A NEW Hearts kit honouring the 8000 fans who helped save the club in its darkest hour has been unveiled today.
Launched by the club and the Foundation of Hearts, it bears the names of all those supporters who helped keep the Jambos alive.
The idea was first mooted by Dougie Masterton, a former director of the Foundation, and was developed by its founder members including Alex Mackie, Jamie Bryant, Brian Cormack and Garry Halliday.
Foundation chairman Mr Cormack described the launch as an “immensely proud and emotional moment” for everyone associated with the supporters’ movement which helps fund the club through monthly contributions.
He said: “We are absolutely delighted to see this project come to fruition. This shirt does not just feature a list of fans’ names – it pays fitting tribute to the 8000 and more supporters who have saved this great club.”
Fans were instrumental in preventing Hearts from going out of business in 2013-14 after the Tynecastle club entered administration with debts totalling £28 million.
More than 8000 joined the Foundation to pledge money and help businesswoman Ann Budge gain control.
The Puma kit includes Ms Budge’s name and that of director of football Craig Levein. Former striker Donald Ford and Scottish athlete Eilidh Child also have their names on the top.
“The fans have helped us a lot over the past couple of years and we want them to keep doing so in years to come. This is a tribute to them,” said Hearts star Jamie Walker.
“It means a lot to them to have a third kit dedicated to them. They have kept the club and the history going.”
The name of lifelong Jambo Iain MacLeod, 57, originally from Drylaw, appears close to the club badge.
He said: “It will be fantastic to see the players wear it for the first time.
“I don’t think anyone made the pledges to be rewarded but it is great to have something tangible to look back on in the future. This is a unique souvenir.”
The names of every supporter who has donated at least £120 – the equivalent of 180 “maroon points” in the Foundation’s loyalty scheme – are included.
The points rewards scheme was launched in collaboration with the club in January.
Mr Masterton was involved with the idea from the outset.
He said: “Basically, we sat most Thursdays and had marketing meetings.
“This was proposed as a way of getting more people to contribute and to get recognition for everybody. I think it will be a huge seller.”
The new kit will not be released for sale until November when the first ten fans to place their order will be presented with their strips in front of the Tynecastle crowd.
The players themselves are not set to wear it until December or January for a competitive match, either in the Premiership or Scottish Cup.
The jersey will retail for £45, the same price as a standard home and away jersey even though it was considerably more expensive to make.
The third kit is available to pre-order now online or in person at the Hearts store in McLeod Street.