Foundation of Hearts – October 2018 Blog

logoFoundation of Hearts Chair, Stuart Wallace

Welcome to our October Blog, another bumper edition for you covering everything that is going on at the Foundation of Hearts.

It seems only right that I acknowledge the sheer scale of activity that we have had across the last week or so at the Foundation of Hearts. Clearly the club made a strong start to the season and we saw the impact of that with many pledgers checking out their dashboards and rewards, getting in touch with us by email, lots of new or restarted pledges and a fair old amount of increased pledges. We are really grateful for the level of support you are showing the club through the Foundation of Hearts. We are discussing other ways in which we can allow members to contribute at times like this but for the moment the “donate now” button is available on our website. Our Twitter feed has been on fire, long may that level of engagement continue!

As I write this article, the level of funding we have now passed over to the Club and Bidco 1874 has passed £7.6m, it is an incredible level of support. Each and every one of us should be proud of the part we have played. We now have a community of around 11,000 Hearts supporters who have pledged at some point in our journey.

One of the items below is the conclusion of our second consultation on our Governance model. This process started some time ago, with a working group consisting of representatives from the Foundation of Hearts board, an academic from Heriot Watt University, an expert in the field of governance and members of the club executive. We have now consulted with our members twice, have considered all feedback, held a number of one to one meetings and made some changes along the way. We will now issue a final draft to members of the Governance committee to agree before we bring this to the AGM for approval. It has been a painstaking and thorough process carried out away from the public glare with our members. It is crucial we have a governance framework in place well in advance of becoming the majority shareholder in Heart of Midlothian FC.

I hope you like the proposals and ask that you join me in thanking those who have put in such hard work, all in the name of the long term future of the football club we all love so much.

On other matters, you will find some great coverage below of our recent plot ceremonies (with lots more of those to come), an update from Louise Strutt on her visit to Contalmaison, with further updates on funding, Director elections and AGM dates for your diary. You will also find this month’s ‘Why I Pledge’ story from Ian Baillie. I was lucky enough to meet and chat with Ian at his recent plot ceremony, he has a great story to tell. I hope you enjoy the content.

Plot ceremonies

With the new state of the art pitch now in place at Tynecastle and the season under way in glorious fashion, the natural order has resumed with our plot ceremonies and membership clubs. We continue to receive incredible feedback about our ceremonies, including on social media, a snapshot of which we’ve included below to give a taste of how special these occasions are to so many.

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The overriding sense we get from pledgers is that walking out onto the pitch and stepping into the shadow of the new main stand really brings home the magnitude of what we are achieving as a group and we hope that all Hearts fans share in this sense of pride.

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The next scheduled plot ceremonies will take place on the 6th and 21st of October and we will continue to hold ceremonies 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 vast number of you who have now reached this level of points.

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Contalmaison Memorial Service

In July, Foundation Director Louise Strutt attended the Contalmaison Memorial Service to lay a wreath on behalf of the Foundation. Afterward, she shared these reflections on her experience.

I had the great honour of attending the Memorial Service on 1 July 2018 at Contalmaison with the McCrae’s Battalion Trust.

reitsHaving been invited along to lay the wreath on behalf of all the Foundation of Hearts members, I travelled with the Club representatives Gary Locke and Jonathan Tink to Paris the day prior to the ceremony.

On arriving at Arras I was delighted to meet so many Hearts fans who had made the journey together with representatives from both Hibs and Raith Rovers. The service took place early on Sunday morning with a 7am start which led us to the village of Contalmaison.

MacraesI was not prepared for the welcome that we received from the French villagers or even the sheer volume of people who had turned out in attendance to remember our bravest team, from the French and Australian Army to the Canadian band that played throughout the service. This of course was hosted by Jack Alexander and many poignant words from Lt Col Gary Tait who I had the pleasure of sitting with at the celebratory lunch kindly put on by the villagers for all those that attend each year.

We were invited by the Mayoress to visit her offices which are next to the village church – this is full of memorabilia from all teams that served in the battalion and it was good to see in a prominent position Hearts McCrae’s Battalion Shirt from the 14/15 Season.

After lunch Lt Col Tait took us a short distance from the village to explain the timeline as it happened on 1 July 2016 and gave an incredible insight into the positions reached by the Battalion and of course relaying the story of how they held on to Scots Redoubt.

Standing in that exact spot, looking back at the village of Contalmaison, you cannot fail to be moved knowing that almost 20,000 men died there on what is still the blackest day in British military history. As a lifelong Hearts fan this visit was something I had wanted to do for some time and I would recommend all Hearts supporters to take the journey if you can. The overwhelming feeling of pride I have for our bravest boys is truly insurmountable.

Why I Pledge – Ian Baillie

baillieWe asked FoH pledger and lifelong Heart’s fan Ian Baillie what the Club and pledging to the Foundation means to him:

I am now in my 70th year and have supported Hearts since the age of 7. I am also 100% Glaswegian (though my great grandfather was born in Cramond!). My family was strongly in the Rangers camp, but, luckily for me, my father was fairly lukewarm in his support for the Gers. By the age of 7 I had already decided (for various reasons) that I was a Hearts supporter, and eventually persuaded my dad to take me up the road to Firhill to see Hearts Reserves play Partick Thistle Reserves. He was only prepared to go for the second half, but at least I had the opportunity to see the maroon shirts run out from the tunnel, and that memory has never left me. The game finished 1-1! My father, incidentally, finished his life as a Hearts supporter, and often accompanied me to games in his later years.

Most of my secondary education took place at Bearsden Academy, where I played for the various age-group football teams. In our Under-13s team four of us were Hearts supporters, and by the Under-14s we had added a fifth. It was quite extraordinary for a West of Scotland school (I can only recall two Rangers supporters in the team!).

Unfortunately, my first visit to Tynecastle was not a happy one, as we lost the league championship to Kilmarnock in the final game of the season. Had goal difference been in operation rather than the ridiculous goal average (who thought that one up?) we would have comfortably won the league that day, no matter the result. Anyway, the devastation felt then was nothing compared to the way I felt after the Dundee defeat twenty years later. Worst day of my life.

