The Foundation of Hearts (FoH) is the most successful supporters’ movement in Scottish footballing history. We currently have a membership of almost 8,000 individuals, all of whom contribute financially to the organisation. This financial contribution is used to provide working capital for the club we support, Heart of Midlothian.
A not-for-profit organisation, the Foundation was created in 2010 by a group of local businesspeople (Jamie Bryant, Brian Cormack, Donald Ford, Garry Halliday, Alex Mackie), all of whom are lifelong Hearts fans.
In 2013, the Foundation was joined by all the Hearts supporters’ organisations – the Federation of Hearts Supporters Clubs, the Heart of Midlothian Shareholders Association, the Heart of Midlothian Supporters’ Trust, Hearts Youth Development Committee (HYDC), and Save Our Hearts. Under the chairmanship of Ian Murray MP, this united group worked under the Foundation of Hearts ‘banner’ to take forward the vision of fan ownership.
In 2014, one of the Foundation’s own team, Ann Budge (through her specially created company, Bidco), successfully acquired the majority shareholding of the club. A legally binding agreement was put in place between Bidco and the Foundation to deliver fan ownership via the Foundation. Doing so allowed the club’s finances to be stabilised and an orderly transition to supporter ownership to be organised. Bidco’s sole purpose has been to deliver fan ownership and it has therefore not sought to make any personal gain through the process.
The club exited administration in June 2014 with no money in the bank, and on day one, in line with the agreed business plan, the Foundation injected almost £1 million of essential working capital. Over the following years, funding has continued to be provided, including a £3 million contribution to the Tynecastle Redevelopment Project (whose main focus was the new main stand), a contribution which was voted for overwhelmingly by the Foundation members. The continued funding from the Foundation will see the loan of £2.5 million from Bidco (1874) Limited repaid by mid-2020. This will be the final step in the transfer of the majority shareholding in the club to the supporters, with the Foundation receiving a 75.1% holding.
Ann Budge has been implementing her strategy of running the club in accordance with a carefully constructed plan, a key objective being to restore the club to being a viable operation so that the fans, through the Foundation, will be operating a healthy going concern at the point that we take over ownership. We are delighted to have been working closely with Ann Budge and her team to pave the way for fan ownership at Tynecastle, and we acknowledge the extraordinary commitment, breadth of skills and new values which she has brought to the club. Her initiative has been a breath of fresh air in the Scottish football scene.
None of the Foundation initiative would have been possible without the incredible dedication and determination – defying sceptics and nay-sayers at every turn – of the magnificent supporters of Heart of Midlothian Football Club.
Stuart Wallace (Chair)
Stuart is a chartered tax adviser and spent 22 years of his career at accountancy giant PwC, the latter part of which he spent as a senior partner in Birmingham and London. Stuart helped the Foundation of Hearts at its inception in ensuring we were alert to our taxation obligations. As chair of the Foundation, Stuart sits as a non-executive director on the board of Heart of Midlothian plc. He is also currently executive chairman at a Devon based accountancy and corporate finance firm.
Alastair has been a member of the Foundation of Hearts team from an early stage. His professional career has included working in the private, public and voluntary sectors before joining Edinburgh-based Shaw Marketing and Design, of which he is managing director.
Donald is a lawyer in the global law firm CMS. Based in Edinburgh, Donald specialises in commercial and corporate work, and was part of the legal team which acted for the Foundation in the deal with Ann Budge’s Bidco in 2014 to enable the Foundation to become majority shareholder in Hearts.
One of the founding directors of the Foundation of Hearts, Garry, a former bricklayer, is now a contracts manager. A third-generation, dyed-in-the-wool Hearts fan, Garry has throughout the whole Foundation journey given opinion, input and ideas, as well as successfully implementing a number of initiatives.
Barry is a qualified chartered accountant by profession. After graduating in economics from Edinburgh University in 2007, he has worked both in professional practice and in industry, and he is currently finance director with one of Scotland’s most successful technology businesses.
Louise is a qualified chartered taxation adviser, chartered financial planner, and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Insurance by profession. She worked in professional practice in the financial services sector for many years before establishing her own bespoke tax, accountancy and financial planning practice in 2006.