The Foundation continued with its forward momentum throughout May with membership again reaching its highest ever level. Commitment to the cause is as high as ever and we will be working hard to ensure that this continues over the summer months.
Our blog this month includes Ian Murray’s heart-felt resignation letter, my own personal reflection on my first six months as a Director and other news from the Foundation.
Ian Murray Resigns
At the May Board our Chairman Ian Murray announced his intention to stand down from his position as Chairman of the Foundation and Director of the Club. Ian has contributed an enormous amount during his tenure; acting as a spokesperson, advocate and leader. His resignation letter to the Board was a moving tribute to the progress we have made together and is included below, unedited and in full:
RESIGNATION FROM THE FOUNDATION OF HEARTS BOARD
I write this letter with a very heavy heart.
It is with great regret that I write formally to the Board of Directors of the Foundation of Hearts to formally tender my resignation as the Chair of FoH and a Board Director with effect from our financial year end of 30 June 2015.
Since my re-election last week I have taken on a number of senior responsibilities that will reduce the spare time I have available to dedicate to others interests. I have, after much soul searching, taken the decision that the FoH requires a new Chair and Director that can give maximum attention to growing the membership beyond 10,000 and prepare the organisation for full supporter ownership.
I never envisaged that I would be involved in the saving of my beloved club. I always remember sitting on my father’s knee when I was very young and he would recall stories of Hearts greats and games. The main topic of conversation when the family got together at Christmas and for other social occasions was our favourite club. All those stories were not always favourable but they were cherished memories nonetheless.
Hearts means so much to me and tens of thousands of others. We can all say why, but for me it is because my father died at the same age I am today. He left my older brother at 13 and me at 9. The glue that stuck our family together was the maroon glue from Tynecastle both before his death and certainly afterwards. The few memories I have of him are from the terraces watching Hearts. That is why we should never let any club die. It means too much to too many people, regardless of who you support.
Over 30 years later I, myself, can recall too many times watching Hearts that I have shed a tear of joy or disappointment, hugged and kissed a complete stranger, danced for joy on a concrete terracing, and sang myself hoarse. Those are what memories are made of.
When I answered my mobile a few years ago and was asked to help Hearts, I did it without hesitation despite the considerable political risks. It has not been an easy few years but just to see smiles on the faces of supporters that are proud of their club again has made it all worthwhile.
I’m very proud that Ann Budge is transforming the club and Scottish Football.
I’m very proud of each and every one of the supporters who dug deep time and time again to save our club.
I’m very proud of everyone, both past and present at FoH.
I’m very proud that FoH and Ann have made sure that fathers, uncles, mothers and aunties of the future can recall the stories of the past to their loved ones.
I’m very proud to have been part of the team who helped to own the history and create the future – but there is a time for everyone to move on.
Generations of future Jambos will look back on these times and say “we did that” and I’m glad to have played a small part in that story.
I will also as a result be standing down from the Club Board. I wish the new Director and Chair all the very best of luck in the future and offer my help and advice whenever it is required.
Long may our beloved club continue to play an integral part in Edinburgh, local communities and in the lives of everyone who loves her.
It’s been one of the greatest pleasures and privileges of my life.
Best wishes and good luck.
Yours for Hearts,
Ian Murray MP
Ian leaves with the best wishes of the Foundation and the Club Board. He will remain a member of the Foundation and, as a member, will continue to play an important role in creating history at Tynecastle.
Brian Cormack, who last month joined the Club Board, will succeed Ian as Chairman of the Foundation. Ian’s departure also leaves a vacancy on the Foundation and Club Boards which will be filled by due process in the coming months.
Proud to pledge pin badge
We’ve listened to comments on previous blogs as well as feedback from members at our match day stand and are pleased to confirm that we have arranged for the manufacture of an official Foundation of Hearts pin badge. Having succeeded in supporting the Club through one of the most difficult and testing periods in its history, we believe our members have a lot to puff out their chests and be proud about. We hope members will wear the badge to show they are part of our movement and are proud to pledge. The badge will be available for a voluntary cash donation and we are working to have it available for the new season. As ever, all proceeds raised will be used to support the Club on its return to the Premiership. Watch this space for further details.
6 Months at the Foundation
Six months have passed since the Foundation’s inaugural AGM last December and, as the Foundation’s first member to be elected to the Board, I thought it apt to conclude this month’s blog with some personal reflections on my involvement.
I admit I had a degree of nervousness on the morning of my first Board meeting. The prospect of an audience with the likes of Ian Murray and Ann Budge, people I had previously only read about with admiration, was a daunting one. I have to say, however, that everyone associated with the Foundation and the Club could not have made me more welcome. I’ve felt the full support of the Heart’s family since the day I was elected. Everyone is open and receptive to new ideas which makes every meeting interesting, engaging and productive.
Since my election I’ve sought to be involved and share my ideas wherever possible. I’ve supported several of our initiatives and have worked on things ranging from member communication to getting up to speed on financial control (being an accountant, I just couldn’t resist!).
In terms of member communication, the feedback we have received suggests that this blog has gone some way to improving communication between the Board and members. However, I think we can still do more and our Marketing and Member Engagement Committee meets regularly to ensure members continue to be engaged in and informed of our ongoing activities. I’ve also spent time at Tynecastle and our match day stand talking to members and listening to their views and feedback on the Foundation. The idea for the pin badge, for example, came from a member who sits next to me at Tynecastle, so I can’t take any of the credit for that!
From a financial point of view, I’ve drawn on the expertise from my accountancy background to enhance the monthly financial reports reviewed by the Board. The contribution of every member is precious and I think it is important we continue to adopt our ‘every penny is a prisoner’ approach to costs to continue to make sure that more than 95% of our income flows directly to the Club.
My first six months at the Foundation have been exciting, fascinating and challenging in equal measure. I’ve been struck by one thing above all and that is the absolute and unrelenting desire from everyone involved to do the right thing by Heart of Midlothian Football Club. Every decision made at the Foundation is centered on that core principal. Hearts people making the decisions for Hearts. The way it should always have been. I am massively proud every day to be a part of that.