Foundation OF HEARTS director Garry Halliday has urged any Hearts fans still in doubt over whether to pledge to the fans-led consortium to share in the ultimate dream.
One of the Foundation’s longest-standing committee members, Halliday wants to consign the Vladimir Romanov years to the past and focus on bringing the club he loves back to its roots.
Speaking from the heart, he said: “Imagine in five years time you’re a Hearts fan and the team have just beaten Hibs at Tynecastle and you go into the pub for a pint after it with your FoH membership card. You’ve just seen a team full of players who know exactly what it’s like to play for the club having come through the youth academy.
“If you were standing in that pub with your chest pumped out, you wouldn’t swap that for anything. Hearts will finish top end of the table at some point. If success comes you’ll be safe in the knowledge you actually own the club, and if someone offered to buy the club you would refuse.
“Hearts fans will just be happy to read about their team on the back pages rather than the front. Every player will know they’re playing for the fans and not some rich owner, and success will be sweeter. The good times were great (under Romanov), but we’re paying the price now. If the young players came through and achieved something, then it would mean much more than seeing highly-paid foreigners do it.
“To see a team full of young players – Holt, Walker and Carrick are fantastic – is something I’d pay to see every day of the week rather than people getting £10,000 a week. If the Foundation are successful and the fans own the club then every game will be like a cup final at Tynecastle next season.”
Halliday, a bricklayer by trade, has the unique honour of having a family photo embedded in Tynecastle’s foundations. “Gary Mackay, who was an ambassador at the time, got me to do some jobs at the club. I came and helped them out for nothing. I was laying the concrete for the dugout when Csaba Laszlo was the manager and I wrapped a picture of myself, my daughter, my grandad and my dad in plastic and put it into a wee box and buried it.
“Nobody really knew about it until now. When I did it, I thought we’d get a new stand built anyway, but it looks like it will be there a few more years.”