March 2016

The latest news from the FoH in a month where the team wore the FoH tribute kit at Tynecastle for the first time, picking up three points and solidifying their third place position in the SPL…

A fitting tribute

In what was a momentous moment for all members of the Foundation, the Hearts first team took to the Tynecastle pitch on Saturday 5 March for the game against Partick Thistle wearing the FoH tribute kit. The jersey features the names of the 8,000 supporters who have provided vital financial backing for the club through their pledges to the Foundation. As director Garry Halliday fittingly put in in his video interview: “So many legends have played on the pitch at Tynecastle over the years. Today, all the legends are sitting in the stands.”

Foundation Chair Brian Cormack also commented: “This is a memorable day for all Foundation of Hearts pledgers and is a wonderful gesture by the players as they wear – with pride – the Foundation tribute jersey for the match. In doing so, they pay tribute to the supporters who have played such a massive role in saving the club, in providing a strong foundation which allows it to be so well managed by Ann Budge and her team, and in helping Robbie Neilson to add quality players to his squad. The entire Hearts fanbase has played an extraordinary role in enabling our club to prosper and move forward, and we acknowledge everyone’s part in this achievement.”

The team proudly wearing the FoH tribute kit before kick-off
The team proudly wearing the FoH tribute kit before kick-off

As well as our usual match day reception, representatives from the FoH also spoke to supporters in the Gorgie Suite about the Foundation’s story. A number of new pledgers joined the ranks, proving that it really is never too late to play your part in shaping the future of our football Club.

Whether your name is on the sleeve, chest, armpit or rear; each and every name on the strip is etched into Heart of Midlothian’s history forever. Every pledge makes a huge and lasting difference and we hope you shared our immense pride on this special occasion.

Financial update

Following the anticipated seasonal drop in pledgers reported in our January blog we were very pleased to see pledge numbers return to over 8,000 in March. The increase has been driven by both returning pledgers as well as new fans signing up for the first time. We think that campaigns such as “never too late” and our increased presence in the stands before the match against Motherwell have contributed to the increase and we will continue to push hard on our marketing efforts to ensure the upward trend continues. The increase means total contributions for March were a healthy £127k with an average contribution of £15.98 per member. As ever, we will not rest on our laurels and continue to push hard to increase our membership; the stronger the Foundation, the stronger the Club.

Governance meeting

In early March the FoH Board hosted another successful meeting regarding future governance with executives from HMFC. We are nearing completion of a blueprint which will form the basis of a more formalised governance framework for the FoH and its interaction with the Club at the point it becomes majority shareholder. Above all, the Club must continue to prosper for the fans and the wider community and never again be mismanaged or controlled by one individual. The blueprint will be based on the core principle that the Club should be operated by an appointed and accountable Board and executive team (much like the current structure) with the FoH forming a nurturing and watchful majority shareholder. In this way, transition to fan ownership will be seamless and without impact on the day to day operations of the Club; a point we believe is absolutely essential. More detailed information will be provided to pledgers in due course.

No mystery: Rebus actor is a proud pledger

Earlier this month FoH pledger Ken Stott, known for playing Inspector John Rebus in the TV series of the same name, spoke to us about what being part of the Foundation movement means to him. The interview, published on our website, is shared below for those who may have missed it on social media.

Even with his vast experience in front of the camera, actor and Hearts supporter Ken Stott could not have scripted a more remarkable transformation at Tynecastle.

From being gripped by fear over the genuine prospect of liquidation, to the euphoria of clinching the Championship title and being on the verge of a return to the European stage, Ken – like his Hearts peers – has experienced the roller coaster of emotions.

When the curtain came down on the previous regime, the 61-year-old Rebus actor was only too happy to help play his part in creating a new narrative. Stott was one of the thousands of fans that signed up to the Foundation of Hearts as the supporters’ group plotted a bright new era alongside main protagonist Ann Budge.

“I’m so proud of the Foundation and proud of Ann, Craig (Levein) and Robbie (Neilson) – what a fantastic situation we now find ourselves in,” said Stott.

“To see Heart of Midlothian transformed into something we always wanted it to be, a family club, a club that has warmth.

“We knew that something had to happen and we knew there were enough people that loved the club. It was getting to be pretty hairy at one point but all of a sudden we’ve moved on, and we really are the pride of Scottish football. It’s something we can all be proud of and I’m delighted to have my name on the tribute kit.”

Recalling how he fell in love with Hearts, Stott, who tries to get to games when his busy schedule allows, said: “For me, I was five years old; we were a Hearts supporting family.

“My father, David, was a Hearts supporter. He was brought up in Tollcross, in Lady Lawson Street. He said to me one day, ‘would you like to come to Tynecastle?’ I hadn’t a clue what he was talking about, I thought he was talking about going to see a castle. I thought, ‘well that’s nice, I like castles’.

“I had no idea it was going to be anything like that, what an extraordinary event watching in this massive crowd. Of course, I’d never seen anything like that but I was hooked. I loved the maroon and white, I had no idea what I was looking at to be perfectly honest but it was the Hearts that I liked.”

Stott was thrilled to be in the company of Hearts majority shareholder Budge at the tail end of last season for the Championship title party last March.
He added: “I was very proud to be able to sit beside Ann. It was the first game after Hearts had won the league and we were playing Queen of the South at Tynecastle. That was a tremendous day, I sat next to her in the directors’ box and it was a very proud moment.

“I had a wee tear thinking of my father. He loved Hearts, we stood on the terracing together on many an occasion and there I was in the directors’ box sitting next to Ann Budge – what a lovely feeling that was.”

