Foundation of Hearts – March 2019 Blog

logoFoundation of Hearts Chair, Stuart Wallace

Welcome to our March 2019 Blog, a bumper issue with a great deal to update our members on.

You will find detailed coverage in this issue on our recent Foundation Day and a ‘why I pledge’ from Neil Grant who sang his recently scribed song ‘There will always be Heart of Midlothian’ in tribute to all Foundation of Hearts members. Neil gave a stunning performance of his song immediately before kick-off on Foundation Day. This was undoubtedly one of my highlights of the day, along with the incredible flag display in the Wheatfield Stand. What a stunning backdrop to the teams emerging from the tunnel, it looked spectacular from the new main stand.

Aside from Foundation Day, you will also find details about our upcoming membership club events.

Work at the Foundation continues unabated, you will see that we are now almost half way towards repaying the Bidco loan. When we reach that milestone sometime in spring/summer 2020, Foundation of Hearts will acquire the majority shareholding in Heart of Midlothian FC, on behalf of our members. Our governance proposals were approved at our December AGM, giving the club and the Foundation a structure which allows the club to get on with footballing business day to day while protecting the long term interests of our supporters. I would like to express my gratitude to all members of the governance committee, who put in such diligent work to bring us to this point.

As a board we will be doing some thinking across the next few months about the next stage of the Foundation’s journey. Many members have made clear their intention to #pledgeforlife and we hope to bring forward our thoughts later this year and engage directly with our members on the substantial part we can all play in continuing to build and strengthen our football club for future generations. This has become the biggest fan initiative in British football and we are determined to give you every opportunity to keep up that momentum.

Enjoy the blog, please give us any feedback at the email address listed at the bottom.

 

Foundation Day

In what is becoming an annual event, the club hosted Foundation Day on 26 January – the match against St Johnstone.

Foundation day_2

The purpose of the day was to thank fans for their superb efforts which played such a huge role in saving our club and which remain a vital part of the club’s financial well-being. Here’s part of the script which Scott Wilson delivered on the day and which sums up the key messages: “Together we saved our club for future generations. Together we have written an outstanding chapter in this great club’s story. Together we have rebuilt our maroon world. And together we will keep this amazing initiative moving forward on behalf of Heart of Midlothian Football Club.”

The mood was upbeat and positive, and the stunning flag display in the Wheatfield Stand captured this perfectly. It truly was an emotional scene as the banks of maroon and white flags created movement and colour and delivered a powerful, unforgettable, passionate statement from Hearts supporters united in celebration of their club. It was a scene that will be long remembered.

Before kick-off, singer Neil Grant – who had travelled from Sweden for the occasion – sang his tribute song, “There Will Always be Heart of Midlothian”, and the players came together to hold a banner which read: ‘Celebrating our Maroon World. Thank you to Hearts fans here and around the globe’. A special matchday programme was produced by the club and this featured an article by Foundation chair, Stuart Wallace, as well as quotes from Foundation members around the world. Stuart and Ann Budge were interviewed on the pitch at half-time and repeated the message of thanks to Hearts supporters, a message which Craig Levein also delivered eloquently in his post-match interviews.

Foundation Day was a great success and we would like to thank everyone who made it possible, particularly the club who hosted it and the staff members there who were so helpful. Also, thank you to the hardy band of volunteers who turned up early in the morning to put flags at every seat in the Wheatfield Stand, to those who manned the pledge stations and spread the word about the Foundation, and to all Hearts fans, without whom, it needs hardly be said, this day would never have happened.