By contrast, the best day of my life (unknown to my wife!) was the 1998 cup final. I was there with a young friend, then aged 17, who tried to keep me calm during that tense second half. Had Thomas Flogel scored with a simple header to make it 3-0 it might have been different, but as it was I spent a fair proportion of the second half pacing up and down the Parkhead toilets – and I wasn’t alone! As I finally resumed my seat, Ally McCoist pulled one back for Rangers and my stress levels soared once again. Anyway, we got there in the end, though I often wonder what would have happened if Albertz had been playing for Rangers that day; they had a fair few free kicks and, fortunately for us, Amaruso sent most of them into the stands!

I have an incredibly strong connection to Hearts Football Club, one which has now lasted for over six decades (I still find that hard to believe!). As I can no longer attend as many games as I would like, it seemed a no-brainer to maintain that connection through contributing every month to the wellbeing of Hearts. It is a truly amazing and uplifting thing that you have done.

The Foundation are grateful for Ian’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 info@foundationofhearts.org.

Funding update

We reported back in May that we reached the significant milestone of making the final payment of our £3m contribution to the Tynecastle Redevelopment Project. At the same time, we made our first payment to Bidco and thus commenced the final phase of the agreement to acquire a majority stake in our beloved club. Since then we’ve continued to make monthly payments to Bidco and the total advanced at the time of writing was £550k which is just over 1/5th of the £2.5m required to bring the club into fan ownership. Whilst we’re delighted with progress, we still have a long way to go and each and every pledge continues to be vital to ensuring a successful transition toward fan ownership and beyond.

Directors’ Elections

Two places on our board will be up for election/re-election at our forthcoming AGM (save the date below). The election process will start in mid-October, when we will issue nomination forms to members and invite candidates to come forward. If you’re a passionate Hearts supporter and Foundation pledger and feel like you have a skillset that the Foundation will benefit from we’d encourage you to engage in the process.

An update on our Governance proposals

The final consultation period on our proposals for the future long-term governance arrangements closed on 19 September.  Thank-you to everyone who has participated.

The next step is for us to firm up on the final version of the proposals.  Once we have done this, we will set out the details in an explanatory memorandum and ask the members for approval of the proposals at our annual general meeting in December.  Our plan is to issue all the governance papers to members at least a month in advance of the meeting.

Date for the diary – Foundation AGM

This year’s Foundation of Hearts AGM will be held at 6.00pm at Tynecastle Park on Wednesday, 19 December.  The annual accounts and formal notice convening the meeting will be circulated to all members in due course.

Contacting us

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 rewards@foundationofhearts.org for questions about your Maroon Points, including issues with the number of Maroon points displayed on our website.

Contact invitations@foundationofhearts.org for questions about plot ceremonies and membership clubs.

You can also continue to contact info@foundationofhearts.org for general FoH queries.

If you have any questions or comments on this month’s blog please feel free to leave them below or direct them to info@foundationofhearts.org.

 

Foundation of Hearts – June 2018 Blog

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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

 

Funding update

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.Cheque

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:

Edinburgh Evening News
Daily Record

 

Plot ceremonies

pitchYou 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.

 

Governance update

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’)

You may be aware of new regulations that came into place in May 2018 impacting all organisations that hold personal data and you’ll likely have received multiple emails on the subject from anyone who holds data about you. We’ve spent time preparing for the new regulations across the last few months and have refreshed our privacy policy to ensure we continue to hold ourselves to the highest standard when it comes to handling pledgers’ data. Whilst there are some changes to our policy, the overarching principle we adhere to does not change: we are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy and we make it our highest priority to safeguard the confidentiality of all personal information you provide to us. You can read more in our privacy statement here.

 

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!

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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 info@foundationofhearts.org.

 

Contacting us

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 rewards@foundationofhearts.org for questions about your Maroon Points, including issues with the number of Maroon points displayed on our website.

Contact invitations@foundationofhearts.org for questions about plot ceremonies and membership clubs.

You can also continue to contact info@foundationofhearts.org for general FoH queries.

Increasing Your Pledge

£1_pledgeYou 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:

 

Plus One:

  1. Login to your account at https://www.foundationofhearts.org/my-account/
  2. Navigate to your dashboard and the blue £1 pledge box.
  3. Click the ‘Click to Increase Your Pledge’ button. This will trigger two emails:
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 info@foundationofhearts.org 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:

  1. Login to your account at https://www.foundationofhearts.org/my-account/
  2. Navigate to your dashboard and the blue one-off payment option.
  3. Insert the amount you wish to donate in the blank box and click ‘Make Your Payment’. This will trigger an email.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 info@foundationofhearts.org.

If you have any questions or comments on this month’s blog please feel free to leave them below or direct them to info@foundationofhearts.org.

Foundation of Hearts – March 2018 Blog

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Welcome to our first blog of 2018. This issue includes news of our first ever Foundation Day, a personal Why I Pledge story from a familiar face as well as bulletins on what the Foundation has been working on since our last update.


Update from Foundation of Hearts Chair, Stuart Wallace

It’s great to open up our March 2018 blog with so much activity at Foundation of Hearts to report.

Our first Foundation Day is reported in quite a bit of detail below. I was fortunate enough on the day to host one of my boyhood heroes, Donald Ford. Donald kindly agreed to cut the ribbon on Foundation Plaza and it seemed fitting that a club legend and founder member of the Foundation of Hearts should have that honour. I was also joined by Bryan Jackson who along with several others put in the real hard yards to save the club back in 2014. That said, the purpose of Foundation Day was much more about thanking the Hearts support, the #legendsinthestand. We wanted to pay tribute to those who pledge and also to those Hearts fans who contribute in so many ways to the club. This day was for all of you.

As part of the day we wanted to have a highly visible presence within the stadium and to make ourselves accessible for those who wanted to start a pledge or increase their pledge. The numbers are set out below, but we have been absolutely thrilled by the reaction, including four first team players becoming pledgers. We also met with many Hearts fans on the day who simply wanted to talk about Foundation matters and it was fantastic to hear your feedback and messages of support.

During the course of the last few weeks I have also been fortunate enough to join the members of Prestonpans Hearts for their monthly meeting. I attended, along with Louise Strutt from the Foundation board and also Gary Locke who joined on behalf of the club. We gave an update on both Foundation and club matters, talked a little about our roles and responsibilities, and generally had a good chat about all matters Hearts. We concluded with an open Q&A session and the passion in the room was clear to see. We hope to do many more of these supporters’ club visits. Next stop is Craigmillar on 7 April.