Ken Stott is #proudtopledge to the FoH
Ken Stott is #proudtopledge to the FoH

For Hearts, it’s Never Too Late

As many of you will have seen on social media and in the matchday programme, we are continuing to run a membership campaign under the heading (and the hashtag) ‘Never Too Late’. The key message is for supporters who have not yet signed up to the Foundation, highlighting that their contributions and support will make a huge difference and that it is not too late to pledge.

We’re using special moments from Hearts matches to get the message over, and club legends such as Willie Bauld, Alfie Conn, Mark Bell (late, late winner in the 1901 Cup Final), Wayne Foster, Osman Sow and Alim Ozturk have already featured. We’ve been getting a great reaction to the campaign and aim to keep it running for a while yet. There have been plenty of ‘never too late’ achievements and we’ve certainly enjoyed doing the research. Thanks for all the feedback so far.

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.

13 thoughts on “March 2016”

  1. Hi Jammy Dodger

    Thank you for your comment and apologies for the slight delay in my response. You raise a very valid point and it is our intention to share more on our governance vision in due course.

    We work extremely hard to market the FoH in a way that attracts more pledgers and share via the blog the various initiatives we have been using to do this (Maroon Points is just one example). I’d welcome any thoughts or ideas you may have on specific things we could pursue to push up our pledge numbers. Just drop me a note at barry@foundationofhearts.org or pop in to the stand on Saturday (or any other home game).

    Barry

  2. Hi FOH,
    I am with Alan Frain on the future and voting. FOH need to provide guidance on voting rights. Personally, I think a person contributing £30 per month has more votes than somebody who contributes £10 per month.
    We are over half way thru the 5 year project. A project I believe which will run over 5 years and until the new stand is paid for and I am ok with that. We, the FOH, have important democratic decisions to make in the years ahead. Things like the naming of the new stand. Do we seek sponsorship for the stands or even the ground, eg, BT Tynecastle Park. Or Standard Life Gorgie Stand. You catch my drift.
    I was disappointed how many people participated in the vote for the new FOH committee member late last year. Something like 1200 out of 8000. There needs to be an attempt to increase participation and maybe expand the way you can vote, eg, text.
    I have also been disappointed that the number of FOH members has not increased. When you consider there are 13k+ season ticket holders, we seem to be missing a trick somewhere. Maybe as people renew there season tickets in the next couple of months we could get the ticket office to conduct a survey of why season ticket holders are not joining FOH. Maybe we could even point out there are no voting rights as season ticket holders.
    Anyway, enough of my ramblings. I have just driven up the M74 and these thoughts have been bouncing around my brain for 90 miles. Comments on here need to move forward from self congratulatory to FFS I have responsibilities and need to make a decisions on the direction the club takes.
    I want to leave this scried on a positive note. Well done FOH committee. Thanks for your leadership. And well done to all FOH members. It really took balls to start the FOH up while our club was in administration.
    Regards,
    Jammy

  3. Just like to thank you all at FOH for all your hard work..without your dedication to the cause then it just would not be possible for us to be where we are..

    HHGH.

  4. Like Tom Lambert when I was a boy I used to get lifted over the turnstiles and saw the match for free. Those were the days great memories of great players. This line up I shall always remember: Marshall,Kirk and Thomson, Mackay, Glidden and Cumming,Young,Conn,Bauld Wardhaugh and Crawford.
    Thanks for the memory and a great blog.

  5. As a life long Jambo it’s a great feeling to be part of the FOH it’s the one direct debit I look forward coming out my bank !! To be part of Hearts history in the making . And to know when I’m 6 feet under that my sons and grandchildren can say my dad/grandad was part of keeping our Hearts alive ❤️

  6. Thanks all for the fantastic comments this month. I am really pleased to hear you feel as positive about the Foundation as I do.

    Alan – there is no plan at the moment for shares to be disseminated to individual members at the point they are acquired by FoH.

  7. As an elderly,overseas contributor who has supported the Jambo’s since my late father lifted me over the turnstiles in 1944 I am indeed very proud of the fact that I am able to contribute to my beloved club and see them going from strength to strength. Hope some day to be able to visit Tynie and see them playing the wee team.

  8. It would be helpful to understand how a specific monthly contribution will convert into a percentage of share ownership (on a pro rata basis?). In addition how long does a member need to pay a monthly subscription before they will qualify for share ownership. For example how does a member stand who has paid a monthly contribution for four years and then stops compared to a member who signs up for the final two years of the programme?

  9. Great Blog and fully agree with my fellow Jambo’s Kenneth and George, proud to pledge and proud to be part of the Hearts family. HHGH.

  10. George Chalmers

    29th March 2016

    I concur with everything Kenneth Ramsay has said in the last e mail.
    I too have contributed as Kenneth has, right at the very start of this venture and feel proud to be part of it.
    Hopefuly no ego minded people who couldn’t care less about Heart of Midlothian but more of there own exalted ego will have less chance of taking over a Football club that maybe in financial difficulty
    If you have not yet joined FOH, please do so if you can as the more supporters we have contributing the less chance of Hearts being taken over by someone who dosn’t care if we survive or go under.

  11. Hi I’ve been contributing since the start and it’s been great to see the influence FoH has on the club. I’ve also been pleased to see how the club has advanced under our management team. My only wish is for more Hearts fans to contribute and move this club to more success both on and off the field.
    However the journey has been great
    Kenneth Ramsay

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