There is a degree of relief (in some quarters) mixed with surprise that Hearts creditors have agreed to a CVA, allowing the club to exit administration. Although administration seems to be a natural state for many in Scottish football, remarkably few have subsequently gone to the wall in the last 100 years.
Third Lanark perished in 1967, an exception during many decades of solvent behaviour. Airdrieoneans (not to be confused with the current club by that name, which is the renamed and relocated Clydebank FC) were liquidated in 2002, with the chastising words of creditor Sir David Murray ringing in their ears. Oh how well irony played its hand.
Murray’s own club, Rangers (not to be confused with the current club by that name), were next to be liquidation after creditor, HMRC, stuck by their published rules and rejected a proposed CVA.
Apart from this, a remarkable series of campaigns, such as ‘Well worth saving’ and ‘Save the Jags’ has seen supporters step forward and find the money to save their club from that ominous fate.
There appears to couple of rules if you want to escape liquidation. Try to ensure 75% of your creditor value is owed to shareholder-creditors or the bank. Many clubs survive on directors’ loan accounts, which are ultimately forgiven in administration. Banks too have been reluctant to kill the local totem, with good commercial reason.
The major thing to avoid appears to be breaking tax law. HMRC are prevented by its own terms of business from forgiving tax debt which has been run up through illegal tax evasion. This was the case at (original) Rangers, who conceded some of their tax dealings were not legal during 2012’s Lower Tier Tribunal. The balance of cases are disputed and currently subject to an Upper Tier Tribunal.
Hearts success makes for an interesting SPFL Championship race this season. With three games to go Dundee hold a two point advantage over Hamilton. The winner will go up, second place will face a play-off, but neither club will fancy fighting Hearts for promotion next season. I can imagine the despair elsewhere to the news that Hearts will be a Championship club next season. Poor Ally will need to get his game together.
Remember, John Hughes will be on CQN tomorrow morning. Tune in with your questions for him.[calameo code=000390171b8e5a2cffbcc lang=en page=114 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]