Foundation of Hearts chairman insists fans can continue to make club stronger on and off park

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Foundation of Hearts chairman Stuart Wallace insists the fans group will help build a stronger future for the club on and off the park by continuing their funding.

The FoH revealed last Tuesday that they had repaid current owner Ann Budge the last instalment of the £2.4 million loan she used to help take Tynecastle out of administration in 2014.

Since then, the Foundation, backed by around 8,000 fans making monthly donations, have handed over a total of £9.8 million, including £3 million that was ring fenced for the new main stand.

Hearts will become fan owned when Budge transfers her controlling 75.1 per cent shareholding to the FoH around April time.

However, Wallace insists the supporters have shown they are more than happy to keep raising additional working capital.

Wallace said: “There is always the thought that people think that’s, ‘job done, we’ve done our bit, we’ve put our money in’ – but the fans started talking about pledging for life and we knew there was clearly a desire there to carry on to become part of a funding model at the club.

“Even after announcing we had repaid Ann, we’ve had over 110 pledgers join and that’s one of the biggest jumps we’ve seen in years.

“This may have been the final payment but it’s not the final stage of our journey. 

“We can put money into the club and we can grow, grow and grow.”

With the likes of city rivals Hibs, Aberdeen and Dundee United all seeing new investment in recent times, Wallace insists the Scottish football landscape is becoming even more competitive.

He added: “I was asked about this recently at a fans’ event and we’re quite open, the face of Scottish football is changing. 

“You only have to look around the other clubs and where they’re attracting investment from, and if we want to keep investing into the club then the fans play a part in that.

“Here we are almost £10 million pounds later and there is no sign of us letting up, yes we have a community of 11, 12,000 people who have pledged and the big challenge for us is if we can engage that whole community at once – just think of what we’ll be able to achieve putting money into the club. 

“Like the stand project, we can generate money that can be used all over the football club. 

“That has to be the aspiration now, to say, ‘lets carry this on and take it up a level’.”

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