 

Why I Pledge – Neil Grant

We asked FoH pledger, lifelong Hearts fan and folk singer Neil Grant what the club and pledging to the Foundation means to him:

Folk Singer_1My family have been Hearts supporters through many generations, so in the year 1976 I was seamlessly born into the maroon tradition (without any protest!).  It was around ’83 that my Dad took me to Tynecastle for the first time.   We were in the old Second division at the time and defeated Raith Rovers 2-0 that day courtesy of goals from John Robertson and Gary Mackay.  Straight from the off, I embraced the club fanatically and was fortunate enough to catch the great team of 85/86 on many occasions.  How could you not develop a deep love for the club after going though such excitement and heartache!?  I grew up in a highland village called Culbokie, near Inverness so I think that being one of the only Jambos in the area made me stand-up for the club that wee bit more.  Nowadays, I live in Gothenburg, Sweden but never fail to miss a match on Hearts TV (I even manage to fly over to Edinburgh for a few games every season).  No matter what phase my life has gone through over my 41 years, being an avid Hearts supporter is something that’s always remained constant. 

The administration period of a few years ago was a very worrying time, so when Ann Budge and the Foundation came into the picture it seemed obvious to me that this was the only capable vehicle to guide us to safety.  Thankfully there were about 7000 other people who felt the same way!  The fact that the organisation was made up of genuine Hearts fans with no ulterior motives other than saving the club and stabilising the future only strengthened my trust.  Communication has been crystal-clear to the members throughout every step of the journey and I believe that such transparency has played a huge part in its success.  If any group of fans in Scotland have the right to refer to their club as “we”, then it’s us!

As a songwriter, I was so inspired by the FOH movement that I felt compelled to write a folk-song about this crucial period in our history.  The heart-felt lyrics focus mainly on what the fans have done for the club rather than the achievements on the park.  As I write this one-week on from releasing the track, support has been truly overwhelming and seems to have struck a real chord with many supporters.  So, understandably I’m an incredibly proud Jambo at the moment and would like to thank everybody who has supported me thus far.  I hope that the track will make all my fellow FoH members proud of what we’ve accomplished and will continue to achieve in the years to come.  Plus, let’s not forget….  even if we are in safe waters at the moment, every single new pledger definitely helps to strengthen our hand, so let’s keep spreading the word and keep this great club booming!

You can listen to Neil’s song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWf37afkKJo and watch the video with footage from Foundation Day here: https://youtu.be/vhtniRrJPDc.

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.

 

Foundation AGM

The fifth Foundation of Hearts AGM was held at 6pm in the Gorgie Suite on 19 December. More than 100 pledgers turned out to hear an update on Foundation business from Chair Stuart Wallace. The evening had a packed agenda with presentation of the Foundation annual accounts, the election of two directors to the Foundation board and a vote on the Foundation’s governance proposals.

Directors_1In his address, Stuart reflected on what was another successful year for the Foundation during which a number of key milestones were achieved; the first ever Foundation Day; completion of £3m in contributions to the Tynecastle Redevelopment Project and finalisation of our governance proposals to name just a few.

Director_2Director_3

Directors Louise Strutt and Garry Halliday were both re-elected to the board. To his immense credit, Brian Muir, who had also stood as a candidate, made it clear he is keen to contribute to the Foundation regardless of the outcome of the vote.

There was also a constructive discussion in the room on the Foundation’s governance blueprint and the vote concluded with 99% of pledgers voting in favour of the proposals. The Foundation board will now move forward on the mandate to put those proposals into effect, working closely with the club to ensure any legal or financial changes (e.g. changes to the articles and/or presentation of financial accounts) are in hand to reflect the change in majority ownership.

The AGM election documents can be found here.

Funding update

At the time of writing the Foundation has received more than £8.4m in pledges. We’re in the process of repaying the Bidco loan with £1.2m, 44%of the required £2.5m, now having been advanced. So, we’re (almost) half way to acquiring the majority shareholding in our club. Pledges have held up extremely well over the festive season and we’re delighted with our progress. As ever, each and every pledge continues to be precious and we’re grateful for your incredible support.

 

Plot ceremonies and membership clubs

The next scheduled plot ceremonies will take place on the 31st March and 7th of April 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 large number of you who have now reached this level of points.

We’re also continuing to schedule membership club evenings at Tynecastle with more invitations about to go out for two forthcoming dates.

 

Date for the diary

The 4th Big Hearts Day will take place at Tynecastle on Saturday 30th of March at the Hearts v Aberdeen game.

