Hearts warn of 'dramatic' cuts if club's share issue fails


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The Independent Football

Rangers may have finally secured a first away win in the Irn-Bru Third Division yesterday but the financial crisis in Scottish football has started to spread.

The Ibrox club's demotion at the start of the season sparked fears for the incomes of other Scottish Premier League clubs, and Heart of Midlothian yesterday delivered a warning about "dramatic cost-cutting" measures.

Sergejus Fedotovas, the Hearts director, has told fans the club faces large-scale cutbacks if they do not buy into the new share issue.

The Edinburgh side this week launched the share issue, making more than 16 million shares available to supporters at 11p per share in a bid to raise £1.79m.

Hearts' financial predicament could be exacerbated by a tax demand for £1.75m, which could also have drastic consequences. Fedotovas said: "If this strategy fails the club will be faced with a tough financial reality. The answer to that would be another dramatic cut in costs.

"We have brought in new sponsors and are making savings, but we have exhausted all possibilities available. There is instability in the revenue streams, we do not have any assurances the club will get money on time.The share issue is a signal and an alarm to the people who are truly concerned about the club. We are asking the wider society to step up otherwise we will be left with no other solution than cutting costs, and I don't think anyone will be happy with a weak team and poor results.

"If we want to maintain a club that has aims to play at the high level we can't just cut, cut, cut."

Hearts are currently under a transfer embargo until Christmas after failing to pay staff and players their wages on time.

Rangers, meanwhile, broke their away-game duck, after goals from Dean Shiels and Lee McCulloch secured a 2-0 win at Clyde. The home side were reduced to 10 men after 68 minutes when John Neill was sent off for a second yellow card.

Ally McCoist, the Rangers manager, said: "You have to match up against the opposition and let them know that you're as much up for the competitive side of the game as they are.

"It's safe to say that every team we'll play this season will be up for the game and will be competitive and aggressive, which is fair enough.

"We must be equal to that, if not stronger than that."