I’m delighted to welcome everyone to our latest blog. No doubt we are all feeling deprived of our football fix. However, I write this piece as next season’s fixtures are announced, making clear that the new season will soon be upon us.
This blog is packed full of content to keep you going meantime. Firstly, we cover the substantial press coverage we achieved as we handed over the final part of our payment toward the Tynecastle redevelopment project on your behalf. We now return to the original plan and commence our payments to Bidco 1874, setting us on the path toward taking the majority shareholding in the club into the hands of our fantastic supporters. I made the point in my interview with the Edinburgh Evening News that total funds donated by our members are now close to £7.5 million. By the time majority ownership is achieved we will have raised close to £10 million. What an achievement by this generation of Hearts supporters. As I’ve said many times before, when the chips were down in the dark days of 2014 our fans simply said not on our watch! I never cease to be amazed by the #legendsinthestands at Tynecastle.
You will find below that we plan to restart our plot ceremonies once we are able walk out on to our beautiful new state of the art pitch. You’ll also see news below on the next steps of our governance work and also detailed instructions on how to increase your pledge or make a one-off donation to Foundation of Hearts. We also cover pledger Paul Cheshire’s story of ‘why I pledge’. Enjoy the read and many thanks again for your incredible support.
Foundation of Hearts Chair, Stuart Wallace
In May we reached a significant milestone in our journey toward fan ownership. On the 19th of May, a day specially selected for its historic significance, we hit the button to make our final payment toward the Tynecastle Redevelopment Project taking total advanced to £3m one month ahead of schedule. At the same time, we made our first payment to Bidco and thus commenced the final phase of the agreement and taking the total funds advanced to the Club and Bidco to more than £7m.
Speaking as we reached this milestone, Ann Budge was glowing in her praise of the Hearts support: “The backing that the club has received, and indeed continues to receive, from Hearts supporters is nothing short of incredible. A prime example of this is the £3 million contribution made by FoH pledgers to the Tynecastle Redevelopment Fund. I would like to say a huge thank you to every single FoH pledger for their contributions.”
This is another huge milestone for the Foundation and everyone who contributes their hard-earned cash toward the vision of securing the long term future of Heart of Midlothian through fan ownership. The unstinting support of the FoH pledgers up to now has been truly incredible and if form is anything to go by this will continue unabated into this final phase. At our current level of pledgers we expect our vision of ownership will be realised within the next two years.
Our collective achievement was covered in the press and you can read more here:
You may be aware that the small affair of replacing the Tynecastle pitch has now commenced with a state of the art new pitch scheduled to be in place for the start of next season. There will inevitably be a degree of disruption and we’ve taken the decision as a result to postpone plot ceremonies which were scheduled to take place over the summer months to allow this important work to take place. Walking out on the pitch to visit your plot is the part of the day that pledgers talk about most as being extra special. We took the view that it would be unfair to deprive anyone of that experience.
To manage the backlog, we intend to hold ceremonies more frequently when the new season starts and approximately every 3 weeks (fixtures allowing). Every pledger who hits the required Maroon Points total will receive an invitation to this special event. Please bear with us as we work through the backlog.
As we continue apace toward our vision of fan ownership we will shortly embark on the next stage of our work to design the governance framework which will be put in place between the Foundation and the Club when the shares in the Club change hands.
You might recall that we asked for your views on an initial set of governance proposals during a five-month consultation period last year. Having considered the responses received, the next stage is for us to issue our response to the consultation feedback and our conclusions on where we should change our earlier proposals. We plan to do this during July and there will another opportunity for members to provide feedback on those proposals. Our intention is then to seek members’ approval of our final proposals at the next AGM of the Foundation in December. Further announcements to follow.
Global Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’)
Why I Pledge – Paul Cheshire
We asked FoH pledger and lifelong Heart’s fan Paul Cheshire (pictured left below) what the Club and pledging to the Foundation means to him:
Originally being from Dumfries I often get asked the question ‘how did you end up a Hearts supporter?’ After telling my familiar long story short (two Aunties married Jambos and that was that) I like to wax lyrical about growing up in a town where 90% of the football fans supported the Old Firm and out of my friends or the boys I played football with I was the only one who ever actually attended any games. I wasn’t just a fan I was a supporter! My first Hearts top that wasn’t a hand me down was purchased by my Mum at Gretna market. Who would have known then the tedious link to the 2006 cup final!
