Previous Meetings

January 2018 Meeting

Our guests for the AGM meeting were John Colquhoun and Darren Murray. John is a former Hearts star playing 345 games over two spells at the Club. His other Clubs include Stirling Albion, Celtic and Millwall. He has won two caps for Scotland and was Rector of Edinburgh University, played a major part in the Players' Union. He is a players' agent and is owner of Box Soccer Scotland. Darren is currently Head of Coach Education at Hearts after returning from a spell in Coventry City with Elvis and Neil Macfarlane. In a previous spell with the Club as a youth coach, Darren played a major role in the development of such players as Berra, Walker, Nicholson and Callum Paterson.

The meeting was supposed to be a Q and A but John and Darren very quickly turned the evening into the John and Darren Show with the odd question thrown in!
The evening commenced with an explanation of Box Soccer. It's a Football Training Development Programme. It’s all about small sided boxes used to develop all aspects of football. Everything that happens in a game of football can be replicated in a box. When Craig Levein went to Dundee United, he asked why four or five players coming through the youth set up were better than the rest and was told that it was because of the training programme they did with Ian Cathro. Levein wanted to know more and went to see first hand and within two months he had hired Ian Cathro to be in charge of youth development at United. JC liked the whole philosophy of Box Soccer and wanted to buy it. It was not for sale so set up a new company and then bought it from Ian Cathro. CL is now implementing Box Soccer at Hearts and DM is a huge influence to the players in teaching them to be winners.
Thanks to Box Soccer and the Hearts coaches the current youth players are the best at Hearts for years. JC stated that people keep saying that players have changed, he doesn't believe that. He thinks that the way they are treated has changed. Parents and grandparents are scared to say 'no', everything is handed to players on a plate. At Hearts, we are a bit more old school and we put demands onto the players, and if you can't do something, you get shown how to do it and if you do it wrong you get told that you are doing it wrong so you can improve and do it right. Under Darren Murray, Roger Arnott and CL, JC promises you will see some of the best players not just at Hearts but in Scotland coming through in the next few years. We are starting to see the benefits just now with the number of youngsters starting to play in the first team. JC encourages anyone to go to the Academy on a Tuesday or Wednesday night and see for yourselves how good it is. DM and JC then went through some of the practices and techniques used at Riccarton. At the Academy they teach the players techniques in threes, because two isn't enough and four is too many to master. In this situation the players are taught to reach for the player with hands up, drop the hips, then bend your knees to get the balance right or 'reach' 'protect' 'away' and this is taught so that it sinks in and becomes second nature to them.
They also teach 'thought' 'movement' and 'ball', speed of thought, knowing what's going to happen and what you are going to do, speed of movement, being quick to do what you want to do, speed of ball, firing the ball into your team mates because you trust that they can deal with it. When you watch the Youth Teams train at Riccarton, they are playing with such pace and firing the balls into each other knowing that they can deal with it and it's a joy to see. Players are empowered to make their own decisions. Harry Cochrane has the potential to slow the game down like Paul Scholes used to whilst everyone else is playing at 100 mph. He looks like he has got so much time. He still has a long way to go and needs to keep developing his skills. The coaches are there to provoke thought and ultimately let the players make the decisions. JC and OM were glowing in their praise for Ian Cathro and were asked why it didn't work for him at Hearts. JC - Ian Cathro is a coaching genius, he has coached all over Europe and UK and is highly regarded by players everywhere he has coached, but managing people and players is totally different and he didn't really ever get to grips with this. Hearts are a great Club and the fans demand a lot from the players and the jersey can be heavy for some players and the Managers job is a huge job in Scottish football and some people struggle with that. JC was asked whether Michael Stewart will ever praise Craig Levein again! Yes he will, said JC, so he can say I praised when he did well and I just call it as I see it (The way JC said this was uncanny and sounded just like Michael Stewart!)
JC and OM finished off by saying that for HMSA to raise £9000 to put towards the new players lounge was amazing and to come out in numbers on a cold January night to hear about Hearts Academy shows just what sort of fans Hearts have in abundance. The way that the fans rallied to save their Club is truly remarkable.
John and Darren got resounding applause for giving us another great night.


At our Annual General Meeting on 25t h January 2018 it was agreed to donate the sum of £9000 to the Club towards the Tynecastle Development Fund. Along with our donation last year of £6000, these funds will be used to develop the Players Lounge in the New Stand and a notice will be displayed outside the lounge saying that HMSA are sponsors of the lounge.

