The key Hearts issues fans can now influence with Foundation as owners
Four important Hearts issues are now solely at fans’ discretion after Foundation of Hearts gained ownership of the Edinburgh club.
A momentous transfer took place in the home dressing room at Tynecastle Park on Monday as Ann Budge passed her 75.1 per cent shareholding to Stuart Wallace, the Foundation chairman.
As per FoH governance, their 8,000 members must now get a chance to vote on any future proposal that involves selling Tynecastle, selling club shares, changing the club name or changing the club colours.
“The four matters are if anyone proposed to change the colours, the name of the team, a proposal to move away from Tynecastle, all would come back to a vote of the members,” explained Wallace.
“A simple majority of over 50 per cent would decide the outcome. The one matter that needs a 90 per cent majority is if we decided to sell the shares, or some of the shares.”
The Foundation generates £1.6million each year in funding for the Edinburgh club. They aim to inspire other supporter groups having grown in strength since Hearts entered administration in 2013.
“Away at the start when the club was in a really dark place you had the stories of cake sales, kids bringing piggy banks into the stadium. It seems a long time ago,” said Wallace.
“The most common pledge we have is £10. That’s your average supporter who thinks this will work in the long term. And here we are £12m later. It’s jaw-dropping to get to that number and there’s no sign of it stopping.
“I hope it inspires clubs. There’s many examples of fan involvement outside the UK – in the Bundesliga and Barcelona, for example. We get approached a lot but ours isn’t the only model.
“Ours has been inspirational but others like Motherwell and St Mirren, we are in touch with people from Newcastle United, Northampton Town and other groups.
“After the tumultuous end to the previous owner’s era, Ann coming in with the Foundation, it almost feels like handing the club back to the supporters. We have always said they are the one true constant.
“The only people that really ever truly own the club are the fans. Directors of the Foundation will come and go, players will come and go, but the fans will always be there.”
Wallace now wants to see Hearts restored as Scottish football’s third force. “I have always grown up believing we are the third force and should be challenging for honours,” he said.
“It’s important as a fans’ group that the directors allow the football club to get on with things. They know football and one of the things I realised quite quickly was that I didn’t. You think by sitting out there on a Saturday you know how a football club works. Frankly, you don’t have a clue!
“It’s crucial that we are there in board meetings to participate and challenge and offer the view of the supporters. But recognise where we have a real involvement is round about those reserved matters.
“Let the folk that are good at it crack on with the day job and make us as successful as possible. I would dearly love for us to be up there showing we are the third force and challenging in cup competitions.”