Ann Budge has assured supporters that Hearts’ mystery benefactors have no say in how their investment in the club is spent.
Donations of £3 million in the last financial year prevented the club from making a loss, while they have benefitted from a further £1m in the current financial year as work. Budge acknowledged that curiosity regarding this unusual situation is understandable but the chairwoman is adamant that no conditions have to be met in return for the cash – aside from relaxing the dress code to let on of the benefactors wear more casual attire when entering the directors’ box!
“They have been incredibly generous, so yes, it’s almost human nature to wonder what’s in it for them? But honestly, hand on heart, they just want to be philanthropic, they like what we are doing, and apart from relaxing the dress code in the directors’ box on match days, that’s the only thing they have ever asked.
“The conversations we have had have said they will continue to support us while we are going through this period of (stadium) development, which I hope will come to an end fairly soon. But they are supporting us again this year and once we have done what we are aiming to do that will be it, but at that point we shouldn’t need it because the whole objective is we are building the infrastructure in order to grow our own business model and become profitable.
“So they are helping us through a period of intense capital spend, really. We’ve already had in this financial year, another injection and it’s to help us.”