I hope you enjoy the content we’ve prepared for you this month and hope to see you at one of our roadshows.

Foundation Day
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Saturday 27th of January saw Tynecastle play host to the first ever Foundation Day with a series of activities taking place to mark the amazing contribution Hearts fans have made in saving the club.

The centrepiece of the day was the official opening of the new Foundation Plaza, the impressive new space behind the main stand. Pledgers assembled to witness club legend Donald Ford cut the ribbon and to take in a pipe band playing, including a solo piper’s performance of the Hearts Song – many fans opting to join in with a whispered rendition of the chorus. It was a poignant moment and you didn’t have to look far to see how much it meant to so many. The ceremony was followed by a group picture taken from above the main stand with pledgers holding their Foundation scarves aloft with pride to mark the occasion.

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Inside the stadium, pledge stations were manned, Foundation clappers were left under every seat, and the players took to the pitch wearing a special Foundation day T-shirt. Bryan Jackson, who played such a key role as administrator when the club was close to extinction, was a guest of honour and was interviewed by Scott Wilson at half time.

We’ve simply been blown away by the response to the day. More than 230 pledgers have joined the ranks or increased their pledge and we raised more than £700 from one-off donations on the day. Among those to sign up on the day were four first team players – Christophe Berra, Ross Callachan, Steven Naismith and Demetri Mitchell. Further evidence, as if it was needed, that we are all in this together.

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The day, and the achievements of Foundation pledgers, were also featured in the local press.

We’d like to thank the 30+ volunteers who gave up their free time to help make the day a success – we simply could not have done it without them. Similarly, the day would have not been possible were it not for the hard work and support of officials from the club to whom we are hugely grateful. Finally, a huge thanks to Haddington Pipe Band who played beautifully at the Plaza.

For those of you who were not there in person, there is an excellent video on YouTube that captures the mood of the day which is available here.

Stadium Funding Update

At the date of publishing the blog, the Foundation has paid over £2.71m of the £3m promised under the stadium funding arrangement, taking the total advanced by the Foundation to the club to £6.76m. We are well on track to have paid the £3m before the June deadline, at which point we will commence repayment of the Bidco loan and start the process of acquiring a majority share in the club.

Foundation AGM

The 2017 Foundation of Hearts AGM took place on Wednesday 20th of December at Tynecastle Stadium. At the meeting, Chairman Stuart Wallace delivered his reflections on 2017 as well as looking forward to what would be a busy 2018. Chief among the Chair’s message was the impact our pledges continue to have: the new main stand, the Memorial Garden, the Foundation Plaza being just some of the examples. Stuart also reported that in 2018 the Board would continue to progress its thinking on future governance and also be on the front foot with regard to marketing and member attraction and retention.

An interview with Ann Budge followed Stuart’s address before the agenda turned to formal matters.

Stuart concluded by thanking those in attendance, the directors and the volunteers who supported the Foundation across 2017 and on the night of the AGM itself.

Pledge Pals

January saw the launch of a new initiative aimed at persuading existing pledgers to get their pals to sign up – with a unique piece of Tynecastle history as a potential reward.

The best advocates for the Foundation have always been existing pledgers. With this new initiative we’re giving pledgers yet another reason to spread the Foundation’s message.

So how does it work? Members can download a Pledge Pals certificate, add their mate’s name, and send it on to them.

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Every pledger who successfully persuades a pal to join our ranks for the first time or restart their pledge will go into a prize draw for a very special piece of the Tynecastle pitch – the exact spot from which Rudi Skacel scored the first goal in the 4-0 win against Hibs on 7 August 2005! The process of how to enter the draw is also explained on the certificate and we intend to run this until the end of the season, so there is still plenty time to take part.

More details are available here: https://www.foundationofhearts.org/news/pledge-pals-initiative-launched/.

Why I Pledge – Club Captain Christophe Berra

As many of you will be aware, at the recent Foundation Day at Tynecastle, I took the opportunity to sign up for the Foundation of Hearts and become a monthly pledger. This honestly was a very easy decision for me. Since coming back to the club, I have come to appreciate just what an amazing community we now have here – led from the top by Ann Budge and her team and driven forward by the incredible passion of the supporters. This passion was, as we know, responsible for laying the foundations which saved the club and I want to congratulate the Foundation of Hearts and all who have pledged for turning that passion into such a constructive and positive force. I was absolutely delighted to add my contribution to this movement.

BerraIt has always been a real privilege to pull on the maroon jersey and represent Heart of Midlothian. More than ever now, though, I believe that the players genuinely understand and appreciate what Hearts supporters have achieved for the club and what they are still doing – particularly through the Foundation of Hearts – to take Hearts forward. To have such supporters behind us is more of a motivator than anything else I’ve ever experienced in my football career.

I’d ask supporters who haven’t yet signed up to the Foundation to consider doing so, if they can afford it. So many fantastic things have happened here at Tynecastle in just a few short years. As a very proud captain of the club, I truly believe that with the kind of support we have here, we can build on these successes, both on and off the field, and the Foundation of Hearts’ role in this is vital.

Finally, thank you to all the supporters who have given the team such wonderful support, and thank you to the Foundation of Hearts.  Together we have a bright future which is definitely maroon.

Dates for the diary

Big Hearts Day is scheduled to take place at Tynecastle of Saturday 17th of March. Please watch the Big Hearts and club website for further announcements and information about how to get involved.

The next plot ceremony will take place on Sunday 18th of March. We continue to work through the backlog and you will be invited in the order you reached the 1,000 Maroon Points total. Your patience is much appreciated.

If you have any questions or comments on this month’s blog please feel free to leave them below or direct them to info@foundationofhearts.org.

Foundation of Hearts – October 17 Blog

logoWelcome to the latest edition of our Foundation of Hearts blog. The eagle-eyed will note that we are returning to our previous method of communicating news and updates to our members. We tried ‘The Pledger’ based on feedback but, on balance, feel that the blog is a much swifter way of getting information to our members. Our intention is to issue this bi-monthly, unless there is information we feel should come to you more quickly. Welcome back! We have a lot to tell you.

