Stampede for Hearts’ new World War I strip

Craig Hutchison and Liam O'Donnell take delivery of the commemorative McCrae's Battallion strips. Picture: Toby Williams
Craig Hutchison and Liam O'Donnell take delivery of the commemorative McCrae's Battallion strips. Picture: Toby Williams
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SALES of Hearts’ new kit to commemorate its First World War heroes have proved so popular the club is stopping taking pre-orders.

• Hearts axe Gary Locke and Billy Brown as Craig Levein arrives.

The strip, which marks 100th anniversary of their 1914 team, has flown off the shelves – selling 4000 within weeks – amid worries there will be none left to go on general sale.

The pre-season sales have eclipsed the previous record, following the 5-1 victory over Hibs ten-fold, with new shirt shipments already on the way.

Fans have until midnight tonight to make an advance order or they will have to wait until they go on general sale on June 9 – more than three weeks later than scheduled.

“We anticipated the strip for next season being popular and it has certainly struck a chord with the supporters,” said a Tynecastle spokesperson.

“Thanks to the tireless efforts of the staff in the clubstore, all fans who pre-ordered for guaranteed delivery on May 15 will receive their strips on the agreed date. “Pre-orders will temporarily close at midnight tomorrow, reopening on Monday, June 9 when the clubstore will also have the kit on public sale at 9am.

The strip is a modern twist on the kit from the 1914/15 season, when seven of the team died during the Great War.

A unique badge replaces the traditional Heart of Midlothian crest for next season and there is no sponsor in tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice at war. The kit features white shorts and black socks.

Seven Hearts players – Duncan Currie, John Allan, James Boyd, Tom Gracie, Ernest Ellis, James Speedie and Harry Wattie – lost their lives during the Great War and the club wanted this year’s strip to act as a tribute 100 years on from the tragedy.

As in previous years, the club could have had a sponsor on the front of the jersey but it was decided not to commercialise the home top on this occasion as a further mark of respect to the team which went to war.

It is dedicated to the club’s greatest ever team which went to war in 1914. With their efforts already recorded in story and in song, people at Tynecastle wanted it marking on the pitch as well. They were granted permission from Scottish FA and SPFL to change the badge for the season.

The club ordered double the normal amount of stock to cater for the expected demand but have been left stunned by the astonishing clamour by fans to get their hands on the strip.The phenomenal response has seen the club liaise with Adidas to bring forward shipments which weren’t due until later in the year and kits will now go on general sale when online orders will reopen. The spokesman added: “Since pre-orders began on April 22, a staggering 4000 have been registered with the Clubstore, dwarfing the previous highest total of 400 which came at the start of season 2012-13 in the wake of the famous 5-1 Scottish Cup triumph over Hibs.”

Former star bankrupt

FORMER Hearts star Christian Nade has been declared bankrupt over a car debt. The 29-year-old owed a finance firm £115,000 he used to buy a Lamborghini and Cadillac while playing for the Tynecastle Club. Despite being ordered to settle the debt in 2010 the striker, now with Dundee, he did not pay up.

The legal battle began four years ago after Lombard North Central claimed the footballer had missed payments.

At the time it emerged one of the cars was actually in Spain and the other at in the London Motor Museum. After hearing he still owes almost £98,000 Sheriff Fiona Reith granted a motion to put Nade into sequestration.