Romanov eyeing Hearts sale to fans

ESPN staff
April 3, 2013
Vladimir Romanov's reign at Hearts has seen the club plunged into serious financial trouble © Getty Images

Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov has declared he is ready to sell the club to the fans after the collapse of his business empire.

Romanov, who has owned Hearts since 2004, says he has lost everything after Lithuanian bank Ukio Bankas was placed into administration.

His ownership of the Scottish Premier League club has been a rollercoaster, from the big-spending early days when Hearts won the Scottish Cup and split Celtic and Rangers to finish second in the SPL, to troubled recent times which saw the supporters having to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to stave off a winding-up order by the tax man over an unpaid £1.75 million bill.

"All of our savings, all our companies, all of our activities were all in the bank," Romanov was quoted as saying in the Times. "We have lost it. We have a plan to sell 51% of the club to the fans. Maybe it will not happen straightaway, but we would like to realise it.

"I do not care about the price. It will be up to the administration of the club to calculate the share price. Before, the club always had losses but now they are making a tiny profit and now it does not require an injection of money."

Hearts owe £25 million to Ukio Bankas and until the bank's administrator has decided what will happen to that debt, which could take between six months and a year, the club will essentially remain in limbo.

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