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Football finance analyst Neil Patey believes that "the time to strike is now" for any potential buyers for Scottish Premier League side Heart of Midlothian as the future of Lithuanian bank Ukio Bankas "approaches its judgement day" Thursday, according to Barry Anderson of the SCOTSMAN. Patey feels with Ukio Bankas in temporary administration, and with a Lithuanian court set to rule whether bankruptcy proceedings will be brought against Hearts majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov’s bank, "any prospective investors should take the bull by the horns." Patey: "It’s certainly time to get your funding and proposals together and then try to get the attention of the administrator. He may have bigger things on his mind, but, if someone knocks on his door offering sensible value for an asset pledged to him, why wouldn’t you at least entertain the discussion?" (SCOTSMAN, 5/1). In Glasgow, Alan Marshall reported Hearts fans buyout chief Ian Murray hopes this week's reports "will galvanise fans behind their bid for the club" -- which he describes as "the only show in town." Murray "is the figurehead for the combined efforts of six supporters' groups attempting to wrest control of the club" from Romanov. He urged fans "to pledge via the Foundation of Hearts website." Murray: "We need to be putting together a bid for the club. I would hope rumours of administration would have a bonding effect and increase pledges to our cause" (DAILY RECORD, 5/1).
A-League side Melbourne Heart's owners "have no interest in selling the club," after it was revealed that former National Soccer League club South Melbourne Tuesday "submitted a bid to take over the A-League outfit," according to David Davutovic of the HERALD SUN. South Melbourne, which currently competes in the Victorian Premier League, submitted a bid in the early afternoon "but was swiftly rejected by the A-League club." It is "the second time an offer has been submitted by South" -- which was also in recent discussions with cash-strapped Central Coast Mariners -- and "was a combination of cash and shares and included relocation to Lakeside Stadium, a facility it currently shares with Athletics Victoria." Heart CEO Scott Munn confirmed "the offer and revealed that two offers from overseas investors had also been received in recent months but the club's owners weren't interested in selling a controlling stake." Munn said, "We've made it very clear we have no interest in taking their offer any further" (HERALD SUN, 5/1).
League Two side Aldershot Town has "failed to pay players their wages for April," according to the BBC. Directors of the club, which was relegated from League Two last weekend, "held an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the financial position." Chair Shahid Azeem said that "the situation would be explained to the players." Aldershot Owner & majority shareholder Kris Machala "has been in talks with Azeem over selling his stake in the club to the chairman, but was awaiting proof of funds." A club statement following the board meeting on Tuesday evening said: "The company is currently seeking restructuring advice" (BBC, 5/1).
English Super League side Bradford Bulls said any doubt over their future has been ''killed off'' after the club was granted a new Super League license for the '14 season, according to the LONDON TIMES. The Yorkshire club was "given only a 12-month provisional licence last September after being taken out of administration" by local businessman Omar Khan and Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe. The new license, awarded by the Rugby Football League, "gives them parity with the other 13 Super League clubs, whose present three-year licences expire at the end of next season." Under the new regime, Bradford is debt-free and has "proved competitive on the field" under new head coach Francis Cummins, despite being unable to claim its full allocation of central funding, which was a condition of the club retaining its Super League status (LONDON TIMES, 5/1).