Update from Foundation of Hearts Chair, Stuart Wallace

stewartSeptember saw the club’s first ‘home’ match at Murrayfield against Aberdeen. Many of us will have left the match in admiration of the strength and passion in the team’s performance in what could have been a very handsome victory. No doubt those victories will now follow. Our fans turned Murrayfield maroon and, with a fine Aberdeen contingent, a crowd of 25,000 certainly ‘made some noise’. It was a spine-tingling moment as ‘Hey Jude’ rang out to the mass twirly: it looked impressive from the West Stand. The sense in leaving Murrayfield that day was that we were the supporters who felt more disappointment at the result. The players deserved at least what they achieved and probably more. We’ve carried the Murrayfield momentum into our subsequent away games and there is no reason why it won’t continue through October and beyond. We look difficult to beat and are playing with real grit, no doubt exciting times ahead.

It is great to get back to football after a pretty tumultuous week or two at the club and also at the Foundation. Craig’s appointment as manager brought to a close a period of intense speculation around the position. It seemed only right that the club took its time in making such a crucial appointment. Things will settle quickly now and the club will move forward into an incredibly exciting period. Craig brings experience to the role in a way that few others could and it was great to see the supporters get right behind him after he decided to take the role.

The daily pictures now emerging of the new stand’s progress are breath-taking. Tynecastle Park will open in November, hopefully with 14,000 season ticket holders in place, a sell out on the day and a substantial increase in facilities. It will be great to get ‘right behind the team’ as we return home for good.

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Many of you will have followed our ‘Deadline Day’ social media campaign, which timed nicely with Craig’s appointment. It was a very tongue-in-cheek campaign but really struck a chord with the supporters. We had an incredible day and at one point we were losing count of our new members. In the day or two that followed, the activity continued and we saw our new members move into treble figures, with a number of pledge increases too. It was a strong statement of us coming together as a support and, for this, we thank you.

You’ll find an update in this blog in relation to our draft Governance proposals and what you can expect to see next. You’ll also find an update on plot ceremonies and membership clubs, along with news about our upcoming supporter engagement plans. We are keen to be very visible to our members and continue to strengthen our ties with them. The Foundation’s presence at the Federation of Hearts Supporters Club monthly meeting began this process and also proved to be a really enjoyable night with some great discussions. Hopefully there will be more to come.

Everyone at the Foundation and the club is really grateful for your support, whether that is your monthly pledge, the increases we have seen to pledges, the many one-off donations we are now starting to see, or even your retweets of our social media activity. You can find everything you need to know on all of those topics at www.foundationofhearts.org

Future Governance

Our period of consultation on the long-term governance model for the Foundation and Hearts closed on 31 August. A number of members submitted detailed comments, while others provided feedback at the open meeting we held in the Gorgie Suite at Tynecastle in August. A discussion thread on our proposals also ran on the Kickback forum. Your feedback has been invaluable and we are grateful to everyone who participated.

The next stage is for our working group to consider all the comments received and review our proposals in light of that feedback. At the board meeting next month, our board of directors will approve a final set of proposals and these will be issued to our members. We will then ask our members to endorse the proposals at our forthcoming AGM, the details of which are confirmed later in this blog.

Supporter Engagement

As the Foundation moves closer toward fan ownership, we have turned our attention to increasing engagement not only with pledgers, but with all Hearts fans. The Foundation were recently invited to the Federation of Hearts Supporters’ monthly meeting alongside Gary Locke. We were delighted to accept and directors Stuart Wallace and Louise Strutt gladly attended on behalf of the board. At the meeting we had the opportunity to discuss our vision for even stronger fan engagement and the feedback was incredibly positive.

Louise has been tasked with leading the development and roll out of a supporter engagement strategy for the Foundation which will include the Foundation board visiting Hearts supporters’ clubs around the country to discuss the progress of the Foundation and recruit even more members to ensure Heart of Midlothian Football Club can continue to create history for many years to come.

Plans for these visits along with other initiatives such as a ‘meet the directors’ event and potential fans forum are currently being discussed and we hope to provide more information on these in the coming months. We will also be looking to reinstate our presence on matchdays as soon as the club return to a regular run of home fixtures, so watch out for our smiling faces around the ground.

Should you wish to receive any more information, or if you are interested in arranging a visit to your supporters’ club, please contact louise@foundationofhearts.org for more information.

Plot Ceremonies and Membership Clubs

PresentationWe continue to host plot ceremonies regularly for pledgers who have reached the required level of Maroon Points. The Tynecastle Redevelopment has made scheduling somewhat tricky but despite this we’ve now seen around 2,000 Foundation pledgers grace the hallowed turf at Tynecastle to stand proud atop their own little piece of history. As a reminder, members will be invited to ceremonies in the order in which they achieve the required level of points and if you fail to respond to two invites we will assume you do not wish to attend. At the moment, we have around 800 pledgers who have reached the Maroon Point limit but have not yet received an invitation. We are working through the backlog as fast as we can. Every pledger who reaches the total will receive an invitation and each plot ceremony is as special as the last, so please be patient and bear with us. The next plot ceremony we have scheduled is for the 22nd of October.

We also invited the first pledgers to reach 1,300 Maroon Points to collect their 1956 club certificate and badge at the Hearts museum over the summer. Over 400 pledgers have been invited to visit the museum and meet a club legend across a selection of dates. 400 more invitations will follow shortly. As with the plot ceremonies, we have a backlog of pledgers to get through so if you’ve reached this points total and haven’t yet received an invite, rest assured we are working on it.

Pledger Stories

PledgerPledger Ron Bain travelled all the way from Australia to attend his plot ceremony at Tynecastle earlier this year. Afterward, we asked him to tell us about what pledging to the Foundation means to him:

“My Plot Ceremony was awesome and felt like the culmination of my lifetime as a Hearts supporter.  I am 65 now and can recall being on my father’s shoulders outside the Roxy picture house that night in 1956 when Hearts carried the Cup home.  I have followed the Jambos ever since. Of course, there have been bad times like watching us lose 2-0 to Kilmarnock on the 24th April 1965 and walking home to my parents’ house in Westfield Court crying all the way.  We lost the title by 0.042 of a goal…….by today’s goal difference rules we would have won!!”

