocked all of Hearts’ projections askew.

 

Discussions on whose name is above the door, talk about how the money has been spent and debate on whether the investment in silverware has been appropriate is all natural but quite simply worthless at this moment in time.

The only valid debate now is how can you help the club. Is the club worth less than £110?

This is a very well pitched emotional appeal to the fans. Effectively the Board are saying, “You do not like how we run the club but you need to give us more money to do so, otherwise the club dies”.

It all depends, I suppose, on how scunnered the Hearts fans are with matters. If they are bloody minded, and want the Romanov regime to leave, then they might feel that the way to engineer this is to let the company be wound up, and for someone to buy the club (at the going rate of £1 perhaps) from the liquidator, so that the Maroons can rise, as a confused lawyer once sad, like a salamander from the ashes.

 

This club has been supported for the last seven years by generous funding from the majority shareholding business Ukio Banko Investicine Grupe (UBIG) and we continue to seek the support of UBIG at this stage. However, no business is immune to the financial realities of the current global economy and for this reason the club’s reliance on its supporters is greater than at any point in the last seven years.

As the share prospectus said, UBIG was not going to pull the plug this season, although the position for next was reserved. However it was also made clear that further funding from UBIG was highly unlikely to be forthcoming.

UBIG though have a choice. As creditors to the tune of £22 million, with an interest bill, accruing at over £1 million per annum, what happens to its debt if Hearts fail?

UBIG holds fixed securities over the heritable assets and a floating charge over the rest. Basically anything realised by the liquidator (as the halfway house of administration seems highly dubious) will go to pay the liquidator and then to pay UBIG in respect of its various securities.

But winding up makes the players free agents, so there is no value there. How much is Tynecastle worth and to whom?

Maybe Hearts should ask for some tips from Charles Green on how to bolster shareholder value and indeed to double turnover in a single year.

 

Our partners, our opponents, media, football bodies, many others – all are watching and judging how we will respond to the challenge. If we cannot demonstrate that we are united and we represent a force then there will be no due respect to the club from anyone around.

Without your help now, we could be entering the final days of the club’s existence. There are limited options for the Board of Directors to take to avoid the catastrophic consequences that a funding shortfall would mean for the club.

Limited options?

A             The fans stump up the cash.

B             UBIG put more money in.

C             mmmmm…..

The Board statement is right. No matter the mismanagement that some might feel there has been at Tynecastle, the only game in town is Mr Romanov. There are no Maroon Knights looking to take over to save the club. In fact, even if there were, it could only be on condition that the debt was wiped out. No one is going to pay UBIG £22 million to clear the debt, then buy their shares and then invest in the team.

As Phil Mc Giolla Bhain wrote about Rangers some time ago, what is wanted is a “stupid billionaire”. There are few billionaires in the world, and very few indeed are daft.

 

In a footballing sense alone Hearts will suffer an immediate 17-point penalty. This would just be the start of a painful process that will affect every one of us and could lead to far more damaging actions that threaten the very existence of the club.

I am not sure where the 17-point penalty comes in, but of it is liquidation, not administration, then that is game over. The issue is not a points deduction, but the removal of the team from Scottish football.

One of the tasks which Duff and Phelps successfully completed for Rangers was to have them get to the end of the season. That allowed them at least the chance of trying to stay in the SPL once the sale of the assets and business took place. Should Hearts fail to fulfil its fixtures, then even a resuscitated Hearts will have no option but to seek admission to SFL3.

 

The power is still in the hands of every Hearts supporter and for that reason we want to be as honest and transparent with you in the hope that you, too, believe that this club is worth saving.

Now please make every effort you can to take any or all of the four steps outlined above and help this great sporting institution survive.

What to do if you are a die-hard Hearts fan? Do you support them financially as asked, even though you might have little or no regard for the owners?

Would it work to call the UBIG bluff?

If Hearts go into liquidation then the liquidator can sell off the “history” of the club.

According to Wikipedia “Hearts have many A-list celebrity fans including; Stephen Hendry, Ronnie Corbett, Ken Stott, Alex Salmond and Sir Chris Hoy.”

Would any of them, or indeed a combination thereof, come together to form a Maroon Dream Team?

If it is liquidation, then the players would be lost to free agency. The ground would be in the hands of UBIG, but they might be happy to rent it out on the basis that it is one of the few ways of generating money from it.

As Mr Green has shown at Rangers, it is possible to resurrect a team, debt free, merely by buying the “assets and business” for a few pounds, and installing them in a newco. As of 10.03 pm yesterday, the name Hearts FC Ltd was available, should someone want to set up a newco.

What future do Hearts face?

A Green-like revival, a stay of execution from Mr Romanov, or a Third Lanark-esque demise?

The next few days will be very interesting indeed.

