Foundation of Hearts joy as new stand gets green light

Brian Cormack says FoH has been vindicated
Brian Cormack says FoH has been vindicated
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Foundation of Hearts chairman Brian Cormack compiled a detailed report on Tynecastle five years ago – and knew instantly that building a new main stand was viable.

The Edinburgh property owner was overjoyed after hearing that planning permission had been granted by City of Edinburgh Council.

Cormack believes the new £12million development, with 7290 seats, will take Hearts to the next level with a stadium capacity of more than 20,000. Having personally assessed the land and surrounding area, he said hurdles like ethanol tanks inside the neighbouring North British distillery were never insurmountable.

“People who wanted to move away from Tynecastle certainly made that a big issue,” Cormack told the Evening News. “When I was looking into it, I never thought it was as big a problem as was made out. As long as you can provide assessments on what you would do if a certain scenario occurred, then these problems can be overcome.

“The club have worked with planning and health and safety to look at all the risks, do proper studies and make sure these can be overcome.

“Robert Wilson [former Hearts director] passed away recently and he was instrumental in getting everybody focused on researching this project. I work in property so I went away and did work on the ground and the problems we may have building a new stand. That report was done late in 2011.

“We looked at all the pros and cons of building at Tynecastle, the costs, everything. We had the stadium valued. It was my job to look at the viability of it because I was the property guy.”

The Foundation believed building a new stand was vital when they formed seven years ago. They are now backed by more than 8000 and will contribute £3m to the stand project.

“When we first set up the Foundation, it was something we put in the key aims. We made it clear right at the start that this was something we wanted. We felt Tynecastle was our home and that’s where we should stay. Ann Budge took over and may have looked at other options but quite soon she realised the will of the fans towards staying at Tynecastle.

“For it to come to fruition so quickly is unbelievable. I sit in the main stand and Tynecastle is known for its brilliant atmosphere. To have it fully enclosed with more than 20,000 people inside is going to be superb.

“It’s finishing the stadium. It’s important for the fans to see real tangible things happening. Not just the Foundation members, but season-ticket holders and hospitality members will be delighted. To actually see a new stand going up is huge.”

Cormack added that the Save Our Hearts campaign – launched in 2004 to prevent the club moving to Murrayfield – should also feel vindicated.

“Save Our Hearts played a big part in keeping Hearts at Tynecastle years ago. They supported the Foundation when it first got off the ground too. This is proof for them that what they said all those years ago was correct. It shouldn’t be forgotten the part they played.”