Hearts Ask Fans To Save The Club

Hearts has been served with a winding-up order over a tax bill of almost £450,000.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) submitted the petition in the Court of Session in Edinburgh. Hearts said it is attempting to negotiate a payment plan with the tax department.

The matter is unrelated to a £1.75 million HMRC bill which the club is challenging at a tax tribunal. The Edinburgh-based club said it is ``endeavouring to agree a suitable payment plan with HMRC for the outstanding amount of £449,692.04'' and that the petition was only recently presented. 

Hearts launched a £1.79 million share issue two weeks ago but the prospectus revealed another tax dispute. HMRC has claimed unpaid tax liabilities in the region of £1.75 million relating to loan agreement for a number of players who joined Hearts from Lithuanian club Kaunas which was then run by Vladimir Romanov, the Tynecastle club`s majority shareholder since 2005. 

The winding-up order is not the first to be issued to Hearts by HMRC. The club announced in February that it paid an outstanding tax bill after being given eight days to pay or face being wound up. Last year Hearts FC was forced to pay a bill in the region of £500,000 to defeat a similar order, while others were served in 2009 and 2010. 

The club has faced growing problems meeting wage bills in the last 12 months and are under a Scottish Premier League transfer embargo because of consecutive late monthly payments to some players and coaches. 

Hearts later issued a plea to supporters for ``emergency backing'' and urged them to invest in the share issue and buy tickets for forthcoming matches, or else the club might not see out the month. In a lengthy statement, the board said: ``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.''