“Moving to Australia in 1983 drastically changed the level of information I had since it was well before the age of internet and I had to rely on the Sunday Post that my mother would send out.  Since then of course things have improved immensely.  Hearts FC coverage of games (and the regular cable channels) allow me to watch the team “live” but time difference for the majority of the season is 11 hours so a 3pm kick off at Tynecastle is 2am here in Australia.  Not always possible!!!”

“Above is a photo of me in my back yard holding the collection of Pennants I got from my Dad celebrating those wonderful years in the late 50s when the Hearts won just about everything. Unfortunately, you can’t see my name on the shirt since it sits just on my left shoulder blade, but I know it’s there!!”

The Foundation are hugely grateful for Ron’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 info@foundationofhearts.org.

Date for your diary – Foundation AGM

This year’s Foundation of Hearts AGM will be held in the Gorgie Suite at 6.00 on Wednesday, 20 December. Further details will be circulated to all members in due course.

If you have any questions or comments on this month’s blog please feel free to leave them below or direct them to info@foundationofhearts.org.

November 2016

November Plot Ceremonies

November saw two more successful plot ceremonies hosted at Tynecastle and another 100 pledgers walk on to the pitch to lay claim to their own little piece of history. The feedback from those who have attended to date has been incredible. One pledger attending on the 6th November described the ceremony as “an excellent day which was very memorable for me and my guest” which captures the sentiment of what we are continuing to hear from pledgers.

At each ceremony we ask FoH members to record their favourite Tynecastle memories. One video recorded this month with Roddie Hare gave a very unique perspective of growing up watching Tynecastle from a flat on Wheatfield Street. We think it is worth a watch and it can be viewed here on our facebook page.

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680 pledgers have now attended their ceremony and we have 1,185 who have reached the required Maroon Points total and are awaiting an invite. Please do be patient as we work through the backlog of invitations. We do occasionally experience challenges scheduling the ceremonies owing to the timing of home fixtures, stadium works and other events taking place at Tynecastle. However, we promise that all pledgers who have reach the required 1,000 points will be given the opportunity to attend. From the moment you walk into the Gorgie Suite on the day of your ceremony we do everything we can to show just how much your pledges and support mean to the Foundation and the Club. When the time comes for you to join us at Tynecastle for your ceremony, we hope that you will agree it was worth the wait.

AGM news

We announced this month on the website that we intend to hold our third AGM early in the new year. The principal factor driving the timing is that our constitution includes a process for the retirement of directors by rotation at specified intervals. Orderly rotation is important for the effective functioning of the board and its stewardship of the Foundation. The rules will operate for the first time in relation to our forthcoming AGM, and we are therefore allowing ourselves some time to plan the process and ensure that it operates in the best interests of the Foundation and its members. We will be in touch with you again as soon as we have finalised the date of the AGM. At the same time, we will also issue our 2016 annual accounts.

Tynecastle redevelopment update

Development of the new stand at Tynecastle commenced this month with demolition of the buildings in front of the old main stand. The hope is that the entire area in front of the main stand will be cleared by the end of the year with new works scheduled to begin in early 2017. As announced on the club website, a time lapse camera will be in position throughout the works to capture each step. More information is available in this article.

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At the date of publishing this blog the Foundation have contributed a total of £875k to the Tynecastle Redevelopment Project, 29% of the £3m total we have committed. Your pledges have never been more important as we push to retain our momentum through the redevelopment and beyond.

BigHearts Foodbank Collection

BigHearts Community Trust will be holding a food bank collection before our next home match vs Motherwell on Saturday 26th November to support a small local Edinburgh food bank in Broomhouse with their Christmas stock. The collection will take place in the entrance area of the Gorgie Dalry Stenhouse Church on the corner of Gorgie Road and Tynecastle Terrace from 1.30pm up until kickoff. Supporters are invited to drop off small donations of food on their way to the match. We hope as many of our pledgers as possible are able to contribute.

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FoH in the news

FoH made international news yet again this month, this time appearing in a Croatian newspaper. We loved the headline “We saved the club from bankruptcy and united the fans.” Unfortunately, that is as far as our Croatian goes but we have been assured by someone in the know that the article talks in glowing terms of our journey so far. The article came about as Croatian club Hajduk Split are considering producing a strip to thank their fans, much the same as last season’s FoH tribute kit. We were asked to share our story and we were more than happy to shout about it.

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Please note the blog will be taking a break over the festive period and will return in the new year. We wish all supporters a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

If you have any questions or comments on this month’s blog please feel free to leave them below or direct them to info@foundationofhearts.org.

October 2016

We stay. We build.

October brought the momentous news that every Heart’s fan has been waiting for – planning permission for the Tynecastle Redevelopment has been granted! Social media was awash with supporters revelling in what is another important moment in the club’s history. Works will now commence in November with the new stand expected to be operational by the end of 2017. It will be a sad day when the old main stand goes, but the new stand and the facilities in and around it will reaffirm Tynecastle’s status as one of Scotland’s best sporting venues – and ensure Hearts supporters have a home to be proud of for generations to come.

What the Hearts fans have achieved in such a short period of time really is a remarkable story and one that just keeps getting better. From Save Our Hearts keeping us at Tynecastle when it looked unlikely, to fans uniting to save the club from liquidation and now supporting the redevelopment of Tynecastle, we’ve shown that it is possible for a diverse fan base to unite behind a common goal and achieve something very special.

We are very proud of the pivotal role that Foundation members have played, and will continue to play, in the resurgence of Heart of Midlothian. At the date of publishing this blog, FoH members have contributed £750k to the Tynecastle Redevelopment Project, 25% of the promised total and an important milestone.

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We simply cannot rest on our laurels, however. We have achieved so much but we still have a long way to go on our journey. We need your support more than ever in the run up to Christmas and beyond. Speak to that friend that has been thinking about signing up for a while and help us spread the FoH message. It’s hugely important that we continue our momentum into the future. A stronger Foundation means a stronger club.

#fromthesefoundations

We launched our new #fromthesefoundations marketing message on social media and in an advert in the matchday programme this month. This aims to combine a sense of what we have achieved to date while also evoking a sense of the potential of what we might go on to achieve together in the future. Below are some snippets from our Twitter page. There is plenty more to come so watch this space.

