In May the Foundation shared details of an offer from Bidco which, if accepted, will see the FoH play a key role in funding the redevelopment of Tynecastle. Given the importance of the matter, this month’s blog focuses primarily on the Stadium Funding proposal and includes extracts from the Chairman’s speech from the open meeting at Tynecastle on Monday 16th May.
The FoH contacted all members on the 10th of May to confirm that Bidco (Ann Budge’s holding company) has made an offer which would see the existing funding agreement amended and the FoH playing a key role in funding the new stadium redevelopment project at Tynecastle. The Directors view the proposal as being in the best interests of the Foundation and its members as a whole, and hence we recommend that members vote in favor of the proposed resolution. All members should have received an email on the 18th May (or a letter in the post shortly afterward) with details of how to vote. If you have not received your email, please first check your spam folder and then contact us at email@example.com.
Voting will close on Wednesday 25th of May at 12 noon. If you are still undecided or feel like you require further information, here are some quick links to ensure you are fully informed about what is being proposed:
Chairman’s Speech from Open Meeting
Our thanks to all the members who attended the open meeting at Tynecastle on 16 May. It was very helpful to obtain your feedback, both on the funding proposal and on broader aspects of the Foundation’s activities. For those members not able to attend the open meeting at Tynecastle, what follows is part of the Chairman’s speech to members:
Ladies and Gentlemen, Good evening and welcome to the meeting to discuss the potential changes to the Bidco / Foundation of Hearts funding agreement. My name is Brian Cormack and I am the Chair of the FoH. I also have with me my fellow directors of the Foundation and we will all be available to answer questions later on. With me I have Alastair Bruce, Donald Cumming, Garry Halliday, Barry McGonagle and Louise Strutt.
We plan to give you the details of the proposal from Bidco and then we can answer any questions you may have. We issued a detailed Q&A last week by e-mail but we wanted to make sure that any further questions can be asked this evening.
During last week the Club held four open meetings on the Stadium Development and the Planning Permissions where all issues were discussed, so I would like to keep the questions this evening relating to the funding agreement if possible.
The very fact that we are gathered here tonight considering the future direction of the Foundation and, of course, our club is, for me, beyond extraordinary. Just a couple of years ago, we were staring at an abyss. Heart of Midlothian Football Club, as we all know, was just hours from extinction.
It was saved by a unique and remarkable partnership between the fans of this club and Ann Budge, who stepped up at our moment of crisis to fund the buy-back of shares which ensured the survival of Hearts.
It is a partnership and a singular act by Ann whose story deserves to ring down through all future generations of Hearts supporters. It is a partnership which has, we believe, not only been the catalyst for the most successful fan involvement initiative in Scottish footballing history but also one which has provided a stable foundation for the dynamic, innovative management of the club which has been there for all to see since Ann and her team took control.
And tonight we are here not to look back but – we are very pleased to say – to look forward and discuss some of the detail of that partnership which was created at our club’s darkest hour but has gone on to be a vital cog in a machine which has restored true Hearts values, connected again with supporters and our local community, delivered on-field success, and created a whole host of off-field projects of which we can all be very proud.
We have a huge responsibility to get this right, and I know that it is a responsibility which everyone here recognises.
[The chairman then summarized the proposal to amend the existing funding agreement, and spelled out the process for conducting the members’ vote.]
…In conclusion, I’d like to say this. The directors of the Foundation welcome this offer from Ann and are recommending it to the members. We see this as potentially a fantastic use of Foundation funds for a limited period. What better way for us supporters to see our funds being employed than into the development of the new stand and other improvements at our home at Tynecastle? Yes, it means that the schedule for supporter ownership of the club is possibly put back for a period, but for this delay we are getting a magnificent new stand and, as a gesture of trust, we will have interim hand-overs of shares from Ann to the Foundation.
When the Foundation ultimately becomes the majority shareholder of the Club, we all want it to be in good shape financially and on the field in the physical environment in which we work and play. This change to the funding agreement, we believe, helps to consolidate all of these aspirations and objectives. It reinforces the strong partnership we currently have between the Foundation and the club, and it paves the way for a very bright future. We thank Ann for the offer and we recommend it to our members.
Thank you very much.
Thanking The Fans Day
The club and the Foundation combined to designate the final match at Tynecastle as Thanking the Fans Day. The day was seen as an opportunity to thank all Hearts supporters and we were delighted that the team wore the tribute jersey. Many fans responded by doing likewise. Scott Wilson also broadcast a message before the start of the match, posters around the ground welcomed fans to the day, volunteers from the Foundation and Big Hearts handed out flyers with a thank you message, an LED message was displayed though the match, and the players held up a ‘thank you’ banner before kick-off.
Ann Budge and Foundation chair Brian Cormack issued a joint statement, which included: “This has been a momentous season – one that has been made possible by the tremendous support by you, the fans. Without you, today – and all the other days in the season – simply would not have happened. So we want to say a massive thank you to you all. You have our unreserved admiration and utmost respect as you continue to prove that Hearts fans are truly the best.”
If you have any questions or comments on this month’s blog please feel free to leave them below or direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any questions regarding the Stadium Funding proposal should be addressed to email@example.com.
Just a reminder that the vote on the proposed change to the funding agreement closes at 12.00 noon tomorrow (Wednesday). If you haven’t already done so, please do vote on this important issue. Thank you.