BILLY BROWN believes Hearts supporters thoroughly deserve to own their club after investing their hard-earned money to keep it alive.
The assistant manager stressed that a say in decision-making is the least fans deserve given their cash has prevented the club being closed down over the last 18 months.
A share issue launched by the previous regime raised over £1million and supporters again rallied to buy season tickets following the onset of administration in June, raising a further £813,000. Additional fund-raising events have brought in more revenue and Brown, who is assisting manager Gary Locke for free, has been overwhelmed by the support.
Foundation of Hearts, the fans umbrella group, were named preferred bidder in the battle for control of the Edinburgh club last week. Brown feels they deserve to be in charge.
“The supporters have kept this club going so the supporters then have every right to say how this club should be run. That’s the least they should get,” he told the Evening News. “What the supporters here have done is above and beyond the call of duty. People have put money in who couldn’t afford that money but the love of their club has kept them going. There should be a reward for that.
“You need to watch these things because everybody has a different opinion on football and one supporter’s opinion differs from another’s. You can’t have 14,000 viewpoints being put across when you’re running a club, but I do think you need fan representation. I think representatives of supporters on the board is the way forward.
“That sort of thing is going to come into football more and more. The Foundation of Hearts is the Hearts supporters so they will only have the best interest of the club in their minds. From that point of view, I think it’s a really good thing.”
The tough financial climate has caused hardship at several Scottish football clubs to suffer in recent years, none more so than Rangers, and Brown admitted he could not have imagined the difficulties clubs are now facing.
“You couldn’t have envisaged this happening but, if it happened to Rangers, it can happen to anybody.
“You wouldn’t have thought it would happen here at Hearts but, given how things have gone here down the years, it was going to happen. It’s unfortunate but I think things look good for the future. The Foundation’s bid has still to get across the line in Lithuania. I think Hearts will come out of this bigger and better.”