Report on the Operations and Activities of the Association 2013
It could be rightly argued that 2013 has been the worst year in the proud history of Heart of Midlothian. The Club has been plunged into administration and at the time of writing remains there. We will finish the year bottom of the Premier Division, favourites for relegation after a 15 point deduction and a ban on signing players. No agreement has yet been reached with the main creditors of the Club on a CVA and a formal exit from administration and liquidation of the Club is still an unthinkable possibility.
However, we must remain optimistic and there are reasons to be optimistic. The Romanov regime has gone for good and if all goes well we shall emerge in the Spring of 2014 with a new owner, potential fan ownership and for the first time in many years, debt free.
There is still many hurdles to overcome. What cannot be denied is that the shareholders and supporters of the Club have been magnificent in their support, both in purchasing season tickets and many fund raising events. The supporters have also rallied round the Foundation of Hearts, the preferred bidders for the Club and made fan ownership a realistic possibility.
While remaining at the bottom of the Premiership, it has to be said that manager Gary Locke and his very young team have given their all for the Club and supporters during this very difficult time.
During the year the Association has held seven General Dinner Meetings as well as an Annual General Meeting.
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. In January, David Southern and Sergejus Fedetovas attended our AGM. In February Brian McLaughlin, senior BBC sports reporter, and Allan Preston, radio pundit and former Jambo, entertained and informed us in equal parts followed in March by an excellent presentation from Neil Doncaster, Chief Executive of the SPL. We reinstated our Player of the Year night in April and were amply rewarded with a great night with Andy Webster (winner), Darren Barr and Jamie Macdonald. Following the summer break BDO administrator, Trevor Birch and Manager Gary Locke gave us an update on matters both on and off the park followed in September by an ever popular ‘legends night attended by Jim Jefferies, Scott Crabbe and Jimmy Sandison. Scott and Jimmy also gave us an insight into the extremely valuable work they are doing with the 1874 Fighting Fund. In October we gave the stage over to Big Hearts and Hearts Youth Development to give our members an insight into the important work done by these two parts of Hearts. As a change from our usual dinner meeting format we had a quiz night in November which was well attended and very much enjoyed by all those who came along.
Reports on all monthly meetings are available on our web site.
There have been eight meetings of the Committee during the Year.
There has been one or two changes to the Committee following the AGM in January. Derek Ormston resigned as Vice Chairman due to work commitments and Rab Currie was nominated unopposed in his place. We thank Derek for his contribution to the Association over a number of years as a Committee member and during his time as Vice Chairman and look forward to seeing him at future meetings. Alison Ross was nominated as Secretary and Michael Spence was nominated as a Committee member. These were the only nominations received and we welcome them on to the Committee. Both will bring good skill sets and a wealth of experience. Since the Club entered administration in June the Committee have maintained regular contact with BDO, in particular Trevor Birch and Bryan Jackson. Trevor addressed our meeting in August along with Manager Gary Locke and Bryan is our guest at our forthcoming AGM. We continue to have an excellent relationship with Managing Director David Southern as well as other senior officials at the Club, and have attended regular meetings of the G10 Supporters Groups throughout the year. In addition the Committee is represented on the Hearts Youth Development Committee, The Remembrance Service Committee, and the 1914 Memorial Trust. We have also developed a much closer working relationship with Big Hearts, the Club’s Charitable Foundation. The Chairman of the Association has been appointed a Director of Foundation of Hearts along with representatives of the other main Supporter Groups.
The Committee asked eight questions concerning the finances of the Club at the Club’s AGM and these were answered by Vitalijus Vasiliauskas, and Sergejus Fedetovas, Main Board Directors, 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
Rab Currie Vice Chairman
Alison Ross Secretary
Sandra Alves Treasurer
Committee Members: Cheryl Coupland, Andy Grant, Lisa Paterson, Graham Shaw, Michael Spence, 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, have given us excellent service at all our Dinner meetings.
We are pleased to report a rise in membership of the Association to over 300 members. The Committee endeavours to increase membership in particular from those who purchased shares in the Share Offer in 2012.
2012 Heart of Midlothian plc Shares
The Association continues to hold 25000 shares in Heart of Midlothian plc, purchased during the Share Offer in November/December 2012.
During the year the Association, at the request of the Club, and in accordance with the decision made at the Annual general Meeting in January 2013 made a loan of £5000 to the Club in its hour of need in May 2013. Due to the Club falling into administration during the year it is unlikely that this sum will be repaid. The Association also purchased six season tickets at a cost of £1020. These tickets have been distributed around local primary schools for the use by deserving pupils. This donation has been much appreciated by the schools involved and much appreciated by the Club. We have also financed a football coaching week, run by Big Hearts, for local kids at a cost of £1000. We have sponsored the playing strips of two players, Brad Mackay and Scott Robinson, at a cost of £717.60. The Association was one of the Sponsors for the ‘Hearts Open Day’ in the summer to the tune of £322.41. The Open Day, run by Committee Member Craig Stewart raised over £6400 which was donated to the 1874 Fighting Fund.
The Committee would like to thank all members, old and new, for continuing to pay their subscriptions and attending the meetings.