HUNDREDS of the Capital’s most deprived children are to be offered briefs to see Hearts in action – thanks to fans buying extra tickets to bail out the cash-strapped club.
Children who do well in school classes could also be rewarded with tickets to matches under the radical plan to redistribute the seats.
The plan – exclusively outlined here – is being overseen by the club’s charity wing, the Big Hearts Community Trust.
Its chief executive, Alan White, said: “We’re all well aware that if is there is no club then there is no Big Hearts, so everyone is doing all they can.”
Under the plan, kids who benefit will get to sit in the Wheatfield Stand. It is not known at this stage exactly how many will benefit but the charity wing think “hundreds” is a reasonable expectation.
The unique move has been made possible by the most desperate of circumstances.
Since the club went into administration fans have been desperately buying multiple season tickets and were last night two-thirds of the way towards buying the 3000 season tickets needed to help prevent the troubled club from going bust.
However, many of the extra season tickets they’ve been buying will now being gifted to Big Hearts, who will in turn pass them on to disadvantaged children, those who do well in class and community groups to repay those who have positively contributed to their neighbourhoods.
The decision as to which kids will receive the tickets will lie with headteachers and various group leaders.
A host of former players and managers including John Robertson, Scott Crabbe, Peter Houston and Craig Levein have been joined by Alex Salmond in digging deep to donate season tickets to the initiative entitled Big Hearts, Big Tickets.
Mr White added: “The response from fans has been overwhelming. Supporters were ringing asking to buy extra season tickets before we even launched the idea.
“If we receive even 50 season tickets that could mean hundreds of kids getting the chance to attend one of maybe 14 or 15 home games at Tynecastle next season.
“I’m fully expecting that we’ll receive a lot more than that, though, as it has really captured the imagination and we’re fielding e-mails from a lot of overseas fans asking how they can get involved.”
Last year, Big Hearts worked with 19 different programmes helping 13,000 people. It offers drumming and guitar tuition for kids to a health and fitness project for overweight fans.
Mr White said: “We’ve set aside an area of the Wheatfield Stand especially for these tickets so the kids won’t be dotted all over the place. Obviously tickets will be provided to parents and guardians also.
“It will be up to the headteachers and group leaders to decide who best to reward with these tickets.”