Posted by Paul McConville

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73 Comments

Filed under Football, Hearts, HMRC, Insolvency

73 responses to “Hearts – “A Call To Arms” – Pay Up or the Club Dies!

  1. Iain Macleod

    Paul, good article in the main but a couple of points if I may. The “Share Prospectus” just isn’t – within the first few paragraphs it is made clear that the document isn’t a Share Prospectus, it’s a Financial Promotion. The document also makes it very, very clear that this isn’t an investment opportunity and buyers should be prepared to lose all of their money. So, up front, the document is saying, give us a non-returnable donation and we’ll provide you with a certificate”.

    I also queried the 17 point deduction and I was told by a senior executive at the club that, according to new SPL rules introduced after the Rangers fiasco, that the points deduction for Administration will now be a third of the total points amassed by the club in the previous season. Bonkers, I know – the suggestion of a club in that situation throwing games must be a strong possibility but this is the SPL after all.

    There is a “third way” rather than your option C above but it appears to be under some kind of masonic cloak of secrecy.

    Keep up the good work – loving your blog.

    • Thisblogisrequiredreading

      Is it now safe to return to the subject named in the title?
      Years ago I concluded that Vladimir Romanov was the worst thing to happen to Scottish Football – my views have changed. A man who openly treated the club he acquired as his personal plaything, and at the same time covered his ‘investment‘ by taking a charge over a valuable city centre plot of land. He indulged himself with a real football team to play with, and at the same time enjoyed the safety net of a valuable (and perhaps appreciating) property play.
      Of course the economy tanked and he grew tired of the football team, but here the man’s genius became apparent, and you can only stand back and admire his style.
      Without ever appearing here in person, he has had appeals issued for the ‘fans‘ of this football team, to get him out of the hole he has created for himself by ignoring the demands of HMRC.
      As we now know the populace around Gorgie way are falling over themselves to ‘save their team‘ and also of course Vlad himself. But there is more, the blackmail (or appeal) has also caught the attention of politicians locally, and nationally, that is those down Holyrood way. Both past and former politicians are now calling in unison for HMRC to back off and be reasonable in order to save what is now classed as a national institution.
      There can be no doubt that Vlad is a genius, having orchestrated from afar a mechanism where ordinary citizens and their government pledge their own funds to meet his unpaid taxes. The beauty of it is that it’s all under the guise of ‘saving an institution and national icon.
      I am in awe of what the man has achieved without even appearing here in person. The utterances of our politicians during this debacle (and the Rangers Tax Case) lead me to believe that if he are to have an Independent Scotland, then Vlad should be invited to be our very own Great Leader. Think of it, his Bank could also run our Treasury. Our home grown politicians are too abject to even run a chip shop, but with Vlad leading us we could conquer the world.
      Related question for Paul – is it legal for so called Accountants to publicly question the financial health of several clubs? Presumably this sort of scaremongering would not be permitted if publicly quoted Companies were involved.

  2. JohnBhoy

    Victor Wanyama, Victor Wanayaaaama, Victor Wanyama, Wanyama, Wanyama, Whoa, Oh…

    Just back from the game! Whit a night!! Cannae help singing.

    Tony Watt, Tony Tony Waaatt…

    • andrakeith

      Please, could this comment be any more inappropriate. Where is the moderation. There are surely better places for this kind of comment than an excellent and sober reflection on the probable demise of one of Scotland’s most famous clubs.

      Mind you, it was a fantastic result………..

      • @ andrakeith

        To be fair I doubt if JohnBhoy was sober or even new what post he was on – hard to see the ground when you are cruising at 30,000 ft on Cloud 9 🙂

        But you are totally correct, it is a terrible time for Hearts and Scottish Football and I know how often I felt totally powerless in the face of events when Celtic was facing the same meltdown. We were lucky as we got Wee Fergus.

        I only hope for Hearts and all the jambos that some solution can be found.

      • JohnBhoy

        @Andrakeith

        Just tumbled out of bed and read your ungracious comment on my celebratory post. You ask if my post could have been more inappropriate. Actually, yes. I could have written, quite comfortably, about Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem or DH Lawrence’s qualities as a poet or Frida Kahlo’s contribution to Mexican culture.

        Instead, my post encapsulated the euphoria that a football fan can experience when his team achieves an historic victory over arguably the best club team in the world. A success story realised through honest endeavour by a club that pays its taxes, honours its charitable origins, is open to all religions and none, does not threaten other clubs, lives within its means, and is not run by either a shyster looking to make a fast buck or a crook using his club for money laundering purposes.

        In life there are occasions when unbridled joy cannot be contained. Trumpets must be sounded, bells must be rung, and to hell with “appropriateness” and “moderation”. You must be from Edinburgh. And, yes, I’ve had my tea.

