Hearts have warned fans the club might not survive until the end of the month after being hit with a winding-up order over a tax bill of almost £450,000.
The Clydesdale Bank Premier League club issued a plea for "emergency backing" after confirming action by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
Hearts said they were attempting to negotiate a payment plan with the tax authority over the matter, which is unrelated to a £1.75million HMRC bill the club are challenging at a tax tribunal.
But they later asked supporters to find the money to see the club through the crisis in an appeal described as "not so much a request as a necessity".
Hearts urged supporters to buy tickets for forthcoming home matches and invest in a recently-launched share issue.
The board statement added: "Without the support of fans there is, as we issue this note, a real risk that Heart of Midlothian Football Club could possibly play its last game next Saturday, 17 November, against St Mirren. This isn't a bluff, this isn't scaremongering, this is reality."