Our raffle at the November meeting made the fantastic sum of £418 and our January AGM meeting raised a further £329. As always thanks to those who purchased tickets and a big thank you for the growing number who are donating prizes. We are running a special raffle where the prizes are the signed jerseys of our sponsored players, Don Cowie and Kyle Lafferty, as well as a jersey signed by all the players and management. There will also be a number of other prizes.
These are much valued prizes and tickets are only £2.50 each. Buy as many as you want. The draw will be made at our April Player of the Year Dinner.

November 2017

Our guest at the November meeting was former Hearts and Everton star, Gary Naysmith. Gary played 96 times for Hearts before moving on to a successful career at Everton. After spells at Sheffield United, Huddersfield and Everton, he moved into management firstly with East Fife and currently at Queen of the South. Gary won 46 international caps and was a cup winner at Hearts in 1998 aged 19. A lively Q and A session ensued when Gary stood up with the microphone. Here are some of his answers{! will let you guess the questions!). Gary trained as a youth with Hearts Chelsea and Hibs. He liked Chelsea but didn't want to leave home and as his sister was Hearts daft, he could not sign for Hibs and stay at home! Walter Kidd, a Hearts coach at the time decided he should be a full back (he was playing midfield/striker at the time). Walter was right. As a youth player he had to help the groundsman and also clean the kit of the first team players. He also had to be the butt of the banter of the first team dressing room. He remembers Stevie Fulton being a good mentor. When he started to play in the first team, Stevie used to tell him 'if you get stuck just pass the ball to me and run up the line. Most times he got the ball back. Although many people thought his debut was against Celtic his actual debut was against Motherwell as a sub the season before. His first start debut against Celtic in 1996 was memorable. The previous week Hearts had four players sent off at lbrox (hence the debut) and he still has the mountain bike he received as the 'Man of the Match' award. He well remembers the cracking goal he scored against St Johnstone. It followed a spell of loss of form due to a lack of application at training and a stiff lecture from Jim Jefferies about his attitude. Gary nearly moved to Coventry City from Hearts but he was away on international duty and Everton came in with a bigger bid which Hearts accepted before the Coventry deal was sealed. Everton are a massive Club. You could get away with a poor game at Hearts but not at Everton. He played alongside and against some great players.. Wayne Rooney was coming through the ranks at Everton and he played against the likes of Gazza, Ronalda and David Beckham. The best Manager he played for was definitely Walter Smith, he took an interest in every player at the Club, and was always the same on Monday whether the team had won, drawn or lost on the Saturday. David Moyes was a great tactician but moody for days if the team got beaten. Moyes needs to do well at West Ham to resurrect his career.
Jim Jefferies was the scariest while under Archie Knox at Sheffield United, he was at his fittest. Surprisingly he does not remember much about the 1998 Cup Final. • He watched the whole game years later and realised how much pressure Rangers put them under. He also remembers getting drunk afterwards and getting on the roof of the bus. He has good memories of the late Stefano Salvatori although Stefano was a quiet guy, on the pitch he was a player every team needs. He allowed players like Cameron, Flagel and Fulton to go forward and he would cover for them, and he and Giles Rousset were great mentors for him. His views on referees are quite surprising. He sees others getting really worked up about them but he never bothers. They have a horrible job which he would hate to do. The referees in the lower divisions are !!!!!!! dreadful though. He doesn't like players who go down so easily. They didn't do that in his day, although its part and parcel of the game now. He does not see Celtic being caught in Scotland any time soon. Celtic have a great manager in Brendan Rogers who is very good at improving players. The International side is going nowhere at the moment. We have to start developing young players in numbers before that will change. Gary reckons that the biggest challenge for him as a young manager is to stop his hair going grey I While only starting in management often you have to release a lot of players and bring in your own to get what you want. This can take time. Also you can't try different systems unless you have the players who can do it. Finally on Hearts, he would not be drawn on his favourite Manager, but he is a Hearts fan and thinks they will develop under Craig Levein but he will need a couple of transfer windows to put his stamp on the team.
The evening finished with a rousing round of applause for Gary and a unanimous belief that this had been one of our great nights.

