Every year, I start this overview by saying that this year has been like no other year, but never has this been more true than in 2020. Covid 19 caused the football to stop in February, and in Scotland never to restart resulting in enforced demotion to the Championship for Hearts. Legal action, which was the correct thing to do, kept us busy in the Summer but was always unlikely to succeed. The dismissal of Craig Levein in October 2019 and the resultant appointment of Daniel Stendel was not enough to get us off the bottom of the League and left us vulnerable to the vagaries of the SPFL and the self-preservation voting of most of the Clubs.
As always, the Club, our benefactors and the fans have come up trumps and the recent Financial Report published in November, show the Club will recover from these unique body blows and move forward.
The sudden appointment of Robbie Neilson and his coaching team (for some its good news, for others it is time to hire a plane to fly over Tynecastle!) and the signing of quality players like Craig Gordon has brought some fitness and stability to the team and at the time of writing a good start to our year in the Championship. A fantastic and well-deserved victory against Hib in the semi final was sadly followed by an unlucky penalty shoot-out defeat to Celtic in the final.
All we need now are the fans back. We might have to wait a while yet.
Annual General Meeting
Like all organisations, big and small, due to the restrictions during the Covid 19, it will not be possible to have members present at an Annual General Meeting in January. The Committee has decided that a Committee Zoom Meeting will be held on 28th January where all AGM business will be transacted. However, we would ask the membership to forward any questions or suggestions to the Secretary, Alison Ross, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post to be received by Monday 25th January to be dealt with at the Committee AGM meeting on 28th January.
We do hope to resume our Dinner Meetings as soon as the Covid 19, and Government regulations allow us to do so.
Our Constitution states that ‘In addition to the Annual General Meeting at least three ordinary meetings will be held each year’. Due to the Covid 19 virus and subsequent Government regulations we have had to cancel all our meetings since February 2020. In January at our AGM, we were delighted to welcome Foundation of Hearts Chair Stuart Wallace who gave us an update on all things FOH. In February, we were royally entertained and educated by former SFA Referee Calum Murray. Sadly, that was to be our last meeting of 2020.
The Committee met four times during 2020. The Committee for 2020 was
Chair: Bill Alves Secretary: Alison Ross Treasurer: Sandra Alves
Committee Members: David Drummond John Kane Susan Niven Lisa Paterson Ron Smart
The Committee continues to have an excellent relationship with Executive Chair Ann Budge and the Heart of Midlothian Board. We are also part of the Supporters Group Committee (G10) which has met a number of times over 2020, membership of which includes FOH, Federation of Hearts Supporters Clubs, Hearts Trust and Hearts Disabled Supporters Club. Hearts are represented by Chair Ann Budge, Communications Director Cat McCallum and Ticket Manager Mark Waterson. A number of our Committee members work and volunteer with Big Hearts and Hearts Museum. We maintain an excellent relationship with Graham Pacitti and his catering team.
The Committee has remained the same throughout this difficult year. Lisa is still working abroad but we hope to welcome her back on the Committee sometime in 2021. I am delighted to say that despite the problems with the virus, we have worked really well together and enjoyed new experiences such as zoom Committee Meetings and online raffles.
I must mention also the help that we receive from our membership, Tommy Fallon for his excellent report writing, Craig Stewart who will help in an instant to name just two.
Last, but by no means least, Jimmy Robertson, our auditor for many years, who is a constant source of help and support.
It is pleasing to report that our membership has remained stable at around 300, during a time when there is a lot of demand for their cash from other parts of the Club.
Treasurer, Sandra Alves, reports:
The accounts are in good order and have been audited.
In a year when there have been only two meetings attended by our members, our income from Dinners and Raffles has reduced considerably as can be seen from our Income and Expenditure Account for year to 30th November 2020. Equally our expenditure, particularly for catering in the Gorgie Suite, has reduced considerably as well.
Our continued efforts to reduce postage and use emails as our means of communication has made progress but there is still some way to go.
Although we have had our meetings restricted, we have tried to communicate with the membership via Newsletters which, of course, attract extra postage and printing costs.
One highlight was our special jersey raffle. By continuing to sell tickets online we managed to raise the fantastic sum of £697. We have been advised by the Club the prizes of signed jerseys will be available by mid-January so a draw for these prizes will be made at that time.
The balance of our account at 30th November 2020 was £9934.27
Sandra also wishes to acknowledge the help and support she receives from our auditor, Jimmy Robertson.
At our last AGM we proposed to donate a sum of £6000 to Heart of Midlothian FC. The Committee is aware that our donations to the Club in year 2020 are less than the motion passed at the AGM last year, due to COVID 19 restrictions, but the donations were agreed following discussions with the Club, and it will allow us to make larger donations to the Club in 2021 than would have been possible otherwise.
£455.43 Painting and decorating materials for function suites
£1200 Match Sponsor of Hearts v Alloa Athletic
£600 Jersey sponsorship Hearts Women
£1896 Jersey sponsorship Hearts First team and Hearts under 18 team
£100 Sponsor Hearts Disability Awareness Day
£100 Donation Tynecastle Youth Pipe Band.
Finally, the Committee would like to thank all members, old and new, for their unstinting support of the Association during very difficult times for everybody and we look forward to a much better 2021.
Annual General Meeting, January 2021