    • Mick

      At Andrew johns well liked and is a prolific commenter and joins in the debate regular a would like to think as bloggers they can update what they done and how they are feeling a think you hate Celtic and are a bigoted and you attacked the site as you are gutted Celtic beat barca let’s hope the big tax bomb comes this week as we’ll lol

  3. Jono

    Interestingly, The forum boards and twiiter comments from TRCF fans don’t provide much support or sympathy for Hearts, in fact often the reverse, a gloating at the fist step of a crumbling SPL. Taken with your previous post on the CRO judging panel, I am really dismayed that TRFC support are still lashing out angrily. I really thought that heat was dropping slowly but surely.

    Let’s hope at least the same process, allowances and penalties for Hearts are applied, and that SPL & SFA are seen to be consistent, maybe that will take us forward a bit at least.

  4. Carl 31

    The guy sitting opposite me now is a Hearts fan. I just asked him a few minutes ago when he would be putting money in to save his club, and how? He replied, ‘Whats the point? Its not a viable business.’

    If this ‘wisdom’ is shared among many fans of Hearts, I’m afraid its curtains.

  5. charliedon

    Tut tut JohnBhoy, this blog is about the travails of Hearts, so you could at least include a token comment in that direction!
    It would seem to me that Hearts fans would be wasting their money investing in the current set up. Their cash will undoubtedly disappear quickly down a black hole. The more sensible route would appear to be the Sevco one, try to set up a consortium to buy the assets as cheaply as possible, start again at the bottom and hope to rebuild their fine old club on a sounder footing.
    And, well done to the Celts last night for a wonderful achievement and doing themselves and Scotland proud.

  6. You would think football club owners would have twigged by now, particularly after watching the fun and games over in Glasgow. What the Hearts owner needs to do is to offer something in return – say, 15% stake in the club and a seat on the board?

    It still amazes me they can just expect the fans to pony up – even after years of basically treating those fans like dirt. Of course, no lender could have been swayed by the ‘pay us or we go bust’ cry, so why expect your fans to?

    It seems to me that for some clubs this is the only future – if the only people ready to accept the financial problems of running a football club are its fans, then give the fans some control over the club. Or better still, make them not-for-profit community clubs that belong to that community, brining them right back to their roots in the first place.

    Those that can be run as businesses – run them as businesses.

  7. Hibernian Go Bragh

    Wallace Mercer can now rest happy. Edinburgh will soon be a one team city. YeeeeeHaaaaa!!!!!!! 🙂

  8. Mick

    A know hearts are classed as the wee sevco but a feel there a true establishment club worth saving the fact that there whole team went to war and perished in trenches and there fans prove this on the other hand the sevco were hissing in the ship yards a hope they do survive for this reason alone All the hearts lads gave there life’s for freedom while sevco hid shitting it in ship yards

  9. john

    Just do what Rangers did ,,,, go into ADMIN or Liquidation and the very next day open up as one and not the same in Div 3 debt free… HMRC are owed a paltry sum in comparison to Ibroxs outstanding …
    I dont get how clubs think they can get away with not paying tax its incredible…. funny how CO present incumbent in south side of Glasgow was employed by both clubs failing to honour taxes… he will have paid a pound for his poppy no doubt …

  10. spurtle

    Reblogged this on spurtle and commented:
    “they might feel that the way to engineer this is to let the company be wound up, and for someone to buy the club (at the going rate of £1 perhaps) from the liquidator, so that the Maroons can rise, as a confused lawyer once sad, like a salamander from the ashes.”
    I feel that this is the way forward for the Jambos. Meanwhile, from a DFC-supporting perspective, it appears that we are to be thrown an SPL lifeline (every cloud….) Sorry Jam Tarts, you have challenging times ahead, but Hearts will survive in one form or another.

  11. robertg

    You have to figure that the land Tynecastle sits on would generate a hefty sum as a residential redevelopment site for somebody, so Vlad would get a chunk back by liquidating.

    I used – many years ago – to share a flat with a couple of guys who were Hearts fans and to be fair whole the Hearts fans don’t like Celtic, my experience was that they have a pretty much equal dislike for Sevco and – at the time obviously – its predecessor.

    However, as John notes it is interesting that the teams of the Poppy bigots are both taking a fall for failing to pay tax.

    • @ robertg

      As I said to John I really fail to see what the wearing of poppies or not by football supporters has got to do with the management/ownership of a club paying its taxes or not.

      It obviously has a place in its own discussion but IMHO has no place in this one.

  12. @ Mick

    I really feel you haven’t thought this through – Rangers fans during WW11 & WW11 gave their life for ideals they believed in. Not necessarily for King & Country but for many it was to build a better world and to preserve freedom in other countries as well as our own. And that went for the vast majority in the country whether they were football fans or not.