October 2016 Dinner Meeting
We were delighted to welcome our guests for the October Dinner, Chair and Chief Executive Ann Budge and Non Executive Director Eric Hogg.
Ann started her presentation by giving an update on progress made in the last twelve months since her last visit. Hearts annual accounts have been signed off and will be published by the 18th November 2016. The AGM will be held on the 20th December in the Gorgie Suite.
On and off the pitch it has been a successful year.
Revenue is up with season ticket sales increased to 14000. Hospitality and Business relationships (advertising and sponsorships) have also seen increased revenue. In January the retail operation was taken back in house and improvements and changes in that area are ongoing.
On the pitch finishing third in the Premiership has resulted in an increase in prize money from the SPFL.
The new improved youth academy complex at Riccarton (Heriot Watt Oriam Centre) is a state of the art world class facility for attracting both youth and experienced players and is a great asset for enticing players from all over the world. The under 16 team won the East of Scotland Shield this year.
Other important additions have been the opening of the Memorial Garden and the Club Museum. Already the museum has had over 2000 visitors since opening in late September plus excellent reviews. She also noted that the museum is run by volunteers under the charge of Curator Caroline Mathers.
John Robertson will launch a Hearts Heritage Trail in 2017.
Big Hearts, the Club Community Charity continues to make real progress. There are now more than 1000 volunteers registered. A Kinship Care Family Day was held in late October which attracted 200 families and Big Hearts has built good relationships within the local Community.
Ann and Eric then both made a presentation on the New Stand. Where are we now and the future.
Eric emphasised the huge amount of work done even before the planning application was lodged and granted. Even before that, it had to be decided whether indeed the right decision was to stay at Tynecastle or to move to a new site. After looking at new sites, the land costs, the value of Tynecastle and the emotional side of things the decision was made that it was best to stay at Tynecastle.
Following a detailed design and costings plan prepared by architect Jim Clydesdale it was decided to push ahead with a new stand with a capacity of 7200 seats.
A major planning application was lodged and of course the local community and interested parties have to be consulted as the project will result in a major change to the local environment. The local community, of course, includes a school, a distillery and a chemical factory so health and safety was a huge issue in the planning procedure.
To everyone’s relief planning permission was granted and the demolition and construction work is starting almost immediately. The ticket office, shop and administration buildings in McLeod Street will start to be demolished on 14th November and the underside of the Wheatfield Stand will be used for temporary premises for all these buildings as well as in due course the changing rooms and all the required accommodation currently housed in the Old Stand.
Tynecastle will effectively be a building site for the coming months and all fans and visitors should keep up to date on how to access different parts of the ground.
The entry date for the New Stand is scheduled for the end of September 2017, although there will still be work to be completed at that time on admin buildings,changing rooms and kitchens etc. Inevitably application will have to be made to the SPFL for fixtures to be played away at the start of the season.
Ann and Eric finished the evening with a short Q and A Session and made an excellent job of answering all the question our attendees asked.
We are extremely grateful to Ann and Eric for coming along to our meeting when they are so busy stablising the Club and returning it to its position as a major Club in Scottish Football. What an exciting time it is to be a Hearts fan!!
Ann and Eric departed the top table to a well deserved standing ovation.
Annual General Meeting
The Club Annual General Meeting will take place on 20th December in the Gorgie Suite. The Annual Report and accounts will be available around the 18th November..
The Committee was represented at a meeting with Ann Budge, Scot Gardiner and Martin Jesper along with Supporters Groups and FOH on 24th October. Included in the discussion was a detailed progress report on the New Stand.
Bill Alves and Rab Currie attended a meeting with Martin Jesper who is in charge of stakeholder relationships. This was a first meeting for the Committee with Martin which going forward will improve communications for us with the Club.
Remembrance Service
The annual Remembrance Service will take place at the clock at Haymarket on 13th November 2016. Attendees are requested to arrive by 10.40am and are reminded that some approach roads will be blocked off for the service so please leave plenty of time to get there. All are welcome.
Hearts Museum
The Hearts Museum and Memorial Garden are now open to the public. Admission is free and they are open Thursday-Saturday from 10.00-16.00 (Sunday 12.00-16.00). On Saturday match days the Memorial Garden is closed and the museum closes at 12.00. The writer has been lucky enough to have had a sneak preview and under the stewardship of Curator Caroline Mathers it really is a top class visitor centre not just for Hearts fans but everybody in the world interested in football. Check out the Hearts website for future details. The Association donated £3000 towards fixtures and fittings.
Association Ties
We now have a stock of Association ties available to members. Those who have put an order in can pick them up at our next Dinner Meeting. Due to a price increase fro

