Foundation of Hearts approaching record numbers after taking ownership of Tynecastle outfit
Foundation of Hearts are edging towards record membership levels following a surge in interest since taking ownership at Tynecastle Park.
Around 600 new or increased monthly pledges have come through in the seven days since the fan-led group received Ann Budge’s majority Hearts shareholding.
FoH now own the Edinburgh club on behalf of their subscribers, the total number of which now sits at 8,300. A further rise of 200 would take membership to an unprecedented high as Hearts supporters continue to back the biggest fan movement in British football.
The Foundation board are planning initiatives over the coming weeks to entice even more fans to join their group and pledge money. The cash is passed to Hearts each month and equates to around £1.6million a year in funding for the club.
Stuart Wallace, the FoH chairman, explained the flurry of activity which took place after last Monday’s historic handover began a new era of fan ownership in Gorgie.
“The new and increased pledges show up together on our system so the total amount that we have seen over the last week is 600. It’s a brilliant number,” Wallace told the Evening News. “Any notion that people might lose interest after the transfer of ownership just hasn’t borne out at all.
“We could see the activity on the board from last Sunday, the day before the handover was taking place. Then over the next three or four days there was just an absolute surge so it’s been a huge week for us.
“From memory, the number of members we had before then was sitting around 7,800. I think you could comfortably say about 500 of the 600 are new additions, rather than increases, so then we are round about the 8,300 level.
“If we could capture another 200 pledgers or more, we would be at a record number. I don’t think we have ever been beyond 8,500 so getting above that figure would be new territory.”
Anyone wishing to join the Foundation is advised to do so soon if they want their name added to the tunnel wall at Tynecastle. “We will put some sort of timeline on people joining if they want their name on the tunnel beside everyone else,” explained Wallace.
“It’s got the names of everybody who has pledged during the journey and the club are going to renew that vinyl soon. We are going to say to the fans: ‘If you want your name on the tunnel, you need to join by a certain date.’ It will probably be in two or three weeks’ time. Anyone is still welcome to join after that, of course.”
There is also an open day in the pipeline which will allow members to visit Tynecastle and see their favourite parts of the ground in person.
“We’re planning to confirm the open day with an email to our members soon,” added Wallace. “So on that day you will be able to access all the suites, the changing room, the museum, the memorial garden, all that stuff. We don’t know the exact date yet.”