Yesterday was a monumental day for Hearts that has been a long time in coming – and in the making.
First and foremost, it’s important that we acknowledge the incredible efforts of the founding members of the Foundation of Hearts.
Massive credit has to go to the likes of Alex Mackie, Garry Halliday, Brian Cormack, Jamie Bryant and Donald Ford, who laid the foundations for this remarkable fans movement to save the club.
Their actions were not just a reaction to the club going into administration last summer; they had the wheels in motion years ago, long before things got to this critical stage.
Their endeavours meant that, when administration – or possibly even liquidation – came to pass, they were in a position to help take the club out the other end.
There have been others like Ian Murray, who have come in along the way and helped push things on, but every Hearts fan owes a particular debt to those who put in so much groundwork at the start to allow us to keep this great club of ours alive.
It’s frightening to think what would have happened to Hearts if it hadn’t been for the Foundation.
Traditionally, Scotland tends to be a reactive nation, but the people who set up the Foundation were proactive in second-guessing what was about to happen to the club during the previous regime. We’d have been lost without that foresight.
It’s been a desperately worrying time for all Hearts supporters but we shouldn’t forget the angst that the employees of the club will have had to endure throughout this whole process.
We are now well into April and there are players out of contract not knowing what the future holds for them. Gary Locke has no idea if he will still be manager and there will doubtless have been other staff fretting over whether they would still have a job in a few weeks time if the club had to be wound up.
The timing is not great in terms of preparing for next season but, ultimately, the survival of the club is the most important thing and even if things continue to drag on, I’m sure Ann Budge, with all her business knowledge, will be able to start the process of moving the club forward in the most efficient manner possible.
With all the delays and uncertainty of the past few months, I could totally have understood if Ann had decided to pull the plug and walk away becauseit must have been really frustrating for her.
She’s also had to deal with being catapulted into the public domain and people speaking about her ploughing her money in, so it can’t have been an easy period for her.
Thankfully, she’s shown the resilience to stick around and see the process through. That’s the type of resilience the club is going to need moving forward as, even though we look like we’re out of the woods in terms of surviving, getting back to the top end of Scottish football could still be a long and difficult process.
After all the chaos the club has had to endure over the years, it’s important that we trust Ann and give her time and space to do what she thinks is right for the football club. It’s impossible to put a timescale on how long it will take for the club to get back to the upper echelons of the game.
The fans have shown remarkable resolve to help the club through these difficult times but everyone still needs to keep showing those levels of loyalty for the foreseeable future because it’s unlikely to be an overnight fix. If things happen quickly, then great, but it certainly won’t come as a surprise to me if it takes a while for things to pick up.
The patience and faith that the Hearts supporters have shown will be crucial in the coming weeks, months and years as we try to get our football club back to a standing in the game where we have pride and dignity both on and off the pitch.
We want to be a football club that people trust and that businesses want to deal with.
I know this won’t go down well with some Hearts fans, but we could certainly do a lot worse than take a look at the professional way our rivals from across the city have run their football club.