February Dinner

Our guests for the February Dinner represented the old and the new at Hearts. Former Hearts star David
Bowman and new under 20’s coach Jon Daly. Dave played at Hearts from 1980-84 alongside John
Robertson and Gary Mackay and after a short spell at Coventry City he had a dazzling career at Dundee
United which included Scottish Cup success, a EUFA Cup Final and was capped six times for Scotland.
He is now a coach at Dundee United. Jon, who was born in Dublin and played in England before Craig
Levein signed him for Dundee United in 2007 where he played as a striker before joining Rangers between
2013-15. He was playing for Raith Rovers when Hearts appointed him as the under 20’s coach.
There was a busy Q and A session with these guys.

First up, not surprisingly was the recent Dundee United Hearts match at Tannadice. Both our guests
thought that that the refereeing was very poor and in particular the sending off of Jordan McGhee was a
mistake which, of course had a major effect on the game.
Jon was asked if he found managing different than playing. Yes he said, especially not waking up with
aches and pains. Although he had expected to play for another couple of years he was delighted when
Hearts contacted him about the under 20’s coaching job. It was the right job at the right Club he said.
Robbie and Craig have been great in helping him settle in and he enjoys working all day rather than
finishing training at lunch time and going home. Youth development is the way forward for all Scottish
teams and believes that mixing young and older players in the same team helps to develop the youngsters.
He is also a fan of loaning out players to lower divisions where he feels that they get regular games and
invaluable experience. On the other side of the coin, Robbie speaks to him on a daily basis about the youth
players, their progress and how they have trained, rewarding them by letting them train with the first team
if they are playing well. As you would expect Robbie takes a keen interest in the youth teams looking for
players he can promote to the first team. Liam Smith is a good current example and Jon also mentioned
Angus Beith and Danny Baur as players to look out for. Robbie has the final decision but he emphasised it
a big step up for the young players to come into the first team.

Unsurprisingly Dave was asked what it was like to be managed by Jim McLean. Dave replied that at the
end of the day he was a wonderful manager but the dressing room was no place to be at half time or full
time if the team was losing(or even drawing!). Having said that he built an amazing team and by and large
kept them together albeit he could make money on the transfer market. Dave gave very high praise to his
fellow players in that team like David Narey and Paul Hegarty. They never went out on the park not believing they would win which is best illustrated in their double victory against a star studded Barcelona in the EUFA Cup.

Dave also talked about his move away from Hearts in 1984. He did not want to go and has great memories
of his time at Hearts. He said that he, Robbo and Gary Mackay knew that one of them would be sold and
as it turned out it was Dave that was moved on to Coventry City. He did not enjoy it there and was pleased
when Jim McLean came in for him.
There was a good question about so many players nowadays being out injured. They both agreed that they
had played through injuries firstly because it was expected and secondly it could be very difficult to get
back in the team if they didn’t . They acknowledged that in particular the overseas players will not play if
they are injured as they are more aware of the consequences of playing while injured and that a football
career can be a short one. There is a lot of publicity too of players suffering from dementia in their
advanced years from heading the ball. Jon noted that the ball used in games now is much lighter.
The advantages and disadvantages of artificial pitches was mentioned. While they both believed that
Premiership games should be played on grass pitches they could see the benefits of artificial pitches for
training purposes particularly for the youngsters. The artificial pitches can be used in all weathers which is
an advantage.

Both guests had strong views on refereeing in the game. While it is inevitable that they will make mistakes
they do feel that referees need to be more consistent and should be made to be more accountable, bad
decisions should be acknowledged ,and that they should explain their decisions after the match. TV
replays would they feel interrupt the flow of the game and they were not sure what the exact role is of the
fourth official! Having said that Dave was probably at his most animated when saying there is no place in
the game for simulation. Also talented players like Jamie Walker and Sam Nicholson need to be protected
by the referees.

They were both quite keen on summer football. Jon said that it had been successful in Ireland. It helps
prepare teams for the early games in Europe and of course grass pitches are in better condition.
To sum up it was a most enjoyable and interesting evening from two guys who really are worth listening to
and we are very grateful for them giving up their time. Thank you Jon and Dave.


Following the decisions made at the AGM on 28th January, the Association will donate the sum of £3000 to
the Academy at Riccarton for a specific project to be decided by the coaching team. A further £3000 has
been donated to the new Hearts museum at Tynecastle. The museum is due to open in the summer of 2016

and curator Caroline Mathers is delighted to receive this sum which will be used to help with the fixtures
and fittings required to make this project a first class visitor centre for all football fans.

