IAN Murray, chairman of the united Foundation of Hearts campaign last night posted a rallying message on its website, thanking Hearts supporters for pledging support to the group and promising to continue the fight to bring ownership of the Tynecastle club into the hands of fans.
Ahead of the Edinburgh derby tomorrow the Edinburgh MP posted a message co-signed by directors of the Foundation – including former Scotland and Hearts striker Donald Ford – which informs fans that the time has come to start turning the pledges into “actual payments”.
He said: “Events have continued to move forward at a rapid pace, and as you may be aware the Foundation and the various fans groups recently came together with the clear and positive aim of bringing the ownership of Hearts into the hands of us, the fans. I was very honoured to be asked to be the independent chair of the united group taking this initiative forward.
“Significant progress has been made in the last couple of weeks, and I am contacting you for two purposes. Firstly, to let you know that we intend to move towards converting the pledges into actual payments next month and, secondly, to ask you, as pledgers, to ensure that you spread the word to friends, family, people you will sit next to at the game on Sunday, to pledge what they can afford.
“Why? Because the window of opportunity for you to own your club is now. We will, therefore, be coming back to you soon to provide more detail about how we see the club being run in the future, to outline the process for this conversion of pledges, to ask for your monthly financial commitment to taking this great club forward, and to detail exactly what your pledges will be used for.
“You should also be aware that at that time, we will reiterate the promise made earlier by the Foundation that if we do not succeed in this project, your contributions will be returned to you minus normal minimum processing charges. I am sure that you will have many questions about the plans. It is our intention to be as open and transparent as we can in this process and we will use all mechanisms to be able to communicate with the fans directly.
“This will not be an easy road, and the journey will take time. The rewards, though, are not only huge but historic. Moving the club from its current position to one based on supporter ownership – distinguished by values such as integrity and transparency – make, I believe, for a compelling proposition. Hearts fans have demonstrated time and again their loyalty and their commitment to the club, and if we choose to highlight this passion once again by committing to supporter ownership, I truly believe that we can succeed. The future of Heart of Midlothian Football Club is in our hands. We mustn’t miss this opportunity to grasp it. Thank you again, and we look forward to working with you through the next stages of this historic initiative.”
The Foundation of Hearts was set up in a bid to build a new future for the club based on fan ownership and is closely monitoring events at Tynecastle as Hearts’ direction under Vladimir Romanov remains far from clear.