Hearts fans' Murrayfield fear

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The Independent Football

Debt-ridden Hearts want to sell their Tynecastle home and plan to share Murrayfield, home of Scotland's rugby union side. The plan has already been condemned by the Federation of Hearts Supporters' Clubs, who claim the move would "decimate" the Jambos' following.

The club's chief executive, Chris Robinson, is determined to plough ahead, however, and Hearts have released a detailed document condemning Tynecastle as "not fit" for football. One problem with the projected move is that Hearts' average home crowd of around 12,000 would be swallowed up by a stadium that can hold more than 67,000. Hearts plan to use only the lower tiers and the document reveals that cosmetic attempts to hide the unused seating will be considered.

Although the need to wipe out debts of more than £17m is the main motive for leaving Tynecastle, there are additional reasons. The 17,000-capacity ground features stands that are close to the pitch and while that creates a good atmosphere, new Uefa guidelines state that the playing surface is too small for future European competition.

The document added: "Tynecastle, ironically, is much loved by those in football precisely because it does not meet the regulations. The steep stands and closeness to a small, tight pitch create a unique atmosphere.

"It is clear that the playing arena dimensions required will always mean that wherever the stadium is located or occupied, that atmosphere can never be recreated."

Robinson has recently been criticised by a former director, Leslie Deans,who urged fans to start a campaign to stay at Tynecastle. But Hearts argued that improvements would be too expensive.

The report continued: "The total cost due having to acquire land and provide infrastructure facilities was some £35.8m compared to costs for a new-build stadium on a peripheral site, where the maximum cost may be in the region of £20m."

A statement from the Federation of Hearts Supporters' Clubs made it clear that a meeting with the directors had left many issues unresolved.

A FHSC statement said they "reluctantly agreed" that if planning restrictions could not be overcome then Tynecastle would have to be abandoned.

But they added: "Given past financial performance and the current financial position, we have no confidence in the ability of the current board to carry the project forward and remain unconvinced that the proposed sale of our only asset is a prudent way forward.

"We also remain unconvinced that Murrayfield is a viable option and believe that a move here will decimate the fan base."