1914 Memorial Trust

The Annual Dinner will be held on 7th May in the Gorgie Suite. This will be a most enjoyable evening with
excellent after dinner speakers and all funds raised will go towards the statue now nearing completion.

Big Hearts

Check out the Big Hearts web site if you would like to join the army of volunteers already subscribed.
Many of our members are already volunteers. No money is involved and your time can be as much or as
little as you want. No particular skills are required but you may well have one they can use.

Fund Raising

We never fail to be amazed at the generosity of our members, both in buying raffle tickets and for
donations for our monthly dinner raffles.For the next three months we are raffling the Poppy Jersey of Morgaro Gomis worn by him in our victory against Hamilton Academical on 7th November. Added to this prize asset we have the signed jerseys of our sponsored players Captain Alim Ozturk and Blazej Augustyn. The ticket price for this raffle is a very reasonable £2.50. All proceeds will go to the Academy at Riccarton.

We also have a Hearts ball signed by the 1998 Scottish Cup winning team and a 2014/15 jersey signed by
all coaching staff and players of this Championship winning year which will be used to raise funds.

January Dinner

Following the Annual General Meeting business the members present were given a presentation by First
Team Sports Scientist John Hill. John is a Wolverhampton lad (Wolves fan originally but now a fully fledged Jambo!) who came to Edinburgh to study obtaining a Masters degree at Edinburgh University. Following an internship at Edinburgh Rugby, John joined Hearts looking after the young teenagers but has now risen in the ranks to be sports scientist for the first team. With the use of visual aids and film of the players (starring Callum Paterson and Jamie Walker) John went through a typical day at the Academy. Firstly warm up exercises , working in the gym, building up body strength and training outside which would emulate the work done by the players during an actual game. Emphasis for John was building up the physical strength of the players, holding and shielding the ball very well illustrated using the recent 0 0 draw with Celtic at Parkhead. Tailoring individual fitness programmes is a very important part of the job in particular those players who have been injured. We were shown the exercises used to bring Jamie Walker back to full fitness after a long lay off and operation. Heart monitors are used to make sure the player is working hard but also to ensure that his body is coping with recuperation programme.

John is also an expert on the diets and lifestyle of the players. John explained that although they do not
have the players 24 hours a day they can advise on these topics to maximise fitness levels. He explained
that all the players buy into this making his job a bit easier! He is a self confessed ‘sports scientist geek’
and being part of Heriot Watt has allowed him to go to lectures, visit other clubs like Manchester United to
keep himself completely up to date with the latest tecniques. This was a fascinating presentation and an eye opener to all our members and further proof that no stone is left unturned not only to improve the first team performance but make Riccarton a great place for all academy players to improve themselves in every way and optimise their careers in football. While we all look to the newspapers to read about management and players it is obvious that John and sports science have an equal part to play in making Hearts a successful Club.


Following the decisions made at the AGM on 28th January, the Association will donate the sum of £3000 to
the Academy at Riccarton for a specific project to be decided by the coaching team. A further £3000 will
be donated to the new Hearts museum at Tynecastle. The museum is due to open in the summer of 2016
and curator Caroline Mather is delighted to receive this sum which will be used to help with the fixtures
and fittings required to make this project a first class visitor centre for all football fans.

1914 Memorial Trust

Bill Alves represented the Association at the 1914 Memorial Trust Committee meeting on 27th January.
Sufficient cash has been raised to produce the magnificent statue currently under production. The statue
will be positioned next to the new Memorial Garden at Tynecastle and should be on view there by this
summer. The Committee will continue with fundraising in order to purchase a plinth and for future
maintenance costs.

The Annual Dinner will be held on 7th May in the Gorgie Suite with excellent after dinner speakers and is a
not to be missed evening.

Big Hearts

The Association was represented at a catch up meeting on 2nd February with Big Hearts General Manager
Caryn Kerr and Hearts Supporter Groups. Caryn reported that 2015 has been a successful year for Big
Hearts with the launch of their new ‘family focussed’ strategy. The Kinship Care Programme was
launched and Football Memories continued to flourish. In 2016 they will continue to grow the existing
programmes, as well as create new programmes, where need is identified.
Caryn reported ‘ The Big Hearts Supporter Movement is an initiative designed to encourage fans of the
Club to become involved in a way we don’t believe has been seen in any other football club in Scotland.
Recognising the huge financial contributions by the Hearts fans already to support the Club, this is not a
financial ask. Every single Hearts fan will be able to get involved in some way, however big or small and
in a manner that suits them.’

