Hearts AGM: Final cost of main stand to reach Â£15 million
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Budge told shareholders at Tuesday’s annual general meeting that anonymous benefactors have agreed to provide an extra £1.5m to help with the project.
The initial cost to rebuild the stand was to be £12m, a figure revised to £14m earlier this year. Budge confirmed that stadium redevelopment is now expected to total £15m.
Benefactors were initially giving £3m towards the cost but will now contribute £4.5m in total by the time work is finished at Tynecastle in summer 2018.
“I thought we were looking at £14m, I’m now telling you I think we are looking at £15m,” Budge explained to shareholders at the 111th Hearts AGM inside the stadium’s Gorgie Suite.
Budge predicted that the new stand will earn Hearts around an extra £1m income per year. She added that the board have the use of a £1.75m loan facility to help with costs and are intending to use at least some of those funds over the winter months.
There are no plans at the moment to rename the new stand through sponsorship but this has not been ruled for the future.
Hearts still hope to replace the Tynecastle pitch next summer with a hybrid surface similar to that at Murrayfield. Budge explained that the price for this will be between £850,000 and £1m.
Manager Craig Levein also addressed the AGM and said he expects another six or eight youth academy players to sign professional contracts with the Edinburgh club next summer. That follows the recent progress of 16-year-olds Harry Cochrane and Anthony McDonald into the first team this season.
Levein also insisted Hearts’ recruitment must improve after six out of nine players signed in January this year were released during the summer.
“I think the recruitment was better in the summer than it was in January. We got a real fright in January, when mistakes were made,” said Levein, who was director of football at that time with Ian Cathro head coach.
“We are trying to limit mistakes but I don’t think we’ll ever get to a point where we don’t make any.
“I’m glad I decided to go back into the dugout (in September). At least I go home on a Saturday night exhausted from shouting rather than sitting in the stand frustrated.”
A question from the floor asked Levein when Hearts would “stop being bullied by Hibs in derby matches”. The Easter Road side have not lost any of the last eight meetings between the clubs since August 2014.
“Nobody has sat in that stand feeling sick more than me,” replied Levein. “We’ve been poor in derby matches in the last couple of years and we will be ready for the next one. I can’t guarantee we’ll win but we won’t be bullied, that’s for sure.”