Hearts majority shareholder Ann Budge has reassured head coach Robbie Neilson that the football budget will not be compromised to help fund a new main stand.
Budge revealed on Monday that the redevelopment would cost between £11 million and £12m. More than 50 per cent of the funding is already in place and Budge is confident the rest can be secured to allow work to begin at the end of next season.
The proposals will see the existing outdated 4,000- seat stand replaced by a 7,000-seat structure, taking the ground’s capacity to just under 21,000.
However, mindful of the fact that success on the pitch is intrinsically linked to the number of supporters who walk through the turnstiles, Budge, who expects the new stand to be ready in September 2017, is adamant that resources earmarked for the playing budget will not be affected.
“I would definitely assure the supporters that it wont affect his [Neilson’s] budget,” Budge said. “That would be shooting ourselves in the foot. There’s no point robbing Peter to pay Paul. We have got to carry on doing what has been successful. That’s investing in the team and developing young players to maybe sell on. We need to keep doing both.
“Do we need to keep performing? Definitely, and I think it’s why we need to keep investing in the football side of things. It would be crazy not to.
“We are in the position we are in because we have been selling out Tynecastle. We’ve been selling out hospitality and record numbers of season tickets.
“The gamble, if we are going to call it a gamble, is do we think the supporters will continue to back the club? I’ve seen nothing to suggest they wouldn’t.”
Budge will be rooting for Hibs in the promotion play-offs. She said: “I don’t mind saying it. I would very much like to see Hibs come back up. I think it would be good for Scottish football generally. I think it’s good for the city and for Hearts to have Hibs in the Premiership.”