Hearts owner Ann Budge named winner of Edinburgh Award for Tynecastle transformation

SHE has overseen the historic rebuild of one of the Capital’s oldest sporting institutions.

Thursday, 4th July 2019, 6:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th July 2019, 7:44 pm
Hearts owner Ann Budge has been honoured for transforming the fortunes of the Tynecastle club
Hearts owner Ann Budge has been honoured for transforming the fortunes of the Tynecastle club

And now, Hearts supremo Ann Budge has been honoured for her work in bringing the Tynecastle club back from the brink of extinction after being chosen as the latest winner of a prestigious award celebrating those who have made a significant contribution to the city.

The West Pilton-born entrepreneur helped rescue the side from administration 2014 following the collapse of Lithuanian businessman Vladimir Romanov’s ownership of the club.

City leaders from across the political spectrum have now recognised her dedication to restoring the Jambos’ place in Scottish football by naming the 71-year-old, known by supporters as the ‘Queen of Hearts,’ by naming her as the 13th recipient of the ‘Edinburgh Award’.

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The honour was established in 2007 to pay a lasting tribute to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the city through their achievements.

Recipients of the award traditionally set their handprints in stone in the quadrangle in front of Edinburgh City Chambers.

Judges praised Budge’s “remarkable journey” from single mother to Scotland’s Entrepreneur of the Year and “one of the most respected figures in the Scottish business community”.

Budge told the Evening News the award was a “real honour,” adding: “What makes this award so special is that it is from my city, my hometown, and presented on behalf of the citizens of Edinburgh.”

“As someone from a working class family from West Pilton, who still cherishes everything about this city, the fans and the incredible people and the charities we work with, to be told I will soon have my handprints set in stone in the heart of Edinburgh - that is a special moment indeed for me and my family.”

Last year Budge’s rebuild of the Tynecastle outfit earned her a nomination for Football Chief Executive of the Year alongside English Premier League counterparts David Baldwin of Burnley and Fulham’s Alistair Mackintosh.

The club was relegated from the Scottish Premiership at the end of the 2013/14 season after incurring a 15-point, but surged back in their only second tier campaign under Budge’s stewardship, winning the division with 91 points.

The Jambos have since replaced the historic main stand at Tynecastle with a modern redevelopment, while also doubling revenue at the club and broadening their social outreach programmes.

Lord Provost Frank Ross, said: “Not only has Ann Budge saved one of Edinburgh’s main football clubs, giving it a chance to return to the Premiership, but she has drastically transformed Tynecastle into a place where the wider Edinburgh community can unite and spend time together.”

“She is an inspiring business woman, entrepreneur, philanthropist and community champion. She is a role model for girls everywhere and for putting fans first. No matter what colour scarf you wear, I think we can all agree this award is the ideal way for our city to recognise all that she has achieved.”