Comment: Popular move puts Hearts fans centre stage

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it is building up to be quite a season for football fans in the Capital.

With Hearts romping to the Championship and Hibs aiming for both promotion and the Scottish Cup – not to forget the thrilling exploits of Spartans FC and Edinburgh City – there has been plenty to cheer about. Supporters will savour these highs all the more after the misery of last season at Tynecastle and Easter Road.

On-the-pitch success is of course what all football fans crave – but what has gone on off the park this season has been even more impressive.

The impending launch of the new Hearts kit is just one bright idea but it speaks volumes about how the relationship between supporters and their clubs is changing.

Emblazoned with the names of nearly 8000 fans, the strip is already proving a huge hit months before its release, and no wonder – it puts them centre stage. What’s not to love about having your heroes wear your name on their shirt instead of the other way around?

And it’s not a one-off. Remember, legendary player Dave Mackay isn’t the only person to be honoured by the players wearing black armbands at Tynecastle this season, dedicated fan Jimmy Crandles was too. With a genuine fan at the helm in Anne Budge and a process under way to achieve complete fan ownership, it is perhaps not surprising that the paying punters are being given more thought.

The changes at Easter Road may not have been so dramatic on the surface, but make no mistake there is a quiet revolution going on there too. The plan to put two fans on the board may be the most eyecatching initiative but it is perhaps not as radical as the change of mindset ushered in by new chief executive Leeann Dempster. Her vision of the club at the centre of its community, helping to promote education and healthy living, as well as striving for sporting excellence, is what a modern club should be all about.