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October Plot Ceremonies

October saw a further two successful plot ceremonies hosted at Tynecastle and another 100 pledgers claim their own little part of the hallowed turf at Tynecastle. We have now sent almost 1,200 invitations and a total of 575 pledgers have attended across 11 plot ceremonies.

The feedback on these events has been fantastic, with a pledger attending on 29 October remarking that the day really ‘touched on the heart strings’ and that his father attending as his guest had decided to sign up to the FoH after attending the ceremony! We’ve even had pledgers phone the reception at Tynecastle to comment on what a special occasion their ceremony was. This kind of feedback makes all the efforts that go into coordinating and running the ceremonies worthwhile.

At the moment we have 1,527 members who have reached the required total and are awaiting an invite. We are working through these as quickly as we can so please bear with us. The next ceremony is on the 6 November and we are very much looking forward to welcoming you to Tynecastle over the coming weeks and months.

FoH in the news

Finally, in case our members missed the article, our Chairman Brian Cormack was interviewed by Barry Anderson in the Edinburgh Evening News this month. The article, split into two parts, can be accessed here and here. Some of our favourite quotes are below.

“The club serves the community, more of the community become Hearts fans, it’s circular. Money comes into the club but there’s no profit made by the club as such. It’s all reinvested in the club, which then assists the community.”

“People have heard about fan ownership and it’s important to stress Hearts will be fan-owned, not fan-run… People want a club that’s well-managed. Because the shares will be owned by the Foundation, or the fans, it’s vital that Hearts will never be mismanaged by any one person again.”

“We’re working with the club to make sure that the governance of Hearts and Foundation of Hearts are correct. That’s not just for the next few years, but for the next 50 years.”

“We want the Foundation to be able to fund the club forever; to add £1.5million or maybe £2m to the budget at a really well-run club.”

If you have any questions or comments on this month’s blog please feel free to leave them below or direct them to info@foundationofhearts.org.

 

 

September 2016

An update from the FoH for the month of September.

This is our story

The club museum officially opened its doors to the public on the 23rd of September. Located in the old club shop on Tynecastle Terrace, the museum beautifully tells the story of our club’s rich heritage from 1874 to the present day. Among the tales of legendary players, cup wins and the McCrae’s Battalion era is a section dedicated to the latest chapter in our history – the story of how the fans saved the club. Entry to the museum is free of charge and we hope members find the time to visit and reflect on the magnitude of what our collective efforts have achieved. Ours is a history worth fighting for. The FoH members stepped up when it mattered to help ensure Heart of Midlothian Football Club will be preserved for generations to come.


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Plot ceremonies

It was fantastic to see more pledgers join us in the Gorgie suite in August and September for our latest round of plot ceremonies. Pictures will be made available soon but in the meantime you can watch this short video (available here) of our August ceremony. We hope all attendees enjoyed their day at Tynecastle. In the words of Director Garry Halliday, “you are the heart and soul of this football club”.

As a reminder, members will be invited to ceremonies in the order in which they achieve the required level of points and if you fail to respond to two invites we will assume you do not wish to attend. The next ceremonies are planned for 16th October, 6th November and 20th November.

Email to lapsed pledgers

We are fully committed to increasing pledger numbers while at the same time maintaining our existing pledger base. With this objective in mind we continually look for feedback that can help better inform future marketing and retention initiatives. As part of this we recently contacted members of the Foundation of Hearts whose pledge had stopped at some point since our inception in 2013, to find out why.

We sent approximately 1,800 emails and received a total of 87 replies (4.8%). We received a varied response and following a detailed review can summarise the main reasons as follows;

  • Change of financial circumstances due to job loss, illness or maternity leave and moving away (72 responses)
  • Issues with Paypal and Go Cardless or pledging under a different email address or ID (9 responses)
  • Footballing matters (6 responses)

In addition to the above, a few of our members have very sadly passed away and we have shared our gratitude and condolences with their families.

From the responses we did receive it is apparent that a large portion of member churn occurs due to changes in personal financial circumstances. At the FoH we only ask ever that fans contribute what they can, when they can. We will always be grateful to everyone who has stepped up to help the FoH on its journey. Every pledge really does make a huge difference and we hope to be able to welcome back those who find themselves able to contribute again in the future.

We have looked into the points raised regarding Paypal and GoCardless and are currently working with these providers to resolve the issues identified and also to improve the ease with which pledgers can adjust their contribution.

We are very grateful to all of those who took time to respond to our email and would welcome any further feedback to our inbox info@foundationofhearts.org.

If you would like to pledge for the first time or rejoin as a member, you can do this by visiting the website at www.foundationofhearts.org and click on pledge now, which will take you through the relevant steps.

On a similar theme, we are currently working on a Foundation Member Survey to gather more ideas and views from our members so watch this space. Your views and feedback will continue to guide the future direction and strategy of the FoH.

Heineken’s Hall of Fame Ticket Offer

This month the club announced a discount for FoH pledgers and season ticket holders on all tickets remaining for the forthcoming Hall of Fame ceremony and dinner. Associate sponsor for the event. Heineken UK has chosen to show their gratitude to Hearts’ fans by subsidising remaining tickets for the event. They hope that their gesture will enable a broader group of fans to attend what is the most prestigious event in the club’s calendar.

Set up in 2006, the Heart of Midlothian Hall of Fame honours the legends that have graced the famous Tynecastle turf. This list celebrates the great players, whose grit, skill, dedication and professionalism has wowed thousands of adoring Jambos. The 2016 ceremony will take place on this Saturday (1st October) when we will induct the latest set of legends. Full details are available here.

We hope that some of our pledgers are able to take advantage of this offer and enjoy what is sure to be another amazing night at Tynecastle.

Tynecastle Redevelopment Funding Update

At the date of publishing this blog FoH members have contributed £625k to the Tynecastle Redevelopment Project, just over 20% of the promised total and in line with schedule. We will continue to include a running total of contributions in future blogs.

Edinburgh Council are due to visit Tynecastle this month with a final decision scheduled to be made by the planning department in October. The club has been in dialogue with the council for a number of months and all going well work on the stand should begin in November and be operational within 12 months.

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Match day information desk

Our match day information desk will be open at all 3pm Saturday home games this season at our usual location in the reception at McLeod Street. All fans and pledgers are welcome to drop in and ask anything of the Board. We are at your disposal from 1.30 until shortly before kick off.

