The supporters group attempting to buy beleaguered Scottish Premiership side Hearts have been named the preferred bidder by administrators.
The Foundation of Hearts (FOH) are now in pole position to take control of the Tynecastle club, who were plunged into administration over the close-season with debts of almost £30million.
Having started the season with a 15-point deduction, matters had looked bleak for the Edinburgh club, but the good news comes off the back of Sunday's 1-0 win over local rivals, Hibernian - their first derby win in five attempts.
The collapse of former owner Vladimir Romanov's Lithuanian Ukio Bankas financial empire has led to the club's demise off the pitch, but they could now face a brighter future.
Administrator Bryan Jackson told the Hearts' official website: "This is an important milestone and reflects our belief that FOH is a credible bidder for the club.
"However, we all still have a lot of work to do to demonstrate to the major creditors that the bid can offer them the best possible outcome. Let's not get carried away - now is the time for everyone to get behind FOH to make this bid work.
"At the moment we cannot put a timescale on the process as a number of negotiations with various parties still need to take place and we are waiting for the appointment of administrators to UBIG to be ratified.
"However, we can ensure that collectively we make as much progress as possible on our side so we are able to finalise the matter quickly once the opportunity presents itself."
The foundation's chairman, Ian Murray, was delighted with the developments, and urged fans to back the group financially in order to ensure their club's long-term survival.
He added: "We are proud that the bid backed by the Foundation of Hearts has been named preferred bidder.
"Let us be clear, though. The journey is only beginning. Our bid has not yet been accepted, albeit we are hopeful an agreement can be reached.
"In order to make this happen we need as many supporters as possible to sign up to make a monthly contribution via direct debit.
"Now, for the first time, the fate of Heart of Midlothian really is in the hands of us, the supporters of this remarkable football club."
|12||C. Paterson||45+3' 71'|
|Coach: G. Locke|
for R. Stevenson 12'
for D. Smith 81'
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