Foundation of Hearts reveal number of cancelled pledges as they respond to criticism
The Foundation of Hearts have revealed the number of pledgers to have cancelled their subscription on the back of recent unrest amongst the club’s support.
In a letter to members, the six-strong Foundation board confirmed “around 250” fans have withdrawn their subscriptions but that the membership remains strong with more than 8,100 still pledging.
The group have come under increasing scrutiny from supporters with the view they haven’t represented the view and feeling of the fan base to the club.
The statement to members addressed the "difficult time”, how they communicate with the club and the unrealistic expectation that they sack the manager.
It also, rightly, condemned the “vitriol and abuse” directed at the Foundation, many of whom are volunteers, as well as on the club officials and staff.
The message read: "First, a number of pledgers who have been in touch with us have attacked the Foundation for not representing the views, as they see it, of Foundation members and for not making these views clear to the club. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our communications with the club reflect the strength of feelings that pledgers have brought to us and is passed on with no diluting of the emotions expressed. This does not fall on deaf ears – and of course, the club itself hears from fans and is well aware of people’s many opinions. We are able to supplement that and can also report on pledge numbers.
"Equally, the views of Foundation members inform and shape the standpoint of those who represent the Foundation on the club board.
Fan owned, not fan run
"We have also been attacked by some for – to put it bluntly – not firing the manager. As most pledgers understand, the Foundation does not run the club. It is right and proper that the club board makes the final management calls, and it is right and proper that the Foundation – through communicating with the club and through our representatives on the board – aims to inform and influence strategies and decision-making. That is what we have done and that’s what we will continue to do when the Foundation becomes the majority shareholder of the club. The Foundation has always put forward the message of fan owned, not fan run. Foundation members overwhelmingly sanctioned the governance model which has this concept at its heart and it remains a pillar of the organisation’s structure.
It added: “Sadly we must also mention that there has been a level of vitriol and abuse in some of the emails and other communications which is intolerable. This type of attack has also been visited on club officials and staff and we utterly condemn it. Equating passion for a club with this kind of behaviour is totally misplaced. Passion for a club comes in many shapes and forms but abusing others, many of whom are working on a voluntary basis, is most certainly not one of them.”
With three per cent of the membership cancelling their pledges, the Foundation praised the club's support for continuing to “lay the platform for a better future for Heart of Midlothian” and confirmed it is “considering ways in which debate among Foundation members can be encouraged and structured” which will include a new role, a director of members affairs, to “help the communication process”.