This new initiative will be launched in the middle of February with a new website going live. The website
will allow for fans to sign up to become ‘Big Hearts Supporters’ and there will be further promotion at the
home game against Kilmarnock on Saturday 27th February which will be a Big Hearts Day. Volunteers are
required to help out on the match day and anyone interested should contact communications@big .

Fund Raising

We never fail to be amazed at the generosity of our members, both in buying raffle tickets and for
donations for our monthly dinner raffles.For the next three months we are raffling the Poppy Jersey of Morgaro Gomis worn by him in our victory against Hamilton Academical on 7th November. Added to this prize asset we have the signed jerseys of our sponsored players Captain Alim Ozturk and Blazej Augustyn. Ticket prices for this raffle is a very reasonable £2.50. All proceeds will go to the Academy at Riccarton.
We also have a Hearts ball signed by the 1998 Scottish Cup winning team and a 2014/15 jersey signed by
all coaching staff and players of this Championship winning year which will be used to raise funds.
October Dinner 2015

Following an excellent dinner enjoyed by over 250 members and guests the chairman introduced our speakers for the evening - Hearts Chief Executive Ann Budge and Finance Director Eric Hogg.
Ann began by saying that appearing at functions such as a Shareholders Dinner had initially terrified her but after months in the job she felt much more comfortable.
Following a full year of trading the Accounts were signed off at end of September. Although a good set of Accounts the club is still making a loss largely due to extensive work being carried out on the Stadium. Ann intimated the Annual General Meeting will be held on 3rd December.
Ann was delighted to announce that the restriction on Hearts as a going concern has been removed. The club is currently ahead of turnover budget for the first quarter of the current year.
Work is ongoing on the Museum Project and creating a community pitch on ground behind Roseburn Stand.
She also expressed her disappointment at ticket sales for the upcoming Scottish League Cup Quarter Final versus Celtic. 8000 tickets have been sold to date including Celtics allocation of 1400. Hearts fans have requested a reduced away allocation in the Roseburn stand and the club has obliged. It is now up to fans to buy tickets in support of this. Celtic have been in contact requesting extra tickets.
Development of a new main stand was a topical subject throughout the evening and Ann confirmed that talks surrounding this are well under way and the development has received full backing from City of Edinburgh Council. She also confirmed that the club will stay at Tynecastle and when the work does go ahead it will be carried out during the close season to avoid problems of relocating for a period. More concrete information will be made on this at the forthcoming AGM.
Taking over the microphone Eric Hogg admitted that he had got his Revenue projections wrong for the year reported in the forthcoming Accounts. He had projected revenue of £5 million whereas actual income was £7 million. This years' projections are for income of £8 million.
Eric also confirmed there was a team looking after the Museum and a Project Manager has been appointed. There are over 2000 catalogued items available for display. The possibility of a applying for Heritage Lottery funding was explored but as this would take 1 - 2 years the club reverted to original plans. The club have been in touch with SFA and Sport Scotland regarding funding for this project.
He also confirmed that the Community pitch would be synthetic allowing play under all weather conditions.
Opening the question and answer session the situation regarding the departure of Jack Ross was raised. Ann said that this was a decision by the football department.
On questions re the Celtic game details had been published on Hearts website and that due to restrictions on what can be sold as a season ticket this game had to be sold separately.
When Ann was asked on her reflections after eighteen months in charge she said that a number of risks had been taken in particular taking hospitality in house. Another risk was taking venture coming up is taking ownership of the shop and making it a more viable and attractive retail outlet.
On the subject of the future of Scottish football Ann was adamant that changes had to be made. There are too many clubs pro rata our population. Whilst she is optimistic changes can be made the convoluted voting system at the SFA may hinder this. She is an advocate of summer football although this did not meet with unanimous approval from the audience.
A stronger Hearts has seen an increase in Business Sponsorship and the club is continually seeking new business partners.
Another question was asked re the singing section and how it can spoil the experience particularly the incessant drum playing of watching a match. Ann intimated that whilst this is annoying it is difficult to stop. However, it is being monitored on a continuous basis.
The possibility of utilising the spaces underneath the Wheatfield Stand was raised. In reply Ann informed the audience that this was currently being looked at with the possibility of a Supporters Social Club as an option.
In reply to another question Ann confirmed the capacity of the ground following development of new stand would be 20,000. Higher capacity is not possible due to restrictions on available space. The possibility of a standing section is also being looked at although this would not increase capacity.
Ann still has her regular Friday meetings with Robbie and as always they are very thorough and informative.
The situation regarding toilets in the main stand and ongoing problems with the water system in other parts of the ground is currently being investigated in conjunction with Scottish Water although a solution is proving difficult to find.
Disappointment was expressed that due to scheduling difficulties the Celtic game would not be shown live on BBC TV resulting in £70000 lost revenue.
It was stated that a good relationship exists between Hearts and Heriot Watt and the new facilities are superb.
In his closing remarks the Chairman thanked Ann and Eric for their frank and honest answers to a variety of questions. He concluded by saying that we are currently 3rd in the league, have Save the Children rather than Wonga on our strip and are progressing towards a new stand. This is further testimony to the work of Ann and her team.
The meeting closed with a very hearty round of appreciation to our excellent guests


