Foundation of Hearts need fans to help reach £2m target as club's second-biggest benefactor
Foundation of Hearts aim to reach 10,000 members in the next two years and guarantee the Edinburgh club £2million in extra annual income.
Current FoH membership is approaching the 9,000 mark after the fan group became owners at Tynecastle Park last August.
Chairman Stuart Wallace is eager to hit five figures, which would provide Hearts with £2m per year in cash.
The Foundation currently passes around £1.5m directly to the club from fans’ pledges and, to date, the running total of their contributions since 2013 stands at a considerable £12,913,591.
Wallace and his fellow FoH directors are planning the way forward after welcoming two new members to their board in the shape of Gerry Mallon and Andrew Brown. Wallace sees the next two years as potentially the time when the Foundation could reach 10,000 subscribers.
“I want us to hit five-figure membership. If our membership was above 10,000 we would be putting £2million a year into the club. Passing on that kind of money would be fantastic,” he told the Evening News.
“We are the second biggest benefactor at Hearts now after James Anderson. If we can grow into that position with an increased membership and increased funds coming in, that has to be healthy for the football club.
“The club recognise we are a major source of support for them alongside the other benefactors. We’re custodians of the shareholding and [previous owner] Ann Budge always said this was about protecting the long-term interests of the supporters.
“Some of that is done and now people want their football team to be successful on the park.”
Mallon is a former Irish FA chairman who works as chief executive of Tesco Bank, while Brown’s IT skills are expected to be of huge benefit to the Foundation going forward.
With Hearts sitting comfortably in third place in the cinch Premiership and pushing for a return to European competition, Wallace believes there are exciting times ahead for FoH and the club.
“There is a very good and balanced skillset on the Foundation board. We want the club to be looking at us saying: ‘Here is a group of people who are major benefactors to the club, with a fantastic skillset we can draw on, and who we really expect will do the correct thing on behalf of the supporters.’
“If we get to that, then I think we are in a really good place. We have spoken a lot about the purpose of Foundation of Hearts and why we exist. A recurring answer is: ‘We have to give the football club the best possible opportunity to be successful.’
“So two years down the line you want a vibrant five-figure membership with increased money coming in, plus a football club continuing to develop and being successful on the park while chasing silverware. That’s a great place for the Foundation to be.
“We want our skillset to be helpful but also for them to know we will offer a challenge when that challenge needs to be offered.”