October 2013 Dinner Meeting
We had a very busy October Dinner Meeting with two presentations for our members and guests to listen to and enjoy.
Prior to the Dinner being served we were entertained by the ‘School of Rock’, a group of talented musicians, aged 12-16 who meet once a week for music tuition at the music room at Tynecastle. This project was part financed by the Association. Thank you to the project coordinator, Kelly Barbour, and boys and girls. You were brilliant!
After an excellent dinner our first speaker was Calum Robertson, Chairman of the Hearts Youth Development Committee. Calum gave a very clear and concise presentation on the work carried out by this organisation. Started in the Joe Jordan era they have raised literally hundreds of thousands of pounds which has been used either to improve facilities, equipment, capital expenditure to facilitate youth development and even provided signing on fees for some of the players currently playing in the first team. They work closely with the other parts of the Club and he was fulsome in his praise for the financial contribution made by the Shareholders. By the end of his talk, our members had a very clear idea of the vital contribution HYDC has made to the Club particularly at this time of financial difficulty and change.
The second part of the night was given over to ’Big Hearts’ Community Trust. They were represented by Alan White, Chief Executive. Ben Craigie Sharland, Development Manager, John Baxter, Archive and Stadium tour coordinator.
John gave an overview of the work involved in setting up the museum containing a large number of memorabilia items. The project involved arranging a large number of items and setting them out in display cabinets. The project received Heritage Lottery Funding. John is responsible for setting up the Stadium Tour which is a fascinating journey through all areas of Tynecastle and to date has attracted over 2000 visitors.
Ben presented DVD’s showing Tynie Tunes in action together with some of the activities the Trust is involved with.
Alan White, in between, some anecdotes and jokes, gave a detailed account of the successes of the Trust over the years. This culminated in September with the award for the best Pro Club in the Community. The award was presented by Kenny Dalgleish.
Alan and Ben then gave us a brief summary of the work of the Trust:
* The Scottish Cup Roadshow which visited 30 schools, 2 Local Authorities and a Residential Care Home.
The Cup was viewed by over 9000 schoolchildren
* Big Ticket Campaign - 19000 tickets have been given out to supporters in this programme. As a result of this we have supporters for the future.
* 170 season tickets have been purchased, donated by the public and former Hearts players including Craig Levein and Alan Preston.. Peter Houston has also contributed to this venture. This allows distribution to deserving causes and encourages people to come to Tynecastle. £46000 was raised by this project.
* The Football Fans in Training Programme (FFIT) continues to be successful and the programme run at Tynecastle is recognised as one of the best in the Premier League.
* Still Game, a programme of health and fitness for the over sixties, runs throughout the year.
* Once a month a Football Memories programme takes place which is for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s and has had some amazing results as it helps sufferers recall past football events.
* The Trust runs a series of grass root coaching events and these are very successful. Who knows how many Hearts players of the future these may produce.
* Regular attendees at Tynecastle will see how youngsters enjoy the Baguette Matchday Experience, especially playing on the Tynecastle pitch in front of a large crowd.
*Legends matches continue to be popular with over £96000 raised since 2008.
* Next year Big Hearts in conjunction with Community Jobs Scotland will be running a 6 month programme for 16-25 years. In addition to the football aspect the programme will also address the issues of career development together with self-esteem and confidence.
A very enjoyable and informative evening finished with Alan White leading everyone in a song that he had learned from his travels in Europe. Thanks to all our guest speakers. You did your organisations proud this evening.
September 2013 Dinner Meeting
Our September Dinner was in a sense split into two parts as we had two representatives from the 1874 Fighting Fund in former players, Scott Crabbe and Jimmy Sandison, who came along to tell us about the great work that the fund is doing for the Club at this difficult time. To follow we were very fortunate to have former player and manager Jim Jefferies with us to do our usual Q and A session. Unsurprisingly over 200 members and guests turned up to enjoy an excellent meal and listen to the boys.
We started off with the 1874 Fighting Fund having the floor to themselves and gave them the opportunity to answer some pre-arranged questions. As a summary the Fund was set up as a Discretionary Trust, Jimmy and Scott are among the Trustees, its objectives being to raise money for the benefit of Heart of Midlothian FC both now and in the future regardless of who controls the Club.
They raise funds in a number of ways, mainly by fund raising events but are also happy to receive donations from fans or organisations. They have also recently received donations from SPL Clubs St Johnstone and Inverness Caley Thistle. Jambos Kickback has been a large donator of funds. A Family Day held at Tynecastle and organised by our own Committee member Craig Stewart raised over £6000.
The Fund has a very good relationship with the Club and they speak regularly in making decisions on how funds raised will be spent.
A recent contribution to the Club was to pay for the players to stay overnight when they played Ross County at Dingwall. It had been decided that in this time of cost cutting the players would travel up on the morning of the match. Hearts were fully supportive of this idea in the hope that the players would be better prepared for the game.
A number of improvements to Tynecastle, as well as repairs and maintenance, have been financed by the Fund. In that regard, Jimmy explained, they are always happy to hear from people with specialist skills to help them achieve this work.
Everybody who was present could not help but be impressed, not only with the talk given by Scott and Jimmy, but even more so by the hard work done by the Fighting Fund and the impressive results from their fund raising. They are well worth supporting and it was great to have them along and give them the opportunity to tell us about it.
The second part of the evening got started when Hearts legend Jim Jefferies joined them on the stage. As everyone knows Jim has had two spells at the Club as well as a long playing career. He talked at length about the 1998 Cup win against Rangers and spoke about the preparation required to beat a strong Rangers team in Glasgow. Possibly surprisingly he was very complimentary about the great help he received from Chris Robinson in sparing no expense in getting everything right. The result was a triumph, of course, and is clearly Jim’s greatest moment at Tynecastle.
He spoke very warmly about the foreign players he brought in to strengthen the squad in his first spell. It is clear that players like Thomas Flogel, Giles Rousset and Stephane Adam loved their time at Hearts and still keep in touch.
Jim is, of course, currently Manager at Dunfermline Athletic who are, like us, in administration. While being Hearts through and through he has developed a strong affection for the ‘Pars’ and was very complimentary about the fans and former Directors who have worked hard and raised cash to keep the Club going. The players have been magnificent working for low wages and has been greatly helped by former Jambo Neil McCann. He is in regular contact with Garry Locke and helps him whenever he is asked. He expects Dunfermline to be out of administration within weeks and is confident Hearts with the support they have had from the fans will be fine.
Asked if he would return to Tynecastle one day as say Director of Football, he does not think it impossible. He does not miss the fax from Lithuania at 2.45pm on a Saturday telling what team to play!!
A number of people have contacted me to say that this evening was one of the best we had for a long time. You won’t get an argument from me on that. Many thanks Jim, Jimmy and Scott for such a great night.