UBIG to fail?

It isn’t overstating the case to say that there is now an existential threat to Heart of Midlothian Football Club.

It must seem an age since the faithful at Tynecastle considered a Russian hat as de rigueur.

The appearance of the ushanka  as a welcoming gesture to their newly arrived Lithuanian owner did suggest that here were people who desperately wanted to believe.

After the trauma of Wallace Mercer and his failed and foolhardy attempt to take over city rivals Hibernian the ‘Jambos’ needed a messiah with money.

In their Russian hats they were helpless but hopeful onlookers.

If the downfall of Rangers proved anything it was the utter impotence of the football fan in the modern age.

Last Saturday night it was my pleasure to take part in a works do with a difference.

Back in the day I would make my excuses to eschew such events, but this one I travelled over from Ireland to attend.

It was the annual meet up of the Alternative View writers, the Celtic fanzine run by Matt McGlone.

Sitting beside the man who comprised 25% of ‘Celts For Change’ I thought that his organization in the early 1990s might be one of the last examples of fans mobilising and making a difference.

The structural problems at Hearts pre-date the death of Rangers and they would still be in this situation if the original Ibrox was club was alive and playing in the SPL.

The much lauded ‘fit and proper person test’ at the SFA isn’t a test at all.  When Craig Whyte bought Rangers it was a self-certification formality.  The Motherwell born billionaire merely signed a form saying he was a top notch chap. Now it is the current owner of the club that certifies that the new guy is a fine fellow!

All that fans can do is hope that the person getting the keys to the stadium is benevolent rather than bent.

Vladimir Romanov was ,it has to be said, good copy for the Fitba Fourth Estate. The ex-submariner could make a reasonable claim to the title deeds to the adjective ‘colourful’.

I suspect that he will have little claim to any real estate down Gorgie before too long.

The breeze blowing through Tynecastle is now decidedly Baltic and the club may not survive in any form.

If there is, as everyone expects, an insolvency event then the stadium itself seems under threat.

It will be interesting to compare and contrast the Hearts administration with the flying circus that was commanded by Duff & Phelps last year.

The sugar daddy model of club ownership rarely ends well.

Both Sir David Murray at Rangers and Vladimir Romanov at Hearts promised much, but ultimately their egos created a tsunami of excrement cascading over their valued customers.

It is a cautionary tale for those who somehow feel justified in booing the CEO of a debt free club with unbroken history as another SPL championship is captured.

Planet Fitba has now entered an epoch of unipolarity and those on the winning side should count their blessings.

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