Hearts today unveiled a new away kit for next season featuring the Foundation of Hearts crest in a huge thank you to supporters.
The Foundation is backed by over 8000 Hearts fans and, instead of a sponsor, owner Ann Budge has devoted the new shirt to them after they helped keep the club alive.
The away kit carries an Argentina-style design of sky blue and white stripes with black shorts and white socks. The Foundation’s heart-shaped crest adorns the middle of the shirt, which will help the fans’ group stay visible and increase their exposure. They will eventually take control at Tynecastle when Budge steps aside.
Hearts’ home kit for next season is a traditional strip to honour the sacrifice of their former players who lost their lives in the First World War.
Budge explained that the away kit will also help bring the club closer to its local community again.
“2014 is a hugely significant year for Heart of Midlothian Football Club,” she said. “First and foremost, we remember the sacrifices of the brave young men who answered the call to join McCrae’s Battalion in the Great War and paid the ultimate price for their bravery. It is a fitting tribute to honour them with our 1914 commemorative strip.
“2014 also marks a turning point in the club’s history as we enter a new era of optimism and revival and it is appropriate that we recognise and celebrate the achievement and loyalty of our fans, whose contributions through the Foundation of Hearts have helped to save our club.
“We are saying an enormous ‘thank you’ by dedicating our away strip to the Foundation of Hearts. It is a small, but significant gesture; a badge that can be worn with pride by our players, by our fans and by the wider audience who are looking on at what the club is achieving with admiration.
“Taking the decision to dedicate our home and away strips was an easy one to make, given the importance of marking the past and looking with hope to the future. We could have taken an option to continue with previous shirt sponsorship, but felt that the options we have taken for 2014 are more in tune with the community which is the backbone of the club.
“We will be looking to sign new sponsors this season with a view to them taking over shirt sponsorship in the future. We are confident that the incredible community spirit will make the club a very attractive proposition for new sponsors.”
The away strip goes on sale on Friday, July 4, but can be pre-ordered now. “It is a tremendous gesture by the club to allow the Foundation of Hearts to be the official away kit shirt sponsor for next season,” said Ian Murray, Foundation of Hearts chairman.
“It is a real thank you to the people who support us and the club. Without them there would have been no next season. Supporters can now wear their home kit with pride to commemorate the past and the ultimate sacrifice made by those Hearts players and fans 100 years ago in the Great War. They can also wear with pride their away kit that celebrates the future and the vision for a club owned by its fans.
“It also signifies a real step change from Hearts in terms of returning it to being a respected family club. The club needs to lead by example and our shirt sponsors should reflect the aspiration to be the best family club in Scotland. Our supporters, who will ultimately own the club, deserve nothing less.”
Fans can sign up to Foundation of Hearts at www.foundationofhearts.org.
Meanwhile, Hearts are now working towards exiting administration this Wednesday as administrators BDO finalise all documents and contracts with Budge’s BIDCO holding company. They hope to lodge paperwork at Edinburgh’s court of session on Wednesday morning to end the administration period, which began on June 19 last year.