Foundation of Hearts can go to next level by casting net wider, says board candidate Andrew Brown
The Edinburgh-born Hearts supporter is up for election to the FoH board at next month’s AGM and is eager to utilise his unique set of IT skills for the benefit of his club.
Based in London and having lived in both Canada and Asia, he is also offering his life and sporting experience for the Foundation’s benefit. The fan-led group gained ownership of Hearts in August and will elect three new directors from five candidates.
Brown is general manager of IBM’s technology business in the UK and Ireland, carries more than 25 years’ experience and strong relations with banking, insurance, telecommunications, government and public bodies.
“I think I can bring an insight into how the Foundation use their data and how we make that work better with its members. The current directors have done a great job, now we can take that to the next level,” Brown told the Evening News.
“They own more than 70 per cent of Hearts shares and with 8,700 members I think there is a need to be more visible to the supporters. We can help them see what's happening with the club and bring greater transparency and accountability.
“Not just the first team. Lots can be done at community level, women's level and grassroots level. We want to be an inclusive club rooted in the community and for me that's what Hearts should be. Everybody is welcome.
“I feel I can bring something different along the lines of how business, sport and fans can come together. Hearts supporters have changed since the days of The Shed at Tynecastle. It's more open.
“This is the largest fan-owned club in Britain. I was part of the Toronto Hearts Supporters' club for a few years and I think casting your net wider is important. There is also a London Hearts Supporters' club down here.
“I feel we can bring things together and it's something I can bring. I can draw on the stuff I've seen in different areas of the UK. I also have some links into the MLS in Toronto so I feel I can bring a slightly different perspective.
“I've built a career of business acumen and technology linked to sport. I still have a continued relationship with the All England Lawn Tennis Club because we provide technology for a lot of their infrastructure. We also provide data and analytics for the Rugby Football Union. I've lived in the Twickenham area for 20 years.”
Brown’s Hearts heritage is extensive, giving him a background of expertise and knowledge. “I grew up in The Shed like so many others, supporting the Alex MacDonald and Sandy Jardine era. I got to train with the first team at one point through the Boys' Brigade. I've watched them through thick and thin, and thinner, and even thinner,” he said.
“I did a computer science degree at Napier and then my IBM career started. I began building networks and moved away in 1994. I try to get to as many games as possible. I buy my dad's season ticket and he sits in almost the same place as my grandfather did years ago, so we're holding onto history.”