HEARTS owner Ann Budge has revealed she wants to redevelop Tynecastle’s main stand to keep the club at their spiritual home – but admitted they may have to move to a new stadium eventually.
Budge is currently working on improving Tynecastle through minor repairs but conceded that she has no idea if Hearts will be able to stay there long term. The chairwoman believes finances could eventually dictate a move, although she stressed that is not her preferred option.
After funding the club’s £2.5million exit from administration in May, Budge has an agreement to run Hearts for five years. She is then expected to pass control on to Foundation of Hearts and it is unlikely that any stadium move would take place before then.
Budge admitted she has no definitive answer on whether Tynecastle’s 100-year-old main stand should be rebuilt or whether Hearts should seek a new home.
“We’ve got to be realistic and it might be that it’s a more cost-effective solution to actually move,” she said today. “Tynecastle does have something magical about it. If there was some way we could actually do something with the stand, it might be that that would be the better option and I know a lot of people would prefer to stay in Tynecastle.
“But, right now, I have no idea what the answer is and I think I would hope that, by the end of my time here, at the very least, we will have a plan that’s been properly evaluated through and try to choose the right one for the club.”
Budge stressed that safety within Tynecastle is the current priority. “It’s been neglected for a long time,” she continued. “There’s an awful lot needs to be doing to it. But what we’re trying to do in the short term is anything to do with safety. That comes to the top of the list.
“We’re also trying to do some of the bigger jobs that have been neglected. We’ve replaced a lot of seats, we’ve started a job of painting, so we now have the Hearts colour that we’ll try to be consistent about and we’re moving round the stadium and addressing the worst parts.”
Budge also reiterated her determination to ensure Hearts live within their means financially after lapsing into administration in June 2013. “We’re doing what we can, within limits – we’ve got to be sensible about what we spend,” she told the BBC. “But, at the moment, we are trying to make the stadium as safe as we possibly can and do the obvious things to make it more pleasant to be in.”