Those asking for their trust this time, though, are the Foundation of Hearts, the co-operative hoping to lead the club out of administration. Having bettered an offer from Angelo Massone's Five Stars Football Ltd to be awarded preferred bidder status by administrators BDO, yesterday was deemed an appropriate time to put more meat on the bones as regards their plans.
The objective is the club will be sustained by monthly contributions from supporters - around 6700 have signed up so far - who in turn would be given a say in how the club is run along the principle of one member, one vote. To get to that juncture, however, the Foundation need some help. They need the Lithuanian administrators of Ukio Bankas, who hold the floating charge over the assets at Tynecastle, and UBIG, once their liquidator is appointed, to look favourably on the Foundation's proposals if a Company Voluntary Agreement is to be accepted. Ukio's administrator had poured scorn on the bids but their backing of the Foundation as preferred bidder is being seen by that camp as a nod of endorsement. The Foundation also need money up front. Fans' direct debits, starting at £10 a month, will provide working capital but to be able to make an offer to put to the creditors, they need a lump of cash at the start. This is where the element of the unknown comes in.
Buying the club will be a group called BIDCO. They will then enter into a binding contract to deliver majority ownership eventually to FANCO, effectively the Foundation, for no personal gain beyond interest payments on their investment. Who is behind BIDCO, however, remains a mystery. A statement yesterday said they were "backed by Edinburgh business" while Ian Murray MP, the Foundation's chairman, respecting the group's wish for anonymity, would add only that they were Hearts-minded individuals looking for nothing more than to see the club's future secured.
There is little reason to doubt Murray or the Foundation - fans are the one group in football whose motives never need questioned - but the secrecy may sit uneasily with some. Murray, though, felt it was the best way forward. "You can't buy a club with direct debits, regardless of how many you have," he said. "There was always going to have to be a capitalisation of that revenue. We now have a partnership between an organisation that has the revenue in the supporters, and Hearts-minded Edinburgh business that has the capital to be able to purchase the club. The contract between these two will be watertight in the sense that they now can't sell it to anyone but the fans. The transitional period will be over a period that allows the club to be stable financially."
And as for the identity of those involved? "They are saying that they don't want to be named at this stage," he added. "That is perfectly understandable. But we have been with them for a long time and they are putting up capital to no personal gain. The beauty of this particular deal is that it is a bit of a dragons den scenario: not only do we get the capital up front, we also get the business expertise as well. I think having football professionals at this club, strong Edinburgh expertise and the partnership with the fans gives us the best of all worlds. And it keeps the assets, the stadium and the club, together as well."
All investors would satisfy any 'fit and proper person' tests, something that could not be said for Massone given the difficulties he endured at Livingston. Murray revealed there had been no formal approach from the Italian to work together but that it would not have been welcomed if there had been.
"Nobody was in touch to have any discussions and our board made a decision very early on that we would not have those discussions because to deliver a CVA you have to deliver all the elements. And that [fit and proper persons] would have been undeliverable."
Murray hopes anyone looking to profit from letting Hearts sink into liquidation would be aware of the pitfalls. "There are the financial hurdles: will someone want to buy it in the current climate? There are the planning hurdles: we have the ethanol tanks across the way. We've also got difficulties around whether or not you could build flats and there are also the reputational difficulties.
"If anybody has the money to be able to do all of that I'm sure they are looking at other opportunities far easier than trying to liquidate a club, an institution, buy the property, go through the planning process, potentially reputation damage and then the economic circumstances of whether or not you can sell the things. There are a lot of imponderables that people have to realise in terms of whether or not this stays as a going concern."