Hearts owner Ann Budge has cleared a significant hurdle over her plans for the new £12 million main stand after Foundation of Hearts members voted in favour of her funding proposals.
Budge asked the fans group if they could donate £3 million to the estimated £12 million cost of the Tynecastle stadium redevelopment and following a week-long online ballot, 98.9 per cent of the 3,790 votes cast gave their backing. Only 43 supporters voted against the funding plans.
In a move that will delay the Foundation’s scheduled takeover of the club by around eight months, Budge has vowed to transfer 20 per cent of her shareholding to the Foundation when £1.5 million has been pledged and a further 15 per cent on reaching the £3 million target.
The remaining 40.1 per cent stake will then be transferred once the £2.5 million that she paid to take Hearts out of administration in 2014 is repaid in full.
Foundation chairman Brian Cormack said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Foundation members have given such a resounding vote in favour of the offer from Ann.
“We thank you for this response and we are now very much looking forward to proceeding with the amended financial arrangements as authorised by the members.
“The last two years have been historic on all fronts for the club and the Foundation. This vote is yet another very significant milestone on the road we are all travelling together and reconfirms our commitment to supporting the club with its ambitious developments at our spiritual home, Tynecastle.
“Once again, Hearts’ supporters have demonstrated that they share – and wish to deliver – the positive vision which has been forged for this club from what was only two years ago the bleakest of circumstances. The future is looking very bright. Thank you again.”
Hearts now have an estimated 75 per cent of the £12 million in place for the new 7,000 seater main stand.
Work is set to begin at the end of next season, with the stand expected to be operational in September 2017.
Hearts, meanwhile, have announced that they have sold over 7,000 season tickets for next term.