Hearts can be a trailblazer for fan-owned football clubs in Scotland – Angus Robertson MSP

Heart of Midlothian is now a fan-owned football club which is a welcome and historic development.

Ann Budge, right, has helped turn Hearts around over the last eight years (Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Ann Budge, right, has helped turn Hearts around over the last eight years (Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Ann Budge, who owned the club until yesterday, handed over her shareholding to the supporters, making the club the biggest fan-owned side in Scotland.

After she invested £2.5 million of her own funds and played such a positive role in turning around the Jambos over the last eight years, the share transfer took place following financial pledges from around 8,000 Hearts fans.

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The formal signing ceremony took place in the home dressing room under a banner stating "We don’t have fans, we have the heart and soul of Edinburgh”. Now it is the Foundation of Hearts which is the majority shareholder of the Tynecastle side.

How far things have progressed since the failed days of Vladimir Romanov and administration for the club.

A great many people were involved in the historic changes, including political rival but fellow Hearts fan Ian Murray MP.

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Having handed over day-to-day running of Hearts this summer to chief executive Andrew McKinlay, the role of Ann Budge remains important as chairwoman of Heart of Midlothian.

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Jambos everywhere should be grateful for their efforts. I look forward to joining fellow fans in the stands before long and hope the fantastic start to the season continues.

Seeing Hearts as joint leader of the Premiership is hugely encouraging. Hopefully Scotland’s largest fan-owned club will continue to perform strongly and be a trailblazer for others to follow.

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Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary

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