Gary Mackay: Tynecastle rebuild costs rise '“ but so does Hearts fans' pride
There is no way Hearts fans can be impatient with the redevelopment of Tynecastle Park.
The positivity within the stadium now, what Hearts have to hang on to for years and years to come, can only be applauded. It wasn’t all that long ago that we thought the club might lose its spiritual home and we are all grateful for how it has been retained and regenerated.
Anything making Tynecastle a better home for the football club, and a higher quality home at that, we must be thankful for. That is definitely the case with the Evening News’ revelation earlier this week that the whole rebuilding project would cost £18m, be fitted out to the highest standard, and take a little longer than expected.
People talk about the new main stand but look at the improvement in the undercroft of the Wheatfield Stand. Myself, Craig Levein and John Frame were involved in fundraising for that with the old 500 Club. We spoke to the powers-that-be at the time and asked if we could do anything with that area, but each time we literally got nowhere despite our very best efforts.
We were told we couldn’t get planning permission amongst a host of other obstacles, but these issues have all been overcome now. That’s down to the persistence, stubbornness, due diligence and everything else that Ann Budge and other people inside the club have shown over the last few years.
It’s a great feeling going to Tynecastle now when you see the stadium we’ve got. Yes, we’re land-locked a bit in amongst the houses and everything else, but everybody you speak to has said how good a stadium Tynecastle was.
For me, it’s enhanced now. The work in the undercroft, the Memorial Garden and everything else that’s there, it all adds to the great history of our club.
There has been barrier after barrier put in people’s way over the last 25 years. Anyone who has looked to redevelop Tynecastle has encountered problems, going way back to Chris Robinson when stands first started going up in the mid-1990s.
We are now seeing what happens when these issues are totally removed. The result is that we have a stadium which, at this moment in time, is just magnificent to look at and sit in. According to what Ann Budge said in this paper on Monday, it’s going to get even better in the not-too distant future.
When Scott Crabbe, Jimmy Sandison and myself decided to start up the 1874 Fighting Fund, that was about the history of Heart of Midlothian Football Club from 1874 to the present day – and ensuring it had a future.
Now Ann is talking about the Eighteen 74 Fans’ Bar at Tynecastle, which has been created as part of the new main stand. That’s great for us all to hear.
Loads of people believe their football club has a special history and that’s how it should be. Everybody has their own feeling for their club and rightly so.
Hearts supporters know that feeling well. When you get an announcement like the one Ann gave this paper on Monday, the day after thousands and thousands of people turned out at Haymarket to pay their resepects to those who went before us, then it enthuses you for the future generations who are going to follow us.
When it’s all finished, Tynecastle will be a legacy left for future generations of Hearts fans and players. They can play in the finest surroundings knowing the club will be on a stable footing.