    Working in the shipyards, as in other industries like agriculture and mining, was absolutely essential for our survival as a nation as we needed warships and also merchant ships especially because of the horrendous tonnage being sunk by U-Boats.

    Many workers in these ‘reserved occupations’ had no choice they simply weren’t allowed to go and fight because their engineering skills were more useful to the war effort building and repairing ships. Even people who signed up to fight were drafted down the mines and you might have heard of the Bevan Boys in this regard.

    The cowards who shirked their duty are beneath contempt but their lack of moral fibre had nothing to do with the football club they supported but to do with their failing as human beings.

    And then they were those who on religious and moral grounds could not, in all conscience, kill another human being but many of them did dangerous work such as mine clearance and treating wounded soldiers.

    • Budweiser

      @Ecojon
      Whilst I don’t agree with Mick that all the shipbuilding workers were cowards, the situation at the time meant that you weren’t likely, during the 30’s and early 40,s, to have a skilled engineering job in the shipyards or any large engineering concern.outwith the east end of Glasgow if you were a catholic. Most catholics would at the time have been in unreserved occupations imo. and therefore would have been drafted disproportionally.
      I don’t have figures for the above, and base my observations purely on anecdotal experience and memories during the 60’s, and would be happily corrected.

  13. michael burt

    Glasgow is green & white
    Edinburgh may soon be green & white

  14. I am afraid they lost any sympathy they had from Hibs fans when Mercer tried to destroy Hibernian. Their ‘big team/ wee team’ head in the clouds attitude, their ‘Hibees’ are Gay and ‘Peg seller’ Chants, their spending of money they didn’t have to win cups and baubles, their accusations of hobonomics when we tried to point out the failings in the arithmetic and their operations and their all round arrogance has this week come home to roost.

    I have many friends and family that are Hearts fans, bar the odd one, they have all rubbed our noses in their (artificial) success.

    Mercer’s dream has come true, there will be one team in Edinburgh, a team in green, Hibernian.

    Goodbye Hearts, you won’t be missed.

  15. JimBhoy

    Well i for one hope the Jambos get their act together and survive and prosper. Been to many games at celtic park where they have been probably the worst set of visiting fans (apart from one) but for the sake of Scottish football i wish them all the best.

    With Mad Vlad it really has only been a matter of time before they hit something serious financially.

    I think this may just be the truer reflection of how things are at the club. Vlad had a bunch of players from Kaunus and decided they didn’t need to pay their UK tax bill on their full salary. Guys in his position know the loopholes, that’s how they gain their wealth.. Frankly it disgusts me that I can pay more tax than millionaires who know how to hide their true earnings.

    I would think the rangers fans are attributing the financial plight of Hearts to them not being around in the SPL.. Thumbs down coming no doubt for that statement..

    • WOW ma heid!! still splittin…and very well deserved.

      anyway, HMFC have been in financial difficulties for literally generations personally when I worked in the Scottish legal system I used to visit Tynecastle more regularly than some players to “address outstanding ” liabilities to both HMRC and C&E along with Business rates.

      I am sure that the payment plans that were in place 30yrs ago have consistently been reviewed and broken under current and past managements.

      HMFC are in a difficult place now as MAD Vlad is in total control. The basic mindset in Eastern Europe is displayed in his “offer”. Believe me he will close the doors. No em

      I doubt any fans will or should offer charity to him at least not on a scale that will make any difference.

      Supporters trust and maroon knight on the resurrected company/club sevco style will be the only way forward/back.

      He has publically stated that he will no longer fund the club and wants a buyer to come in but the fact that he has it structured in such a way that the club will need to have his permission to play at tynecastle so more changes to be considered around.

      A recent posting on Scottish Football Monitor gave details on the financial viability of the clubs with net assets etc in simple format.

      Hearts, old RFC, Kilmarnock and Motherwell were all clubs guilty of padding out the ground/asset book valuations to remain “viable” . Clearly, even from a non accountant, the businesses were not vialble and trading on overdrafts and literally living hand to mouth week by week if not day by day.

      The SFA remain the main problem here when they accept anyones word on the basis of accounting records.

      Fit and proper checks should be completed comprehensively by the SFA as is their legal duty to ALL memeber clubs and the supporters of all clubs. Uefa should be more closely monitoring them but personally as changes are happening in clubs its now long overdue for the changes to be blown through hampden as well.

      While clubs like St Johnstone and Ross County and to a lesser extent Hibs have all played by the financial rules currently required by the SFA they also have conducted themselves with good business decisions and practises to the potential lack of success on field and wrath of their fans.

      This is the start of several other clubs coming unstuck, but please do not be confused that “its something to do with rangers” its been there for a long time and now the revenue are playing hard ball without compromise.

      The question should be asked of SFA , how and why have HMFC been allowed to amass this 500k debt to HMRC without declaring this to SFA. As i understand it clubs are required to declare that all taxes etc are paid up to date, ( I may be wrong in this), but what good are these checks and balances if they are lies and not ACTUALLY phyiscally checked and verified.

