Foundation of Hearts have reached the milestone of 8000 subscribers as their bid for control at Tynecastle continues to gather pace.
The fans’ umbrella group have broken through the 8000 barrier with supporters continuing to donate money to the organisation they believe will eventually run the club on their behalf.
Derek Shade, a 40-year-old from Corstorphine, Edinburgh, is the 8000th fan to sign up to the Foundation’s monthly direct debit scheme. He cited the chance of a stable and prosperous future without debt as his main reasons for joining.
The Foundation aim to be in full control of Hearts within five years and have an agreement to assume ownership from Ann Budge and her company, BIDCO (1874) Limited. Budge is personally funding the £2.5 million Creditors’ Voluntary Arrangement which should take Hearts out of administration before the end of April, pending legal approval in Lithuania for almost 80 per cent of Hearts’ shares to be transferred from Ukio Bankas and Ukio Bankas Investment Group (UBIG).
Fans continue to contribute money each month in preparation for the day the Foundation can run Hearts by themselves. The club had debts totalling £28.5m before entering administration last summer. Now they have the chance of a new start with Budge, potentially leading to fans owning and running the club through a membership scheme.
“I’d been aware of the Foundation since it started,” explained Mr Shade. “A lot of friends and guys I go to the football with had started pledging before me. They were trying to convince me and a lot of other friends to do the same and pledge money to the club.
“I think a lot of fans, myself included, were frightened to give money into a club when you weren’t sure if it was actually going to make a difference; if it was actually going to go into the wrong hands, I suppose. I’ve been convinced that things are looking positive and that my money will be used in a positive manner to help the club.
“I’ve been a Hearts fan for about 20-odd years now. I wasn’t massively into football as a young boy, it was my brother who took me through to Ibrox to see Rangers versus Hearts in the early 1990s. We lost that day but started supporting Hearts from that point on.
“The club has had its years of significant debt. I wouldn’t criticise former chairmen, that’s for others. I would just like to see the club owned and run by the fans to start afresh. I do see a positive on the park from the players and the manager and I think it’s amazing there are 8,000 Hearts fans willing to give money to the club every month. It’s a great starting point.
“I think we’ve been lucky. Things could have been a lot worse for Hearts. We’re not in as good a position as we’d like to be but the Foundation is bringing a bit of stability. You look at the mess Rangers have got themselves into and I think we should be glad of what we’ve got so far because it could have been worse. We’re seeing a wee bit of light at the end of the tunnel.”
To join Foundation of Hearts and set up a direct debit, visit www.foundationofhearts.org