SPFL club Hearts became the largest fan-owned club after Chair Ann Budge signed her shares to the Foundation of Hearts group. Budge bought the club out of administration in 2014 and will remain in her role as Hearts chairwoman for another two years. 8000 supporters will contribute towards the running of the club but Budge maintained that the change in ownership does not mean that the supporters will have autonomy over key decisions.
“It is an amazing day, particularly for the fans,” SPFL club Hearts chairwoman Ann Budge said. “We’ve been through a fairly traumatic few years so to actually get to this point, to me says we’re in good shape. We’ve achieved everything we’ve set out to achieve and we’ve got a lot more we want to do in the future, so it is fantastic.”
“On a day-to-day basis, as we’ve said all the way through this, the club continues to be run by the executive team and the board continues to set the strategy,” she added. “There are four issues the fans will always have a say on: we can’t sell the shares, we can’t move from Tynecastle, we can’t change the club colours, we can’t change the name without permission of the supporters. The whole idea is to protect the club from things going badly wrong in the future.”
Budge believes that it is the right time to hand over ownership after a progressive last seven years. Hearts are currently top of the SPFL table.