      I hope for the sake of HMFC supporters that they survive but in a new format free from the recent buddying up to RFC/Sevco traits and also from tyrannical ownership.

      My parents were both life long HMFC supporters and for there memory alone I hope a solution can be found.

      Ps saints, hibs and Ross have all had a fantastic start to a highly competative league and all this without rangers ……….no one team makes up the Scottish leagues and they should ALL remember that, I look forward to the days soon when the likes of Hibs and Saints can demonstrate in the group stages the same gritty and professional performance of my own team last night, made up with “minnow” players and on realistic wages.

  16. JimBhoy

    I am guessing we will be seeing a lot more Hibees posting on here.. 🙂

  17. Jim, we have been enjoying the demise of Sevco through this blog, this is icing on the salt and sauce dressed cake for Edinburgh’s Greens.

  18. JimBhoy

    A tenuous link to football in Edinburgh…. The guy who writes this may need to watch himself or he may find himself on Agent Orange or Leggo’s timmy hitlist… He shares a name with the Celtic owner therefore he must be a threat to the rangers cause. Many TD’s plz.. 🙂

    http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/blogs/desmond-kane/celtic-passion-play-inspired-unique-set-fans-111832417.html

  19. @ JimBhoy

    Nice piece – he might be a double agent though as he’s been working as a journo in the Middle East 🙂

  20. JimBhoy

    @ecojon maybe he is in chico’s consortium

  21. mcfc

    I see Mr Traynor (The Voice of Scottish football) has missed another biggish story in Scottish football today.

    By focussing on the sad travails of Hearts – which will be news for days/weeks to come – he has managed to avoid writing a balanced piece celebrating the unexpected success of his nemesis.

    He must be damming those Catalan’s after spending all week perfecting that piece on how CFC were humiliated by the Spanish Rangers (yeah bit of a stretch, but no more than some of this other nonsense)
    Well done Celtic – fantastic result.

    PS
    Does anyone have Neil’s mobile number – my mate Roberto has been told to beat Real Madrid AND Borussia Dortmund or take a hike. Any help would be gratefully received – any chance he could borrow/buy your team for 21st Nov.

    • ecojon

      @ mcfc

      I think what was relatively poor MSM coverage of the Celtic Triumph in today’s papers was because I they had all prepared for a Celtic defeat. Everything would have been laid-out – all the agonising pics and stories over the years describing Celtic’s ‘glorious’ defeats in Europe.

      Perfect way of putting Celtic to the sword and being able to get away with any accusations of bias. I just wonder at what point the realisation struck home on the editorial floors that they had a problem – 2nd goal? Probably not even then because they had nailed their colours to the Barcelona mast and surely they would win no probs?

      Well as we all know – the schemes of mice and men gang aft agley – and it certainly was well agley for some last night although the Celtic tribe seemed to be quite happy 🙂

      However, the poor covereage and the likes o’ the Shandy pi** will see more and more Celtic fans cease buying these newspapers. We don’t need to organise boycotts or threaten papers with the. The Celtic-minded know instinctively the action to take and if the MSM ain’t interested in our club then we ain’t interested in them.

      • mcfc

        @eco

        spot on – I bet they’d nearly started the presses before the reality sank in. They could always do a Sevco Delusion Edition – where Celtic lost 7-0 prompting comparisons with Alloa. Could be a big seller – free double page pull-out and keep collector’s share certificate centerfold.

  22. As I said yesterday, elsewhere, I am a Hearts fan. I can easily afford to give Hearts £100 and a lot more, but I will not be doing so. Hearts have, for years, been run like a personal toy of Mr Romanov. He has brought in a string of overpriced non-entities at eye-watering salaries. This all looked sustainable because Mr Romanov was a billionaire and I, like many others, turned a blind eye. He went through managers like a whore through condoms. The staff roster became bloated, but he was a billionaire. Now, he has lost interest and we all know what happens when he loses interest:

    Wikipedia

    “Romanov is the owner of the Lithuanian Premier League basketball club and Euroleague participant BC Žalgiris since May 2009, through Lithuanian bank Ūkio bankas.[2][3] He made numerous controversial decisions including sacking head coaches one by one, most famously firing head coach Darius Maskoliūnas in the middle of LKL finals series, players had to draw their own tactic schemes and making substitutions, which resulted in losses to the rivals Lietuvos Rytas in decisive games. Before 2010–11 season started, Zalgiris have purchased several high profile players and a new head coach. In the first half of the season Zalgiris was consistent, which led to impressive victories in all tournaments. After a positive start that hadn’t been seen for years, Vladimir Romanov once again shocked the entire country by firing head coach Aco Petrovic, which resulted in a series of losses and Mirza Begić’s decision to leave the team. During the 2011–12 season, Romanov fired two other Žalgiris coaches – head coach Elias Zouros and his assistant coach.[33]”

    Sound familiar.