My Uncle Gordon and cousin James (who brought us the famous 5-1 photo album) would take me to at least 4 or 5 games a season and still to this day I don’t think anything in my life had as a profound effect on me as my first game against Motherwell in 1990. The noise, the excitement, the atmosphere, the songs, the jubilation when we scored. We won 3 nil and out of the 3 goals I only managed to see John Colquhoun’s as it was a shot from outside the box. I missed the other two by the time I’d managed to stand up on the benches! For years I would tell anyone who would listen that at only my fourth game I saw us beat Rangers, many would go a lifetime without ever seeing this. The famous Scott Crabbe goal!
Don’t get me wrong at times it was tough being amongst friends who were celebrating their team winning trophies all the time. But that was all made up for in 1998. Two days after Frank Sinatra died Hearts did it their way. It’s crazy that the final was probably in my first 30 or so games but boy did I dine out on that win forever. On the Sunday getting my Mum to slowly drive past all my friend’s house with the Hearts scarf hanging out the window. Victory is all the sweeter the greater the opportunity to gloat!
Being just 16 I didn’t appreciate at the time the magnitude of the win and the heartache many had gone through beforehand. Seeing my Uncle Davie in tears telling me ‘I’ve supported Hearts for 35 years and they hadn’t won a trophy in 36’ was an anecdote I would use in an argument with a Manchester United fan. It does sound crazy that I argued our 1998 Scottish Cup win was bigger than Manchester United’s 1999 Champions League win but everything is relative and my point was what that win felt like to a Hearts fan would in no way be any less than what the Champions League win meant to a Manchester United fan. I should point out said Manchester United fan had never actually been to Old Trafford.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be a season ticket holder for a number of years now and still get the same excitement (and nerves) before a game I did when the ends of my scarf dragged along the ground. I can’t imagine not going to Hearts games and for a time it did look like that was a possibility. So if my monthly pledge helps contribute to the longevity and sustainability of something that has been such a huge part of my life and the life of others then why wouldn’t I?
The Foundation are hugely grateful for Paul’s contribution. If you are interested in sharing your story in a future blog, we would love to hear from you. Email us telling us what pledging to the Foundation means to you at email@example.com.
We want to make it as easy as possible for members to contact us and receive a prompt response. We’ve created new email inboxes for specific purposes to help with that. Each inbox is manned by a different FoH representative set up to respond to your queries. The details are below:
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for questions about your Maroon Points, including issues with the number of Maroon points displayed on our website.
Contact email@example.com for questions about plot ceremonies and membership clubs.
You can also continue to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for general FoH queries.
Increasing Your Pledge
You may recall last year we announced our Plus One initiative which allows pledgers to add £1 to their existing pledge via our website. We’re extremely grateful to the pledgers who have clicked the button since with well over a thousand of you clicking the button. Every single pound counts and pushes us toward our vision of fan ownership.
One of the questions we’re asked most frequently at our roadshows and other events is how to Plus One and increase your pledge generally. If you’ve ever pondered this, below is a handy how-to guide for pledgers who contribute via GoCardless:
- Login to your account at https://www.foundationofhearts.org/my-account/
- Navigate to your dashboard and the blue £1 pledge box.
- Click the ‘Click to Increase Your Pledge’ button. This will trigger two emails:
- The first email allows you to cancel your old pledge. Action is required; you need to follow the instructions in the email to cancel your old pledge amount otherwise you may end up pledging two amounts.
- The second email asks you to confirm your new pledge amount. Action is required; you need to follow the instructions in the email to confirm your new pledge amount otherwise this will not be initiated.
- Your new increased pledge will be taken on the 5th of the next month. To change this date – visit the Manage section and enter your new Pledge amount and date.
If you do not receive the emails described at steps 4 and 5, please check your spam folder or contact us at email@example.com and we can resend your email.
Increasing your pledge:
as above, except using the ‘Update Your Pledge’ option on your dashboard at step 2.
Making a one off donation:
- Login to your account at https://www.foundationofhearts.org/my-account/
- Navigate to your dashboard and the blue one-off payment option.
- Insert the amount you wish to donate in the blank box and click ‘Make Your Payment’. This will trigger an email.
- The email asks you to confirm your new pledge amount. Action is required; you need to follow the instructions in the email to confirm your new pledge amount otherwise this will not be initiated.
- Your donation will be taken from your account immediately.
If you do not receive the emails described at steps 4 and 5, please check your spam folder. If this does not work, or if you have any other questions please or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions or comments on this month’s blog please feel free to leave them below or direct them to email@example.com.