Football - Former stars back fans' Hearts bid

The Hearts fans' group hoping to buy the financially stricken club has been boosted by the support of two former players.

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The Foundation of Hearts has secured the backing of Gorgie icons Stephane Adam and Gilles Rousett. Both players were part of the team that beat Rangers 2-1 to win the 1998 Scottish Cup.

The French duo have now pledged financial support to the Foundation of Hearts - an umbrella group representing a number of fans' associations - as they work to piece together a bid for the troubled Tynecastle club.

Adam, who netted the decisive goal in the cup victory at Celtic Park 15 years ago, urged the club's supporters to follow their lead, saying: "If there was ever a day to support Heart of Midlothian, that day has come. By making my own pledge to the Foundation of Hearts, I am committed to help the club to find a bright future. This could be the chance. Please be part of it."

Rousett added: "The foundation is the best way forward. The most important thing is that it is a group of people who love Hearts. We all fear for the club and want them to stay alive and I think the foundation are the best people to make that happen."

Hearts were hit with an immediate transfer embargo by the Scottish Premier League last Friday after admitting they could not afford to pay their players.

The news came just 24 hours after the Gorgie board released a statement saying they had entered a "critical" stage in their battle to pay off debts of £25million as well as financing tax and running costs. The entire Jambos squad was put up for sale in a desperate bid to raise the reported £500,000 needed to see the club through to the start of the new season.

Politician Ian Murray is leading the Foundation of Hearts supporters' group who hope to buy the club, with a formal bid expected to be lodged by the end of the month. But the Labour man admits that the current situation at UBIG - which owns a 50 per cent stake in the club - and 29.9 per cent shareholder Ukio Bankas has "muddied the waters".

Both firms were formerly controlled by Vladimir Romanov but are now in the midst of being declared insolvent by Kaunas-based authorities. Ukio Bankas - which lost an appeal against liquidation on Wednesday - is due £15million by Hearts, who also owe another £10million to UBIG.

However, Murray is hopeful that with Adam and Rousett's help the club's supporters may be able to pull them back from the brink. He said: "We're delighted that two real heroes of Hearts in Stephane and Gilles have never forgotten what the club did for them, by lending their backing to the Foundation of Hearts in this real hour of need."

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