    My reading of this is that if Hearts fans stump up the cash, Mr Romanov will continue in his own way. He will continue to test the authorities resolve by late payment of wages, tax and other costs. He will continue to issue statements which are risible and he will continue to embarrass the supporters and the club. He was once a saviour, but now he is just an obstacle to getting what Hearts need, control in the hands of the fans OR a benevolent billionaire. But, I do not rule out that all this is some strange game to ‘bluff’ Hearts fans into making a donation. Mr Romanov, may not be as wealthy as once he was, but he can still afford £400k to stave off HMRC and who knows, the bigger tax problem might resolve itself.

    If the worst happens and Hearts do go into liquidation, I hope we do so with a lot more dignity than Rangers did. I would be content for them to go to SFL 3 and try and work their way back with youth. Ground sharing might be a problem as I don’t suppose Easter Road would be a starter, but Murrayfield might work or Livingstone and we could finally end up with a decent stadium on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

    By the way, to the Hibs fans who posted about there being only one team in Edinburgh, that is so at the moment – Hibs are in Leith, which, if you ask anyone from there, is not in Edinburgh.

  23. JimBhoy

    @Violet Carson Maybe he (Romanov) had wealth off the Sonar !!! 🙂

  24. John Burns

    Traynor so quick off the mark to tie the Hearts story to his beloved Sevco. His domino theory is so much ‘tosh’, Hearts current predicament has nothing whatsoever to do do with the Rangers brand ‘crap’.

    I hope Hearts get out of this, I am sure they will!!

    By the way, I am told that Celtic is very interested in Hearts’ Novikovas; maybe a deal can be done for January, with the money upfront now!!!

    Celtic can afford it and it would be a magnanimous gesture and a ‘skelp’ in the face for Sevco.

  25. EXCELLENT ARTICLE PAUL, BILLY MCNEILL SAID MANY YEARS AGO ( centenary season i believe) theirs a fiarytalestory about CELTIC FC, unfortunately for hearts and rangers/sevco,it would seen to be a HAMMER FILM PRODUCTION ENDING FOR THESE TWO BUNNISH CLUBS,NO TEARS FOR EITHER OF THEM THEY ARE THE SCUM OF SCOTTISH FOOTBALL IN THE EYES OF MANY DECENT FOOTBALLING FANS UP AND DOWN THE COUNTRY,THE SOONER THEY GO TAE THE WA’ OR THE 3RD DIV THE BETTER, THE SFL WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS ALTHOUGH THEIR FANS WILL NOT BE WELCOME ANYWHERE NUFF SAID GOOD RIDDENSE TO THEM

  26. charliedon

    Jabba’s latest piece of nonsense was, sadly, entirely predictable. You could guess he just couldn’t wait for the first SPL club to get into difficulties so he could link it to Rangers’ demise in a pathetic attempt to justify his previous “armageddon” fantasies.
    Of course, it is obvious to any observer possessing an ounce of logic that Hearts’ problems have absolutely nothing to do with the Rangers situation. It would have happened with or without Rangers in the SPL and, indeed, very shortly into Mr Romanov’s tenure it had become obvious it would all end in tears for Hearts; it was just a matter of time. Personally, I have doubts it was ever only about the football for Romanov and i have long suspected that there was some devious financial agenda.
    Jabba indulges in some further straw-grasping by quoting Dunfermline’s troubles. They are not in the SPL and entirely unaffected by the Rangers issue. Surely someone in the Daily Record will take to task this very poor excuse for a journalist?

    • John Burns

      Agree, of course, entirely – really Traynor is being allowed to run a Rangers brand propaganda column in one the country’s best-selling newspapers.

      If he was doing it on a blog, a la that Leggo ‘nutter’ then fine, but how the heck is the editor of the DR allowing this totally biased column to ‘shout’ the Sevco case day in, and day out, and link it to every, and any, story surrounding Scottish football.

      To add insult to injury he is employed using taxpayers’ money on the BBC; the same taxpayers that his beloved team defrauded to the tune of £90 million.

      Finally, let’s hope we don’t have to see a story by him on Celtic’s latest victory – WE DON’T NEED IT, AND WE DON’T WANT IT, FROM YOU TRAYNOR!!!

  27. mick

    @maggie the other day we were discussing men crying and look its scotlands finest celeb doing it

    • Maggie

      @mick
      Maybe he was reading Of Mice and Men during the boring parts of the game. Lol 🙂
      Celtic have the best celeb fans ever.

