Report on the Operations and Activities of The Association 2012
Before writing this background I looked back to see what I had written last year. I discovered that I wrote that Mr Romanov wished to sell the Club, there was to be a clear out of the high earning players in the January window and players‘ wages were paid late. Nothing changes it would appear.
This past year has been one of extreme highs and extreme lows and, of course our usual change of manager. The extreme high of course was the hammering of Hibs in the Scottish Cup Final by an astonishing 5 1. The extreme low being the ceasing of funding of the Club from UBIG in March culminating in a lack of finance and working capital and the possibility of the Club being liquidated by HMRC for non payment of taxes. This is as low as it gets.
A share offer to fans resulting in fresh funds of just over £1 million has kept the Club afloat but if the Board are correct in that Club requires £2million extra funding to get to the end of the season we are by no means out of the woods yet. We can expect players to leave in January. However, the transfer embargo put in place by the SPL will make it very difficult for Hearts to trade in players and reduce the wage bill.
Mr Romanov continues to say that he wishes to sell the Club, stating that the Share offer was a first step in transferring ownership to supporters. The Board continue to talk to the Government financed Supporters Direct Group to look at the best way forward in this respect. The Foundation of Hearts, a group of Hearts supporting businessmen, have also been talking to the Board regarding taking over the Club and turning it into a fan owned Club.
If Mr Romanov were to sell the Club to a group who had the skills and vision to run the Club on a long term stable financial basis, and leave the Club free of the current £23million debt(a debt he inherited) owed to UBIG, we would owe him an enormous debt of gratitude.
During the year the Association has held seven General Dinner Meetings as well as an Annual General Meeting. We also had a celebration Dinner in May to celebrate the Cup Final victory against local rivals Hibs.
Once again we have been very fortunate in being able to attract a good variety of speakers for our monthly meetings covering a number of areas of football related topics. From the Club we have had presentations from the Hearts Management Board, the First Team Manager and coaching staff as well as Youth Coach Darren Murray who brought along starlet Dale Carrick. We have also been informed and entertained by Charlie Mann, BBC journalist, SPL referee Crawford Allan, Tom Purdie, Hearts legend Alan Anderson and SFA Chief Executive Stewart Regan. All of them brought something different to each meeting and are due our very grateful thanks.
Over 400 members and their guests attended our Scottish Cup celebration dinner in May. The Cup itself was on parade and a great night of celebration was had by all.
Reports on all General Meetings are available on our web site.
There have been eight meetings of the Committee during the Year.
The Committee members have remained the same as last year, are noted below, and continue to have an excellent working relationship with Hearts Management Board and over and above the G10 meetings there is regular contact and opportunity to put our views forward. In addition the Committee is represented on the Hearts Youth Development Committee, The Remembrance Service Committee, andThe 1914 Memorial Trust. The Chairman has also had regular meetings with the Foundation of Hearts Group who wish to purchase the shareholding of UBIG and turn the Club into a fan owned organisation. The Committee also had a joint meeting with the Committee of the Federation of Hearts Supporters which was addressed by Alex Mackie from the Foundation of Hearts Group.
The Committee asked nine questions concerning the finances of the Club at the Club’s AGM and these were answered by Vitalijus Vasiliauskas,, Main Board Director, either at the AGM or at a meeting held after the AGM.
The Committee Members are due a huge debt of gratitude for accomplishing the mountain of work required in organising the General Meetings, AGM, and representing the Association on various Committees and with Hearts Management Board.
The current Committee is
Bill Alves Chairman
Derek Ormston Vice Chairman
Rab Currie Secretary
Sandra Alves Treasurer
Committee Members: Cheryl Currie, Andy Grant, Lisa Paterson, Graham Shaw, Ron Smart and Craig Stewart. Grateful thanks are also due to our Auditor of many years, Jim Robertson. The catering staff at Hearts Hospitality, under the charge of Graham Pacitti gave us excellent service at all our Dinner meetings.
2012 Heart of Midlothian plc Share Offer
Following a Committee Meeting discussion and after consulting the members present at our November Dinner meeting, the Association purchased 25000 shares of 10p in the Club at a cost of £2750.
Membership of the Association has fallen slightly this year to just under 300. However with the recent share issue which resulted in nearly 4000 supporters purchasing shares should result in an increase in membership this year.
During the year, as per the voted instructions from members at last Year’s AGM, £5000 was donated to the Hearts Youth Academy at Riccarton. This money was used to purchase scientific apps to use in conjunction with the video analysis equipment we purchased a number of years ago. The sum of £1000 was pledged to the 1914 Memorial Trust to aid them in building a statue to commemorate the Hearts players who volunteered to fight in the First World War in September 1914. The Association also sponsors the playing kit of two players, Andrew Driver and Darren Barr.
The Committee would like to thank all members, old and new, for continuing to pay their subscriptions and attending the meetings.