HEARTS manager Gary Locke has thanked supporters for supporting the Foundation of Hearts but warned: “It’s going to take several years to get the club back up on its feet.”
The Tynecastle boss spoke today after the first direct debits were drawn down by the Foundation of Hearts. The group-backed bid sees Edinburgh businesses provide the capital up-front, through Bidco, before entering a binding contract with Fanco to sell the club in a controlled manner at no personal gain.
With the direct debit draw down regarded as the first step towards supporter ownership of the club, Gary Locke said: “The club exists because of the supporters and the club has a chance of a future because of the supporters.
“As you know we’re all right behind the Foundation of Hearts. They are, to a man and woman, Hearts people. More importantly they’ve got the skills necessary to support the club through what will be an ongoing transition.”
Over 7500 fans participated in today’s draw down, but Locke added: “It’s the start of a very long process. It’s going to take several years to get the club back up on its feet, but with the dedication, commitment, and unity shown in the last few months I’ve no doubt we’ll get there.”
Ian Murray MP, chairman of the foundation echoed the Hearts boss, saying: “Today is a momentous day, but it’s only the start. The supporters have played their own, massively significant part, in creating the first step towards the greatest supporter movement in Scottish football history. To everyone involved I extend our warmest thanks.”
Mr Murray added that it would take ‘many years’ to get Hearts together, but that the continued support from fans would ensure the club would get there.
He added: “I want to stress that it is not too late to be part of the great Foundation of Hearts moment in time. Every pound genuinely counts.”
As of 9.00am today, 7530 supporters had pledged money to the Foundation of Hearts.