Ann Budge nets £3m from benefactors as Hearts get go-ahead

Demolition work on Tynecastles existing main stand is due to start next month, with the �12 million redevelopment expected to be finished in late September 2017. Picture: SNS
Demolition work on Tynecastles existing main stand is due to start next month, with the �12 million redevelopment expected to be finished in late September 2017. Picture: SNS
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Hearts owner Ann Budge has revealed she has secured £3 million funding for Tynecastle’s new main stand from benefactors.

After City of Edinburgh Council formally approved planning permission for the £12m development, Budge explained how the funding breaks down.

Contributions from Foundation of Hearts will total £3m, whilst several benefactors have also agreed to provide a combined £3m. The remaining £6m will mostly come from cash set aside by Hearts, with a minor shortfall still to be made up.

Demolition work on Tynecastle’s existing main stand is due to start next month following yesterday’s verdict from the council. The whole project, which will increase the ground’s overall capacity to more than 20,000, is expected to be finished in late September 2017. “We have a commitment from the FoH to contribute £3m. We have a number of benefactors who will, in total, cover another £3m. That’s 50 per cent of the funding from supporters and benefactors,” said Budge. “The benefactors is basically philanthropic givings, which is very generous.

“We have managed the club carefully over the last two years so we also have a reasonably healthy bank balance. There is a small [funding] gap and we have a number of plans afoot, which we will now accelerate to fill that gap. The funding is very largely in place.”

Asked about the size of the shortfall, Budge stressed it is an amount which Hearts are confident of raising. The exact figure depends on the final cost when work is completed. “I’m hesitating because we all know what building projects are like,” she continued. “I can tell you what the gap is in terms of the original estimate. What it will be in terms of the eventual cost remains to be seen. It’s an amount we are more that confident we can raise through the club.”

Benefactors pledging their own cash to the project has significantly reduced the amount of money Hearts must source through their own means and Budge has been overwhelmed by the goodwill.

“It’s hard to believe at times, the generosity of some of the Hearts supporters. It is quite amazing,” she said. “These people want to see a successful Hearts. Of course they are supporters, so they want to see Hearts being successful on the pitch. More than that, they want to see Hearts achieving potential as a business and a club, and really playing at the levels they believe we should be playing at. That means we need to have a very solid financial base and business base to support everything that goes on at the club.”