Gary Mackay: Never underestimate power of Hearts fans who refused to let their club die

This has been a truly momentous week in the history of Heart of Midlothian, one we should never forget.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 7:00 am
Ann Budge and Stuart Wallace sign documents as Foundation of Hearts become club owners.

The power of the Hearts support can never be underestimated and for that fanbase to now own one of Scotland’s biggest football clubs is an outstanding achievement.

Before the Foundation, there were supporter groups who weren’t entirely happy with how things were being run at Tynecastle. They went about things a bit differently and that includes our group, Save Our Hearts.

This whole process involving the Foundation has been done in a classy manner, dragging us back from the brink after a year in administration in 2013/14.

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There haven’t been protests outside people’s houses or in St Andrews Square. The magnitude of what has been achieved can never, ever be underestimated. The efforts of the individuals involved can never be underestimated either.

Winning Scottish Cups, or even league titles, is fantastic. I never got those opportunities as a player. I failed as part of a team at the last hurdle but other groups have gone on and achieved those things with Hearts.

This group have done something to allow different generations in future to enjoy the pleasure of watching Hearts strive for success once again. They refused to give in and watch the club go under. It’s momentous for us all and it would never have been possible without the support in such vast numbers.

Getting such a phenomenal amount of people involved and contributing money, you can only take a step back and look at it. Then you go: ‘Wow.’ Hearts had players who sacrificed their lives during World War I. I’ve been to Contalmaison so I know how emotive that is.

This isn’t far away and that probably shows you where I would rank this in the history of the club. From meetings in the basement of Alex Mackie’s office to where Foundation of Hearts are now, that doesn't happen with luck. It’s happened with drive, determination, passion, stubbornness and many other qualities.

It’s a brilliant story and it’s fantastic how these guys have given up their time and pushed the whole process to get it to the point where the Foundation owns Hearts on behalf of the fans.

I had a knowledge of the Foundation in its infancy. You could always tell that something was going to happen given the drive that Alex had. I suggested Donald Ford as the ex-player representative because of his knowledge as an accountant.

He would have a greater appreciation of what they were trying to do and the various loopholes they needed to go through. All credit to the five of them – Alex, Garry Halliday, Brian Cormack, Jamie Bryant and Donald.

Other names are mentioned and yes some individuals stepped in and pushed the Foundation, but there is no disputing the fact we should be thankful to those five plus the thousands of people who pledged.

These guys haven’t looked for thanks. People like Garry Halliday went through the whole process and I know the sacrifices Garry has made. If you have a love and passion for something, you do it. Garry has done that.

His dedication along with that of others has transformed Hearts into the biggest fan-owned club in Britain. It’s enough to make your heart swell with pride.

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