  28. mick

    since your names maggie and were chatting about rod a thought it only fitting to play this enjoy

  29. mick

    this is my fav by rod

    • Maggie

      @mick
      It’s one of the few songs by Rod that I actively dislike.I know most fans love it.I would be reluctant to choose a favourite,but I really love
      Downtown Train.

      • JohnBhoy

        Fond of Rod’s music – the album Every Picture Tells a Story is a classic – but IMHO Tom Waits does a better version of Downtown Train.

        • mick

          @jom east end trian lol

        • Maggie

          @JohnBhoy
          A classic album,Rod’s best. Mortified to say John, that while I’m aware that Tom Waits wrote Downtown Train, I’ve never actually heard him
          singing it. I’ll get onto You Tube asap.

          • Maggie

            @JohnBhoy
            This is completely apropos of nothing,well there’s a tenuous link in
            that we were talking bout great artists ( not Phil Collins obviously )
            What about Tom Petty? with the Heartbreakers or Travelling Wilburys
            or by himself.Amazing or what?

            • JohnBhoy

              Listen to him regularly. Saw him yonks ago with the Heartbreakers as support act to David Bowie at the Green’s Playhouse. Over the years I sort of took him for granted but on reflection he’s influenced a lot of groups. So started listening to him again.

            • Maggie

              @JohnBhoy
              Like you have,I been a fan,but let him slip off the radar a bit until my
              kids discovered him.
              There was a fantastic documentary on BBC4 one Friday night a few months ago called Runnin Down A Dream,directed by Peter Bogdanovich
              It was about 4 hours long,but riveting.The best programme in the genre I’ve ever seen. What a guy! What a voice! What a talent! What a songwriter! You’re absolutely correct about his influence.Have never been fortunate enough to see him in concert,missed him by a day one time in the U.S. If you’re a fan you’ll love it,anyone who isn’t,will be after seeing it.

  30. mick

    a would just like to say to all hearts fans nothing is impossible look at last night heres a we tune for yous

  31. JohnBhoy

    @mick
    Oor mick knows how to bring a tear to your eye. Peerless.

  32. mick

    a was just flicking throw looking for a video of a song for hearts and after hearing this up to there knees a hope they go bust and and a supermarket is put in its place com on mad vlad shut them down

  33. mick

    let them die there grand kids will be hibs fans lol

  34. SPORTSFANNZ

    Haven’t we learnt anything from the former Glasgow Rangers saga ?
    If Hearts owe a mere £400,000 (peanuts when compared to the former Glasgow Rangers) then surely all they need to stave off the HMRC action is a loan through to the next transfer window, sell a player(s) and pay back the loan. There should be no risk of liquidation unless the total debts exceed the asset base. So the question is … is this cashflow issue (with scaremongering being used to try to bring in extra finance) or a more underlying issue of a business which is running at an unsustainable loss ?
    The former Glasgow Rangers cheated its creditors by trying to continue when it clearly couldn’t – it could have realised millions for its creditors by selling the players but didn’t want to lose its on field strength – thinking that it would be bailed out and debts written off with a slap on the wrist. Hearts should see that the overall mood has changed with football clubs writing off debt and should act like any normal business would in the circumstances.

  35. flump

    Am a Dee, I bought a Jambo garden gnome from the clubs online shop yesterday, looks like will have to buy more gnomes to help them out, just can’t see where else we can pick up 6 points so easily.

  36. mick

    @every1 what we have to remember is soccer is a business and were in a bad recession old dead rfc started the trend of pumping money in to the team to win success all the other clubs followed suit and instead of banking money wisely and creating good infrasructure it good wasted on highly paid players which were perinial heros ,celtic had the resorces via numbers of bums on seats and good business managers in place to guide things so it was ok for us ,the financial doping has ruined the whole of scotlands clubs in some shape or form mad vlad is a crook in a suit his dealings with the BVI banks prove this and hes secrective a lack of msm investigations agian may kill a club here .bottom line souness and murray killed our game for years with financial doping and now we are paying the consequences theres rumours 6 other clubs could follow suit ,if so then so be it its a bussiness and its dog eat dog the fans will have to support another team just like if your favirote pub shuts then you will end up going to the next nearest ,if all the bigger clubs go bust then the smaller teams will benifit thats capitalism and thats the way the cookie crumbles comets dead woolworths dead rfc dead jjb dead hearts ??? next to die its the laws of consumerism its sad but true unless its state funded its at risk as in business its all about profit and a cant see mad vlad throwing cash at a business that bleeds money left right and center he has probably been sending money off shore for when this happens so he made something and he.ll get a good deal for the land ,fixed cost viarible cost profit the last being the most important ,its simple economics its game over no 1 just now in uncertian times will buy them ,its similair to rfc downfall as they over spent to boost there cheast at hibs fans massive under tones of bigotery were better than you child like snobbery ,now the hearts will die and hibs while live on lol how cools that for hibs 2 in the league to so its win win for them , as proven last night you cant buy success NLproved it agiast barca 50thou was the price paid for tony watt 650,000 for larrson ,its like the old saying never judge a book by its cover ,your naighbour with the new windows flash car and sunny holidays all year is actually starveing and not as glittziy as you think its called being caught up in consumerism it all ends in tears and and the suits and divide end holders walk away laughing ,if you think back to the latter part of the last century harry enfield wave your wad to the gezzer in the gutter ,sick that saying but this is were all the trouble were in is derived via the thatcher yuppie dog eat dog types without one inch of social consious sharks like green whyte and vlad fit this bill ,we went as a nation from being humble and content to dealing drugs to our nieghbours kids for money to buy nike and diamonds and flats were lawyers and police live ,a generation down the line were cutting police nurses teachers struggleing banks calapseing its mad ,i for 1 live within my means and make every penny a prisoner a saw what thatcher was up to and seen right throw it ,bottom line here and thats all that counts is business and sport dont mix well only for a few ,also business is curupt and when in sport it rubs of its shocking