September Dinner 2015

Our September guest, Dave McPherson, was warmly welcomed by all. Dave had a glittering career with two separate spells at Hearts and Rangers as well as an International career with Scotland winning 27 caps. He was a member of the Scotland team at the 1990 World Cup in Italy.
During his career at Tynecastle he helped nurture young talent such as Gary Locke and Paul Ritchie. He was also a member of Hearts cup winning team of 1998. He also played football in Australia and had a short spell as Manager of Morton.
Dave opened the Q and A session by giving his views as to why Scottish teams are no longer prominent in Europe. He puts this down to the financial constraints clubs are working under and the number of foreign players playing in Scotland thus hindering the development of young home grown talent.
Among the main influences in his career were Tommy McLean, Colin Jackson and John Greig who taught him how to be a role model to younger players.
Dave explained that the experience of playing in a World Cup is vastly different from playing domestic matches. There is the pride of playing for your country and the build up and preparation that goes on before a major tournament.
His world cup experience was tinged with disappointment losing the first game to Costa Rica. This was followed by a win over Sweden and a narrow defeat to Brazil where a draw would have meant qualification for the knock out stages.
His favourite Hearts goal was in a midweek game against Aberdeen at Tynecastle. In his words this was a screamer from 30 yards.
The best European night at Tynecastle was the 1 - 0 win against Bayern Munich when Ian Ferguson scored a fabulous goal from a free kick. According to Dave, Hearts were unlucky to lose the second leg in Munich.
The question of Scottish Referees was asked and Dave expressed his disappointment at the current overall poor standard. They throw out yellow and red cards like confetti rather than for bad tackles and dangerous play. Willie Collum is not one of his favourites which did not come as a surprise.
Dave explained his current job in sports management which sees him in contact with clubs throughout the country. His experience of playing football in Australia has led to the introduction of players such as Ryan and Dylan McGowan and Scott McDonald to the Scottish game.
Dave explained that footballers are now traded as a commodity with very little say when it comes to what happens to them with the introduction of Agents following the Bosman ruling.
His best memory playing for Hearts was the 1998 Cup Final, the preparation, the game itself and particularly the open topped bus parade on the Sunday.
Returning to the subject of referees Dave was of the opinion that if they admitted their mistakes they would receive greater respect from both players and fans. The introduction of technology would help but this would have to be carefully controlled to avoid too many stoppages.

When asked about Robbie Neilson's performance so far he said that as managers are judged on results Robbie is doing a good job. He also added that the current structure at the club is a credit to Hearts.
Looking at management teams he has worked with Dave said that Alec McDonald and Sandy Jardine had a good chemistry with Alec providing the man management and Sandy the tactics. It was disappointing that there were no trophies to show for their work at Hearts.
Another question asked of Dave was what three pieces of advice he would give to Hearts? His answer was very interesting :-
1. Continue to bring through youngsters.
2. Impose a limit on number of foreign players brought in.
3. Upgrade the stadium although no great need to increase capacity.
When asked his thoughts on club ownership Dave was very clear that the current Hearts model is proving to be very effective. The trouble with private ownership is separating financial and emotional involvement.
Dave also said that the best Hearts players he played with were John Robertson and Craig Levein. John, although not a great footballer was a proven goal scorer and if injury had not shortened his career Craig would have gone on to a successful career in England.

Scott & Scot
Lawrence Broadie
Alan Preston

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