THE HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN SHAREHOLDERS ASSOCIATION
Report on the operations and activities of The Association
At the start of 2015 the team continued their excellent form in the Championship and duly wrapped up winning the title very early to allow us to enjoy a number of games with no pressure and to give Craig Levein and Robbie Neilson plenty of time to plan for our challenge in the Premiership. Good solid progress continues with full houses at Tynecastle and, if some results have been a bit disappointing, I am sure most of us would have settled for our current third place if given the opportunity two years ago.
Off the field, Mrs Budge and her Board continue to run the Club very sensibly and at the AGM in December 2015 were able to show us that the Club is in very good hands and a set of accounts to back this up.
A major news item was the announcement by the Board of the decision to stay at Tynecastle and replace the Old Stand with a new one which would bring ground capacity up to around 20,000.
Another important change was to see the logo for Save the Children on our jerseys. Perhaps a very telling sign of the direction the Club is taking within the community and beyond.
Media reports have suggested that Mrs Budge would be an excellent addition to some of the Committees at SPFL and SFA. Few Hearts supporters would disagree.
During the year the Association has held eight General Dinner Meetings as well as an Annual General Meeting.
At our AGM in January our guests were Roger Arnott , Manager of the Riccarton Academy, Jack Ross, Youth Coach and Callum Robertson, Chairman of Hearts Youth Development Committee. These three were able to give the members present an invaluable insight to the Riccarton Academy and the great progress being made since coming out of administration. In February we were wonderfully entertained by Hearts Legend John Robertson whose endless stories of his time at the Club were hugely enjoyed by 250 members and guests. You can come back any time Robbo! In March we had a very busy night. Firstly Big Hearts Chair gave us an update on the plans in place for the relaunch of Hearts own charity. This was followed by a media evening with BBC television and radio journalists Brian McLauchlin and Allan Preston. Their presentation can best be described as entertaining and informative as they both excelled in their stories about Hearts and Scottish Football. In April we had our usual Player of the Year night. The members choice, Jamie Walker was joined by our sponsored players, Alim Ozturk and James Keatings. The three of them were great company for the large audience.
As we had won the Championship this year we decided to have an extra meeting in May to celebrate.
The Star of the show that night was the trophy itself which is in fact the old ‘First Division ‘ Cup won by Hearts in the late fifties and early sixties. We were also joined by Gorgie Suite and stadium announcer Scott Wilson and Chief Operating Officer Scot Gardiner and a great night was had by all. In August our biggest attendance of the year when Director of Football Craig Levein and Head Coach Robbie Neilson joined us. The ensuing Q and A session gave our members and guests an excellent insight into the plans and targets for the coming season. In September we welcomed former Hearts, Rangers and Scotland star Dave MacPherson and we enjoyed reminiscing with Dave about his playing years and especially the Scottish Cup win in 1998. In October Mrs Ann Budge, Chief Executive and Board Member Eric Hogg gave a very informative report on the great progress made by the Club both on and off the field as well as answering a good number of questions from the audience. We finished off the year with a Grade One Referee Crawford Allan who had a refereeing quiz prepared and answered some excellent questions from our audience.
A huge thank you is due to all our guests this year for giving up their time in very busy schedules to
entertain and inform us. They have all been fantastic.
Reports on all our meetings are available on our web site.
There have been eight meetings of the Committee during the year.
There has been no changes in membership of the Committee during the year.
The Association continues to have an excellent relationship with the Club. Regular meetings are held with Mrs Budge and other Board members through the Supporters Group Committee. The Association is also represented on Hearts Youth Development Committee, 1914 Memorial Trust and has a close relationship with Big Hearts, the Club community charity arm.
The Association asked five questions at the Club AGM in December which were answered by Mrs Budge and other Board members.
The Committee members are due a huge vote of thanks for attending committee meetings, working with other parts of the Club and last but not least the mountain of work required in organising the Dinner meetings held during the year.
Grateful thanks are also due to our Auditor of many years, Jimmy Robertson.
A big thank you is also due to Graham, Jackie and Carla and all those at Hearts Catering in making our dinner meeting such a success.
It is pleasing to report that there has been a small increase in membership over the year. The Committee endeavours to encourage new members from the shareholding base of the Club
During the year the Association, in accordance with the decisions at the Annual General meeting in January 2015 made the following donations to the Club
1. A donation of £4000 to the Youth Academy at Riccarton as a contribution to Hearts Youth Development
Software Project. This will benefit Hearts players of all ages.
2. A donation of £2000 to Big Hearts, the Club’s community charity to help to launch their ’kinship care’
Programme in the community.
3. A donation of £1000 to help to produce and erect a statue to commemorate the Hearts players who
volunteered in 1914 to fight in the First World War. The funds required have now been raised and
we will see the statue erected in 2016.
The Association has also donated £1099 to the Club to purchase a stage for the Gorgie Suite as well as sponsored the playing strips of two players, Alim Ozturk and Blazej Augestyn at a cost of nearly £800.
The Committee would like to thank all members, old and new, for continuing to pay their subscriptions, attending our meetings and supporting the Association. Thank you.