Five questions answered at Hearts' AGM: From murals and scoreboards to the Academy, Atlantic League and Alloa
Hearts held the club’s virtual AGM with shareholders this week, detailing the financial year 2019-2020.
As part of the proceedings Ann Budge included the customary chairman’s statement, as well as detailing figures for the year which saw the club drop into the SPFL Championship and the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis across Scottish football.
Resolutions and re-appointments of four directors, plus the club auditors and accounts, were approved.
Shareholders were also given the chance to ask questions and the full 17-question Q&A was disclosed on the club website along with the meeting minutes.
They cover a variety of issues, however, here is a flavour of some of the quirkier queries posed of the Jambos’ board – and the owner’s academy commitment.
Q: Given we have a fabulous stadium in one of Europe’s great cities, is it time to move away from Scotland and maybe look at playing in a Northern European League for example? UEFA, Scandinavian countries and Belgium, Netherlands etc may be interested. Playing successfully in the English Leagues could be very lucrative.
Ann Budge: We believe there will be a number of changes in the European football landscape. Indeed we have already seen this with the introduction of the Nations League. We will keep close to all developments in Europe.
Q: Any possibility of electronic scoreboards being installed at both ends of the ground – like ones at Southampton FC?
Ann Budge: Many of you will have heard me say before that this is a matter dear to my heart. Electronic scoreboards are very much on our ‘to-do’ list. However, in the current climate we have to manage all spend carefully and this is not at the top of our priority list.
Q: Is the Alloa result in the league cup the worst result since Hearts being putting out the Scottish Cup by Forfar Athletic in 1982 and do the players care?
Ann Budge: The Alloa result was disappointing, no question. I can absolutely assure you that the players do care very much. They are professionals and are committed to the success of the club.
Q: In terms of the tenement with grey harling in McLeod Street - I thought this was going to be painted with murals and act as focal point. Is this going ahead?
Ann Budge: The building is undergoing major renovation works and is partly covered by scaffolding at present. These works need to be completed before any mural painting can begin. We have a design approved and ready to go but we cannot progress until we know the building is sound.
Q: Many of the Scottish football clubs in Scotland are, due to Covid 19, struggling financially more than ever, and have had to make financial cuts to run their football academies due to all the regulations and problems with Covid 19. Given the importance of this part of the club in developing future first team players and creating wealth for the club has there been any radical changes in the structures at Hearts Academy?
Ann Budge: There have been no changes at the Academy other than those required to deal with furlough. We are totally committed to youth development and this continues to be a key part of our strategy. We are not planning to cut back in this area at all.