In memory of Robert Wilson – part of our Foundation

The FoH Board were extremely saddened by the news of the passing of Robert Wilson last month. Robert was instrumental in putting together the strategic and financial plan for the FoH bid team when Hearts were in administration, and over this challenging period, he played a very important part in drawing up the vision and the subsequent development of the Foundation. It was heartwarming to see his contribution to Heart of Midlothian acknowledged by a minute’s silence at a packed Tynecastle before the Hamilton game. A lifelong Hearts supporter, Robert was a key figure in the saving of our club and his legacy will never be forgotten.

If you have any questions or comments on this month’s blog, please feel free to leave them below or direct them to info@foundationofhearts.org.

August 2016

An update from the FoH in a month which saw the start of the 2016/17 campaign and another important milestone reached in the Tynecastle Redevelopment project.

Tynecastle Redevelopment Update

Another milestone was reached in the Tynecastle Redevelopment this month with the club formally submitting their planning application to the City of Edinburgh Council. This follows on from the public consultation that has been carried out in recent months. The Club is still hoping to achieve its target date of end of October, 2016 for achieving full planning approval.  Additionally, work is now well under way to create the new temporary facilities under the Wheatfield stand, which are on schedule to be available by the end of October.

In line with our members’ decision to assist with the funding of the stadium redevelopment, we are delighted to report that we have already remitted £500k to the club towards the project costs.  While the modification to the original FoH/Bidco agreement is being put together these funds are ring-fenced in a separate club account and will only be utilised when the revision to the FOH/Bidco agreement is finalised.  This will be well before the club actually needs to access the funds.

 

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FoH Young Ambassador

In previous blogs we have highlighted the story of the Morrison family and the commitment of young Daniel Morrison to the FoH cause. Having met Daniel on several occasions over the last few months the Board were moved by his unstinting love for all things HMFC. In August we were delighted to announce that Daniel has accepted our invitation to become our first ever FoH Young Ambassador.

Daniel made headlines last year when he donated an incredible £900 to the Foundation after earning pocket-money carrying out household chores, and his fund-raising efforts have continued unabated. Daniel’s pledges have also been matched by his dad Alan. Their selfless fund-raising drive epitomises the collective spirit demonstrated by all the supporters who helped save our club in its time of need and we’re immensely proud to be able to call him one of our own.

The 14-year-old was an outstanding candidate to be our first Young Ambassador but the Foundation are keen to recognise other young fans and more ambassadorial roles will be made available in the coming months.

A thrilled Daniel said: “It’s a great achievement and it allows me to help promote the Foundation of Hearts and help the club. Hearts are the love of my life, really.

“It’s definitely a honour. I was stunned when (FoH chairman) Brian Cormack asked me to do it, but I was obviously very happy about it. It’s an amazing feeling.

“It’s great being more involved with the club. From fund-raising and being at a plot ceremony, I’ve got to know Jack Hamilton and he gave me a pair of his gloves.”

Dad Alan added: “I’m very proud. I got the e-mail from Brian and I let his mother see it, and she was over the moon about the offer.

“I’ve brought Daniel up as a Hearts fan and you do what you have to do for the club.”

Foundation of Hearts chairman Brian Cormack commented: “We are thrilled Daniel has taken up the invitation to become the first Foundation of Hearts Young Ambassador.

“The unstinting support offered by both Daniel and Alan reinforces why we have such an exceptional and unique fan base.

“Although Daniel has attracted media interest with his staggering fund-raising efforts, everyone at the Foundation and the club appreciates every single donation and pledge made by you, regardless of its size.

“There will also be more opportunities for our young fans to become Ambassadors in the future.”

We hope that Daniel is the first of many FoH Young Ambassadors. We never cease to be amazed by the passion and enthusiasm of our young supporters and know that there are many out there just like Daniel carrying the FoH cause. If you are interested in joining Daniel to become an FoH Young Ambassador or want to nominate someone, please do get in touch and share your story.

 

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FoH Young Ambassador Daniel Morrison
pictured here with his Dad Alan
and FoH Chairman Brian Cormack

Match day stall

After a short summer break Football is back at Tynecastle. We will be resuming our match day drop in stand in the reception at McLeod Street. All fans and pledgers are welcome to drop in and ask anything of the Board. We are at your disposal from 1.30 right up until kick off.

If you have any questions or comments on this month’s blog please feel free to leave them below or direct them to info@foundationofhearts.org.

 

July 2016

An update from the Foundation of Hearts for the month of July.

Help us spread the FoH message

We have been working on a new initiative called ‘Pledge Pals’ which will reward existing pledgers for introducing members to our ranks. The scheme will be launched soon after the start of the season and will reward pledgers who introduce new members, with the chance to win a range of Hearts-related prizes. The more new members you introduce, the greater your chance of winning.

Now is the time to get out there and start helping us to spread the FoH message! Watch out for further details coming very soon.

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Financial update

Pledge numbers continued to increase in June hitting 8,083 which is the highest level since we introduced our Fan Reward scheme in June 2015. We attribute the increase in part to the impact of the Thanking the Fans Days held on the last day of the season which saw FoH representatives posted around Tynecastle before kickoff. We plan to have a similar presence on match days during the coming season.

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Following the result of the Stadium Funding vote last month, we made our first contributions toward funding of the new main stand at Tynecastle; another huge milestone in our journey.

Plot ceremonies

As mentioned last month, a number of you have now reached the 1,000 points required to qualify for an invitation to a Foundation of Hearts plot ceremony. We now have dates confirmed for the next two ceremonies as Sunday 21st August and Sunday 11th September (TV schedules permitting).

As a reminder, members will be invited in the order in which they achieve the required level of points. If you fail to respond to two invites, we will assume you do not wish to attend.

As ever, we are very grateful for your patience on this front. It’s a tribute to the many supporters who have signed up to the Foundation that we have a long list of people to receive invitations. We will get through the list and we look forward to welcoming new plotholders to the ceremonies over the coming months.

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Bowled over

We’ve had FoH strips, badges and T-shirts but July saw a real first when pledger Dougie Mackie asked a company in Australia to create his very own FoH bowls (pictured below).

Dougie said “I saw you could design your own emblem so sent them the FoH badge. I had a shot of them last night…played great with them, possibly because I’m in the honeymoon period!”

Long may his winning streak continue! We think they are a work of art!

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Big Hearts Supporter Blog

In previous blogs we have highlighted the Big Hearts Supporter initiative through which more than 700 Hearts fans have signed up to volunteer in the Edinburgh community. The first of these supporters have already made a huge difference and you can follow the experience of volunteer Harry Bell in the Big Hearts blog here. If his story inspires you, visit the Big Hearts website for details of how to be part of it.

If you have any questions or comments on this month’s blog please feel free to leave them below or direct them to info@foundationofhearts.org. Any questions regarding the Stadium Funding proposal should be addressed to info@foundationofhearts.org

June 2016

An update from the FoH in a month which saw pledgers strongly back plans to fund the redevelopment of Tynecastle and Club season ticket sales smash last year’s total surpassing 13,500. The #JourneyContinues………….

Stadium Funding Result

The vote on the stadium funding proposal closed on Wednesday 15th of May and the Board was delighted to receive such a strong backing from our membership. A total of 3,790 votes were cast with 3,747 (or 98.86%) voting in favour of the proposal. The proposed resolution is therefore passed and we are currently working with Bidco to formalise the changes proposed to the financial agreement. From June onwards, funds advanced from the FoH to the club will contribute toward the Tynecastle Redevelopment Project. The Board was very pleased that members showed such overwhelming support for the proposal which we firmly believe is in the best interests of the club and the FoH in the long term.

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The club will now push forward with the development with work scheduled to start before the end of the year. When the works are completed we will have a stadium with first class facilities befitting a club of our history and stature. The stand will become the centrepiece of a revived Tynecastle for generations to come. FoH pledgers can stand proud in the knowledge that they were a key part of making it possible.

Financial update

Pledge numbers increased in May to marginally above 8,000, having dropped below that level at the start of the year. We saw the club mailshot have a marked impact on interactions with the FoH blog and website as well as 77 new members joining our ranks. We were also very grateful to Jambos Kickback who increased their pledge from £100 to £200 per month in May, contributing to an increase on overall monthly income to over £127,500. From June we will pay 95% of all pledger contributions to the club as part of the stadium funding arrangement. Whether it’s £10 or £100, your pledges make a huge difference, as was underlined by Club manager Robbie Neilson in a recent interview with the Evening News:

“The club will never overspend again. The money coming in from the fans through the Foundation of Hearts is vital to us. It is the lifeblood of the club. Everyone within Tynecastle has a responsibility to look after that money. It is the responsibility of everybody to make sure the money is well used. It is people’s hard-earned cash, at the end of the day.” – Robbie Neilson

Big Hearts Supporters’ Open Event

Our friends at Big Hearts held their first Supporters’ Open Event on Thursday 9th of June and director Donald Cumming attended as a representative of FoH. The Big Hearts team updated fans on the Supporters Movement and provided the opportunity to learn more about a range of volunteering opportunities available with Big Hearts and associated charitable organisations. Current opportunities range from cleaning up community spaces in Gorgie and Dalry to working in the St Columba’s Hospice shop. The evening was well attended and it is hoped that the opportunities featured will be filled by some of the 700+ Hearts fans (including all current FoH directors) who signed up to be Big Hearts Supporters earlier this year. If you have time to spare and want to help a great local cause, visit the Big Hearts website for details of how to be part of it.

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Pledger Interview – Alan and Daniel Morrison

Young Hearts super fan Daniel Morrison has been fundraising again, after donating an incredible £650 to the Foundation of Hearts.

The 14-year-old pledged £900 last October after being paid for carrying out extra chores around the house, and dad Alan also matched that figure.

But the aspiring goalkeeper continued his crusade to raise money for his beloved club by handing over another £650. Alan – an FoH pledger – has again agreed to match that amount, while Daniel hopes to donate around another £150 in October.

Everyone involved at the FoH and the club is immensely grateful for Daniel’s staggering fundraising efforts, especially at a time when plans for the new main stand are taking shape.

Alan said: “Daniel has pledged another £650 from pocket money doing chores around the house and I have matched what he’s put in.

“He’s been doing things like carry wood as we’ve got wood burners in the house, and painting iron gates. He’s done a lot of chores.

“We’ve made sure he keeps some of the money for himself, though – his main love is his Xbox.

“Part of the reason that Daniel wanted to donate more money was because of the building of the main stand and he is planning to put another £150 in by October.

“It’s very exciting times at the club at the moment and I have total faith in Ann Budge and everything she is doing there. We know the fans’ money is going to be well spent.”

Alloa-based Daniel, who will take part in a cup final on Saturday for Wasps 2002, has been grateful for words of advice – and a pair of gloves – from Jack Hamilton after meeting the Hearts shot-stopper at an FoH virtual pitch plot ceremony.

Alan added: “Daniel met Jack at one of the plot ceremonies and Jack was absolutely fantastic with Daniel.

“I e-mailed Ann’s secretary to thank Jack for taking the time to speak to Daniel and I believe the e-mail was passed on to Jack.

“Jack even went away and got Daniel a pair of his gloves. I’ve got a lot of time for him.”

Foundation of Hearts chairman Brian Cormack said: “On behalf of the Foundation of Hearts, I would like to thank both Alan and Daniel for their incredible contributions. Daniel’s desire to raise money for the club is fantastic and hugely appreciated by everyone at both the Foundation and Hearts.

“We’re honoured to have both the support of Alan and Daniel. Their contributions are indicative of the backing given by the entire fan base as we continue the journey towards fan ownership.”

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Plot ceremonies

We have been awaiting next season’s fixtures before finalising dates for the next batch of plot ceremonies. A number of you have now reached the 1,000 points required to qualify for an invitation. As a reminder, members will be invited in the order in which they achieve the required level of points and if you fail to respond to two invites we will assume you do not wish to attend. If you have reached the points total and have not yet received an invite, please do be patient and rest assured that we will be in touch.

certificates

Photographs from the ceremonies held in previous months are now available at these links: March and May.

If you have any questions or comments on this month’s blog please feel free to leave them below or direct them to info@foundationofhearts.org. Any questions regarding the Stadium Funding proposal should be addressed to info@foundationofhearts.org.