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Fedotovas warns that Hearts could drift back into choppy financial waters if fans do not do more to keep them going

Sergejus Fedotovas, the Hearts director, has warned that the Tynecastle club are likely to suffer further financial problems unless more supporters are willing to buy shares.

Fedotovas has asked fans to dig even deeper. Picture: Gordon Terris
Fedotovas has asked fans to dig even deeper. Picture: Gordon Terris

Hearts launched a share issue last month which has already raised £800,000 but that is due to close on December 19.

The club recently averted a winding-up order after paying Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs a £450,000 bill, while they have also settled another issue with the tax man by agreeing to pay £1.5m over three years. That was aided by players' decisions to voluntarily defer their wages last month. These are now up to date and Fedotovas confirmed yesterday that the club would be able to pay this month's wages on time.

However, he continues to paint a bleak picture of the future should fans not continue to pour money into the club, which is still facing a £1m deficit. "If we are not able to bridge the target for the share sales, the club will be in the same difficult position as we were in November but this time with no option for shares," said Fedotovas.

Around 3200 fans have already contributed to the share scheme, which was set up to raise £1.79m. "But we had 100,000 supporters celebrating in the streets of our capital city after our Scottish Cup victory in May, and have 8500 season ticket holders," added Fedotovas.

"I appreciate a lot of these people may still be reluctant to pledge their monetary support to help the club in our hour of need. If that is the case, I would urge every fan to ask themselves: 'Have I done all I can to help the club that means so much to me and people close to me?' If they are brave enough to answer 'no', then there is still time for them to act. But if they choose to wait, it may be a bad decision and there may be no return."

That warning comes in the same week that Lithuanian striker Arturas Rimkevicius, who scored 35 league goals for FK Siauliai last season, arrived at Tynecastle on trial. Hearts are serving a transfer embargo until December 23 due to delayed wage payments, but that is expected to be lifted after this month's salaries are paid in full. However, it is understood that some players are still awaiting bonus money due from their William Hill Scottish Cup triumph in May.

"It is premature to speak about any transfer business as it is never known in advance if deals will happen, particularly with staff salaries and monies due to the tax man in January," said Fedotovas. "It goes without saying that if we sell players without suitable replacements being available, our league position could suffer."

The plight at Tynecastle has caused a number of Scottish clubs to look at their own finances. Falkirk have tailored their business model in order to avoid similar financial concerns and the first division club will not make signings next month so ensure that balance is maintained.

With one of the youngest squads in British football, Steven Pressley's side have won only three of their opening league games and are already 15 points adrift of league leaders Partick Thistle. However, the Falkirk manager will not put player recruitment ahead of the club's future.

"Of the entire list of British clubs, we at Falkirk have one of the youngest playing squads and certainly, in recent weeks, the youngest starting XI," said Pressley.

"That certainly bodes well for the future, but we must continue to provide the kids with the right stabilisers such as the likes of Darren Dods and Michael McGovern but, at the same time, not compromising the future existence of this club by adopting a high-risk model which has been clearly evident at other clubs. I can confirm there are no further funds available at this time to add to the squad."

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