  37. mick

    the big question tonight is why is vlad so secretive with the figures as stated with christian aid report ??? is he about to pull the plug to make a quick buck via liquidation was his plan to fleece then liquidate (will hearts fans shop and buy houses at the tynecastle developement ???no but a bet the hibs will its a win win for big business

  38. prohibby

    As a Hibs supporter from childhood, I have to say that the thrashing we received in the Scottish Cup final still hurts, much as that ‘7 – something’ result on new year’s day nineteencanteen must have hurt Jambo fans. Despite constantly having had our noses rubbbed in ‘it by the Gorgie crowd, I for one do not want to see the club disappear. I firmly believe that Scottish football would be much the poorer for Hearts folding, though the disappearance of Romanov would greatly benefit the game.

    Scottish football clubs and fans must by now surely recognise that bitterness, vindictiveness, intolerance and hate only harm the game. Now is a time when all followers of the game should recognise that a club with a proud history of achievement through honest endeavor and fair play are too important to be allowed to go under. Bar a moronic minority, Hearts and their fans are such a club – and besides there’s that cup tie coming up when a wee bit revenge would be most welcome.

    • Agreed prohibby,

      I wish that the club would rid its self of the bigger minority that holds sway over it along with Ronanov. If that happened then I would support any legal and fair means of retaining the club survival where it be in SPL or Div 3.

      Food for thought, imagine Chucky Green dream of the master league emerging because all the current SPL clubs end up in Div 3, ……..fanatsy or reality?

  39. Prohibby, do you get to many games anymore? To talk of small minorities, pride, honest endeavour and the game being poorer should Hearts fold, you seem to miss the obvious. Their fans beligerence, hatred and sectarianism coupled with their buying of ‘success’ have changed me from being ambivalent about their tawdry club to outright dislike for them and everything they purport to stand for. This Hibby won’t miss them one bit

  40. Fraser

    Nice comment on the Herald’s latest piece on Hearts:
    “So, let me get this straight. People on low incomes will donate money to a club who employ people on high incomes and to add insult to this the owners are banks.”

    The best thing Hearts fans can do right now is NOT give a single penny to their club, NOT buy shares and NOT buy tickets for the next few games. This means the company that runs Hearts will go bust and the club will likely fall out of the league or even out of existence for a while. But at least Romanov will have lost a lot of money and will no longer have any control over your club. He doesn’t want it any more anyway, and if you leave it up to him he will sell Tynecastle from under you, clear most of his debt and walk away little the worse for his failed experiment. If you think he deserves that for buying you a couple of trophies with taxpayers’ money then hell mend you and I hope you never come back from the wilderness you will inherit.

    If on the other hand you screw the kleptocratic sociopath then you will have done yourselves and, belatedly, the rest of Scottish football a favour. Hearts aside the SPL is now largely a level playing field with all 12 clubs more or less subsisting on their own honest income with budgets dictated by the number of punters they can entice through the turnstiles. The benefits of that are plain with the closest competition for many years and gates rising despite the continuing recession.

    If you gift Romanov any more money you are effectively saying that you approve of his systematic strategy of witholding tax to fund the lavish salaries of players in order to win trophies. If that’s what you choose then you are no better than Rangers and deserve no sympathy from anyone (except the likes of Ally McCoist, I note). If that’s what you choose then you can have your 5-1, your 110 years, your 30-odd in a row, your big-team-wee-team playground jibes. You can have your lifetime of lie-dreams and you can ram them all up your soon-to-be extinct arseholes.

  41. Doc

    You clearly are far more knowledgeable about such legal/board room/share matters than i will ever be but is ther any way to buy shares in hearts and get my £ back if they do not reach the required investment and go to the wall or would shareholders become creditors and get pence/pound back?

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