Hearts: Ann Budge signs over shares to Foundation of Hearts – BBC News

Ann Budge and Stuart Wallae
Stuart Wallace of the Foundation of Hearts with club chairman Ann Budge

Hearts have become the UK’s largest fan-owned club after Ann Budge’s majority shareholding was signed over to the Foundation of Hearts.

Around 8,000 supporters make monthly pledges to the group with them officially taking ownership on Monday.

Budge, who will stay as chair for at least “two years”, says the importance of being fan owned but not fan run is crucial for the club’s future.

She bought Hearts out of administration for £2.5m in 2014.

“It’s been seven hard years and many people have said you couldn’t do it, and we have proved it can be done.

“Everything has worked, almost to a dream. The club is financially secure, more so than its been for any time in the last seven years. The club are sitting top of the league and everyone has a right to be happy.”

That followed previous owner Vladimir Romanov’s tenure at the club, which culminated in debts of around £30m.

In the past seven years the Foundation of Hearts have supported the club through pledges from supporters and in excess of £10m has gone to Hearts with a new main stand also being built during that time.

Chief executive Andrew McKinlay is expected to take more control of the day-to-day business at Hearts, while Edinburgh philanthropist James Anderson, who joined the club as a non-executive director in June, could also play a key part in the club’s future.

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