Hearts: Club exit administration, signing ban lifted

Hearts have exited administration after documents were lodged with the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

The Edinburgh club had been in administration since last June with debts close to £30m.

They started the season with a 15-point penalty and will play in the Championship next term after being relegated from the Premiership.

Hearts owner Ann Budge

When we do hand the club over to the fans in a few years' time, it will be in the best possible shape

Ann Budge Hearts owner

"We kept going and it's wonderful that we're here, eventually," said the club's new owner Ann Budge.

"There have been many days when I thought there were just too many challenges facing us but we didn't lose hope.

"We want to get a really strong management team in place - I don't just mean on the field, off the field as well - and basically ensure that this club never has to go through this again.

"When we do hand the club over to the fans in a few years' time, it will be in the best possible shape."

Budge agreed a deal with creditors to buy Hearts and quickly set about restructuring the club with Craig Levein brought in as director of football and Robbie Neilson joining as head coach.

Gary Locke, who had been manager during the administration process, left the club at the end of his contract.

The move out of administration means the ban on the registration of players imposed by the league last year will be lifted and Hearts will now be allowed to make signings.

The Tynecastle club entered administration in June 2013 with debts close to £30m, with most of the money owed to businesses in Lithuania who themselves would undergo insolvency procedures.

Hearts' new director of football Craig Levein and head coach Robbie Neilson

Levein and Neilson will lead Hearts' football operation

"It certainly has been a long year but, with hindsight, it's been a great outcome," said administrator Bryan Jackson. "For that I'm very grateful, happy and very relieved."

Jackson has successfully taken seven clubs, including several in Scotland, out of administration.

And, asked if saving Hearts had been his toughest task, he replied: "Of course it has because I say that about all of them.

"I think genuinely this one has been. It was always going to be a tough one when you saw what we inherited from day one.

"With some of the external factors, some of the third parties that were involved as well, it made it very difficult for us. New obstacles kept popping up all over the place. As we solved one, there was another one.

"So, I would say in the end it was the most difficult one and there were certainly times when I really didn't think we were going to make it this time.

"We were close to running out of money on a couple of occasions. We managed to sell a couple of players to keep us going.

"Just about everything that came in was crucial. The fans' donations were crucial as well. It was fantastic the donations we received and the support we received from them

"The income in the last few games was very important to us and I'm very grateful to the fans for the numbers that turned up to those games."