Hearts owner Ann Budge clarifies what she meant by 'genuine supporters' in club statement
Hearts owner Ann Budge has sought to clarify what she meant by "genuine Hearts supporters" after a backlash from fans following her statement on Wednesday.
Budge used the wide-ranging statement to back manager Craig Levein and outlined the reasons why she still felt he was the right man for the job despite a poor start to the Ladbrokes Premiership season.
With their team bottom of the table after five games and protests having taken place outside Tynecastle following the 3-2 defeat to Motherwell, fans reacted negatively to the club's decision to stick with the status quo.
Furthermore, many were confused by the use of the term "to all genuine Hearts supporters" in the release.
Budge's response was posted on fans' forum Jambos Kickback and later shared on Twitter. A Hearts spokesperson confirmed its authenticity.
It read: "I too have read and reread my statement and wondered why so many genuine supporters have taken offence at my use of that term.
"While I knew that everything I said in any statement would be ridiculed and picked over, I nonetheless decided you and others like you needed some insight into why the Board is backing the manager. At no point did I expect you to agree/accept my reasoning. Most definitively, at no point have I ever suggested that anyone who does not agree with me is a less than a genuine supporter.
"You and people like you are precisely the people to whom I refer as genuine supporters. The distinction I was trying to draw was between you and the keyboard warriors who send me hate mail, personal threats, etc, etc. They are free to disagree with me, but I have no desire to communicate in any way with those who post such messages as Hang Ann Budge, let’s hope her face gets smashed, can’t wait to dance on her grave, etc, etc. Such comments do not, in my opinion, have anything to do with football and do not reflect the genuine passion I know is felt by what I refer to as genuine Hearts supporters.
"My conclusion in terms of why offence has been taken by so many is quite simply that there is currently a desire/need to find fault with everything I say or do. That is your right.
"To conclude....you are clearly an example of the genuine supporter to whom I addressed my comments and I completely acknowledge your right to hold your own views. I won’t ask you or any other supporter to afford me the same courtesy."