Foundation of Hearts reveals plans

Alex Mackie.  Picture: Ian Rutherford
Alex Mackie. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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THE Foundation of Hearts 
today revealed its blueprint for running the Tynecastle club should it be successful in purchasing the majority shareholding from UBIG.

In a statement, the Foundation made it clear that Vladimir Romanov and the current board members would not be involved in the running of the Capital club. Romanov has intimated that he would be looking to sell 51 per cent of his shareholding to the supporters, but the Foundation today states that it does not want involvement from any current directors.

The Foundation, spearheaded by Edinburgh businessman and lifelong Hearts fan Alex Mackie, explained that a three-year period would be needed to stabilise the club, that there would be an nine-man board elected by Hearts fans led by a chairman/woman and that all their proposals would be “straightforward, democratic and transparent”.

“What we are proposing is, we believe, straightforward, democratic and transparent,” said Mackie, the Foundation’s chairman, “and it is right, given the talks that are going on at present between the club, the various fans groups, Supporters Direct and the Foundation, that everyone is fully aware of the Foundation’s plans as they currently stand.

“For us, the focus is on what is best for the club and its future, not about having the Foundation’s plans adopted wholesale in preference to any other schemes. The Foundation is a vehicle for all Hearts fans and under our plans, the purchase of these shares – should this be achieved – would give the Foundation and its members immediate control of the club.

“This would mean the current owners would not be part of the decision-making process or the running of the club as we move forward. All members of the Foundation will effectively be joint shareholders of the club. This will enable Hearts supporters – as members of the Foundation – to vote on the future membership of the Foundation board and to put themselves forward as one of the fans’ representatives on that board. In turn, the board of the Foundation will have a say in the running of the club

“Next, if and when we move to convert pledges into an actual commitment from fellow fans to provide support to the club, we will make an absolute assurance that if we cannot finalise a deal, all money will be returned to them. Under our plans, supporters can be confident that their money will be invested by the Foundation for no other reason than to finance a proper fan ownership scheme for Heart of Midlothian – or they will get it back.

“We believe that an initial three-year period will be required to stabilise the club. This will be a very challenging time and we are therefore proposing a board of directors comprising four directly-elected fans’ representatives, plus four directors with specific skills whose expertise will be used to complement the fans’ representatives’ skills and ensure efficient management of the club. There is no presumption that these latter directors will come from the group which is currently leading the Foundation’s work.

“The eight board members will also elect a chairman or woman, thus bringing the total number of Foundation directors to nine. No board members will be paid for their work, and all will have to put themselves up for re-election after the three-year stabilisation period.

“The Foundation board will appoint the chief executive of the club, who would be responsible for the day-to-day business management of the club, and a football manager, who would be responsible for all footballing decisions. There will be no interference from the Foundation but these two key people will be responsible to the club directors and will be responsible for controlling their specific budgets.

“The Foundation’s priority is clear. We want to see Hearts survive and prosper through fan ownership, and ultimately it will be up to Hearts fans worldwide to decide if they want to go down that road or not.”