 

Contacting us

We want to make it as easy as possible for pledgers to contact us and receive a prompt response. We have three 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.

21 thoughts on “Foundation of Hearts – March 2019 Blog”

  1. How can 1point from 7 games be acceptable to management Its an absolute disgrace I worry about next season unless something drastic is done to improve situation Have put off increasing pledge in hope things improve

  2. Thanks for all the comments this month and for the words of encouragement.

    As a side note to some of the comments raised about club matters, our chair Stuart spoke recently to EEN on the principle of ‘fan owned, not fan run’ and you can view it here: https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/ann-budge-will-get-final-say-on-key-hearts-decisions-after-foh-transfer-1-4892876.

    Alan – unfortunately the Foundation scarfs were limited edition and are no longer available. We still have plenty of badges from the last Foundation Day and if you’d like to get your hands on one of those please let me know.

    Barry

  3. Just watched an episode of Homes under the hammer. One of the golden rules they keep repeating is always view a property before you bid for it. I wonder how many of his “properties” Levein has viewed before bidding for them, precious few on the evidence.

  4. Sorry to say I have to agree with most of the comments At the moment watching Hearts is soul destroying Have been following Hearts for 60 yrs apart from a few exceptions the players don’t show any fight for the team Get the young lads in the team who will show some spirit and desire

  5. I’m proud of the FOH, Ann Budge and her directors, staff of our great club. Being a FOH member, a shareholder & season ticket holder i believe the only thing wrong with our club is the poor management of our team. The vast majority of my family, friends and supporters club can’t understand how Craig Levein and his staff have not been sacked.

  6. Sadly I have to agree with most of the posts. Something is clearly not right at the moment at Tynie, but putting one’s finger on the reason is not easy.
    I do happen to think that we have the players capable of performing to expectations, proven by our performances against the Old Firm and the Dons. Why therefore we should morph into the lethargic, devoid of ideas outfit that has struggled recently against “lower” teams is baffling.
    We must at least show a greater directness, speed and energy, a game plan that is not always, pass, pass, pass then hoof, not always hopeful crosses into the box and not always a reliance on set pieces to conjure up goals.
    Our “shots on target” counts have been abysmal; no one seems prepared to shoot and when one does, goalkeepers are rarely tested.
    We don’t have a settled team, our defence – previously our backbone – is creaking and confidence throughout is clearly not there.
    Responsibility can only lie with the manager and coaching team. Only they can sort this out and if they can’t then questions should be asked.

  7. I’ve always been a Levein supporter but the latest performance has been shameful. Has the same team selection been made for two/three weeks in a row.
    CL said at the AGM “he loves Harry Cochrane ” well why doesn’t he play him. Several of the new signings have been diabolical. The new striker turns up unfit?? I think we need a new manager and let CL ‘go upstairs’. He’s been a great servant for Hearts and I don’t want him to leave the club. But who do we get. Spend some money and get Steve Clarke. He’s the best in our league. Any other suggestions?

  8. The standard of players brought in by Craig Levein is nothing short of dire. The formation we play, one up front, then pass, pass, pass to reach the halfway line , then pump forward a high ball is pathetic. How does Clare and Djoum get selected week in, week out and stay on the park for 90+ minutes and contribute almost nothing. Why are we not playing the youngsters who promised so much when Robbie Neilson was in charge? Levein is clueless on tactics. All he want is to add more defensive players and I fear if we make top 6 then we are in for 5 defeats to finish the season. I am still contributing to FoH, but if this continues with Levein in charge I will be considering if it is worth it.

  9. I have to agree with most of the comments . The responsibility lies with the manager , at the moment we will struggle to beat ICT in the semi .I would rather see the youngsters in the team give their all and play with pride, which is not happening . Steven Naismith cannot carry this team a kick up the backside is required for most of the rest. They seem frightend to make mistakes.

