Foundation of Hearts need top-level sports experience and can grow membership beyond 10,000, says board candidate Graham Robertson
Having analysed the Foundation of Hearts board, Graham Robertson is standing for election for several reasons.
He believes the business acumen, drive and time he would devote to the role would be invaluable. He also offers top-level sporting experience as Scotland’s second most-capped bowls internationalist of all time.
He represented his country for more than 30 years and won numerous Scottish, British, international and world titles. Plus he was a national coach for 15 years. As managing director of sports surfacing company Greengauge, and a former tax inspector, he ticks several boxes.
“I have three reasons for standing,” he explained. “Firstly, I have the time. I believe if you do something then you do it all-in. Secondly, I look at the Foundation board and believe I could make a positive difference.
“I'm an outsider looking in here and think I could fill in some of the gaps on the existing board. Thirdly, I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn't try to make a difference.
“The initial FoH board had to be strong on legal and finance because they were defending the club's existence years ago. Then it was fan-ownership, so again legal and finance experience was needed.
“This is the next stage, a transitional stage. I'd use a football analogy here: You don't pick a team with two goalkeepers and four centre-halves. You pick a team fit for purpose for the challenge ahead.
“The balance of the FoH team now needs to change. I think all the directors have done a terrific job to get where we are today. I think the level of communication to members could be improved. We need to ascertain fans' views and opinions.
“I don't see sales skills on the board, nor to I see an entrepreneur or an innovator. Do I see a sportsperson on the board who understands the sacrifices to compete at an elite level? No, I don't.
“These are areas I feel I can help. I have a skillset that hopefully complements the existing board members. This is a chance to shake things up for the next stage going forward.”
Foundation members will elect three new directors from five candidates at the AGM on December 16. The group own Hearts on behalf of 8,700 members and Robertson feels that number could rise with the correct approach over the coming years.
He believes an ultimate target of 20,000 subscribers should not be discounted.
“We all love to see the monthly updates on how much cash we've generated. It's a real crowd-pleaser,” he added. “But I think we should be holding quarterly meetings with fans to hear people's opinions and understand any issues. Then we need to communicate those views to the Hearts board.
“I believe the membership can be grown to support the club even more. Is 10,000, 15,000 or even 20,000 subscribers a possibility? I think it is. I'm the sort of person who always wants to go to the next level and the next level.
“Are there people among the FoH members with specific skills who could be invited forward to help? There is so much more we can do. Look at the explosion in women's football. We can reach out to all these grassroots areas and market ourselves there.”