October 2016 Dinner Meeting
We were delighted to welcome our guests for the October Dinner, Chair and Chief Executive Ann Budge and Non Executive Director Eric Hogg.
Ann started her presentation by giving an update on progress made in the last twelve months since her last visit. Hearts annual accounts have been signed off and will be published by the 18th November 2016. The AGM will be held on the 20th December in the Gorgie Suite.
On and off the pitch it has been a successful year.
Revenue is up with season ticket sales increased to 14000. Hospitality and Business relationships (advertising and sponsorships) have also seen increased revenue. In January the retail operation was taken back in house and improvements and changes in that area are ongoing.
On the pitch finishing third in the Premiership has resulted in an increase in prize money from the SPFL.
The new improved youth academy complex at Riccarton (Heriot Watt Oriam Centre) is a state of the art world class facility for attracting both youth and experienced players and is a great asset for enticing players from all over the world. The under 16 team won the East of Scotland Shield this year.
Other important additions have been the opening of the Memorial Garden and the Club Museum. Already the museum has had over 2000 visitors since opening in late September plus excellent reviews. She also noted that the museum is run by volunteers under the charge of Curator Caroline Mathers.
John Robertson will launch a Hearts Heritage Trail in 2017.
Big Hearts, the Club Community Charity continues to make real progress. There are now more than 1000 volunteers registered. A Kinship Care Family Day was held in late October which attracted 200 families and Big Hearts has built good relationships within the local Community.
Ann and Eric then both made a presentation on the New Stand. Where are we now and the future.
Eric emphasised the huge amount of work done even before the planning application was lodged and granted. Even before that, it had to be decided whether indeed the right decision was to stay at Tynecastle or to move to a new site. After looking at new sites, the land costs, the value of Tynecastle and the emotional side of things the decision was made that it was best to stay at Tynecastle.
Following a detailed design and costings plan prepared by architect Jim Clydesdale it was decided to push ahead with a new stand with a capacity of 7200 seats.
A major planning application was lodged and of course the local community and interested parties have to be consulted as the project will result in a major change to the local environment. The local community, of course, includes a school, a distillery and a chemical factory so health and safety was a huge issue in the planning procedure.
To everyone’s relief planning permission was granted and the demolition and construction work is starting almost immediately. The ticket office, shop and administration buildings in McLeod Street will start to be demolished on 14th November and the underside of the Wheatfield Stand will be used for temporary premises for all these buildings as well as in due course the changing rooms and all the required accommodation currently housed in the Old Stand.
Tynecastle will effectively be a building site for the coming months and all fans and visitors should keep up to date on how to access different parts of the ground.
The entry date for the New Stand is scheduled for the end of September 2017, although there will still be work to be completed at that time on admin buildings,changing rooms and kitchens etc. Inevitably application will have to be made to the SPFL for fixtures to be played away at the start of the season.
Ann and Eric finished the evening with a short Q and A Session and made an excellent job of answering all the question our attendees asked.
We are extremely grateful to Ann and Eric for coming along to our meeting when they are so busy stablising the Club and returning it to its position as a major Club in Scottish Football. What an exciting time it is to be a Hearts fan!!
Ann and Eric departed the top table to a well deserved standing ovation.
Annual General Meeting
The Club Annual General Meeting will take place on 20th December in the Gorgie Suite. The Annual Report and accounts will be available around the 18th November..
The Committee was represented at a meeting with Ann Budge, Scot Gardiner and Martin Jesper along with Supporters Groups and FOH on 24th October. Included in the discussion was a detailed progress report on the New Stand.
Bill Alves and Rab Currie attended a meeting with Martin Jesper who is in charge of stakeholder relationships. This was a first meeting for the Committee with Martin which going forward will improve communications for us with the Club.
The annual Remembrance Service will take place at the clock at Haymarket on 13th November 2016. Attendees are requested to arrive by 10.40am and are reminded that some approach roads will be blocked off for the service so please leave plenty of time to get there. All are welcome.
The Hearts Museum and Memorial Garden are now open to the public. Admission is free and they are open Thursday-Saturday from 10.00-16.00 (Sunday 12.00-16.00). On Saturday match days the Memorial Garden is closed and the museum closes at 12.00. The writer has been lucky enough to have had a sneak preview and under the stewardship of Curator Caroline Mathers it really is a top class visitor centre not just for Hearts fans but everybody in the world interested in football. Check out the Hearts website for future details. The Association donated £3000 towards fixtures and fittings.
We now have a stock of Association ties available to members. Those who have put an order in can pick them up at our next Dinner Meeting.