  10. Craig is a Hearts legend but he is yesterday’s man. He doesn’t have the stomach for this anymore. He needs to go and go means go not back upstairs and Daly or McPhee to takeover. Fresh approach is badly needed. Just give us what we deserve.

  11. Ann Budge — You must make the change — preferably after winning the Scottish Cup — Leopards do not lose their spots — Deep breath Ann — please prepare now — Thank You — Bert

  12. I think its time levein went he’s not man hearts he doesn’t have the passion when we played our youngsters we had a great team then they get dropped this changing team every game is no good we need a manager with passion to win and understand what it is to manage hearts levein is simply not good enough and be at has been

  13. What Hearts fans and the FOH have created is nothing short of miraculous,the new stand and infrastructure is now in place for the club to thrive,however like many FOH pledgers and season tickets holders I have grown ever frustrated at the disappointing displays from the football department with the standard and number of players turning up at Hearts baffling.I see no enthusiasm,pride or Heart in the 1st team and a subdued coaching staff.I feel a change is required for progress.

  14. Thank you for all the hard work FOH.

    This is just not working out for Craig Levein and his coaching staff.
    Our style of football is eye bleeding to watch and I can’t see us winning many games between now and the end of the season.
    Very similar to last season.
    We need a change with fresh ideas and free flowing football.
    Do the right thing before it’s too late!

  15. Levine must go.At the club A.G.M. just after the debacle at Livingston.Levine stood up and siad he is doing his best but that might not be good enough.His best is not good enough and he should be moved .

  16. As an Australian based Foundation member I have to say I concur with many of the aggrieved supporters. The efforts of our players over the past 4 months has been nothing short of pathetic. As a Jambo supporter for over 75 years (lifted over the turnstiles by my late father) I would dearly love my team to play the young players (Cochrane,McDonald ect) who have the Jambo’s in their blood and,stop changing the team every week and give the players an opportunity to gell as a team. Irrespective of these concerns I still love my team and will continue my pledge whatever transpires in the future.

  17. I’m afraid I have witnessed recently far to many mediocre players in the Hearts team. For instance I was lead to believe that Sean Clare and Vanececk were two high calibre players that the coaching staff had done their homework on. Up to know and after a lot of fanfare ( in my opinion) they have been a major disappointment. I question the wisdom of the coaches and scouts who recommended these players to Hearts, and also question the gullibility of the management who are wasting our good money. Do the management get appraisals? as all us do in our jobs? because if they do they would get 2 out of 10 in my book. What is the point of playing 1 striker against a team second bottom of the league, loosing a goal and having 1 or 2 shots on goal in the second half? I’m sorry but if this manager and coaching staff were to go, I wouldn’t loose any sleep, in fact I’de waive them goodby.

  18. Being not the only supporter shocked at the feeble effort off the present incumbents of the Hearts jerseys, Ikpeazu, Djoum, Berra & Soutar exempted from criticism. The rest should be utterly ashamed at performances WELL below what’s expected from Hearts players. I am totally embarrassed to the point of not bothering to acquire a cup ticket as I and many others see another shambolic defeat at the hands of Inverness, who will be up for this game more so than these players wearing our clubs shirts.
    Is there problems at Tynecastle with players?

  19. As a pledger from the beginning I would like to get a Foundation Of Hearts Scarf. Unfortunately I missed out in getting one when they were released the first time.
    So I was wondering if there is a way to get one.
    Thanks Alan Faichney

  20. Congratulate everyone behind the scenes for all the wonderful work stabilising the club, new stand etc but………
    Arguably, we are the worst team to watch in the league at present. Although we have scraped into the semi final, the way Hearts are playing there is no guarantee that Hearts can beat anyone at present. On the field we are going backwards. Hamilton, St Mirren, Dundee and Partick Thistle(2nd game) all looked better outfits than Hearts
    My worry is that if this continues (we may not make the top six) FOH contributions will dry up and seasons tickets will not get sold
    Can you advise what action is being taken to improve things on the pitch which is the main concern for Hearts supporters at the moment?

Comment Here:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *