Ann Budge admits she continues to be humbled by the “astonishing” generosity of the anonymous benefactors ploughing money into Hearts.
The capital city club announced a £1.6-million profit for the year ending June, 2019, largely due to an injection of £3.25m from the mystery backers.
The individuals have now contributed £9m in the past three years.
However, the Jambos owner has sought to alleviate any fears that the parties are getting a say in how the cash is spent.
“It’s not just a benefactor, it’s a group of people who have supported us,” she explained. “It’s just amazing and I can’t really explain it.
“At the start, they believed we were doing a really good thing by saving the club.
“It’s all about ethos and values, and they’re still supporting that.
“No one has a say in what goes on here. I chat with them and give them updates every now and then, but it’s purely a philanthropic donation.”
Budge also dismissed any fears regarding an over-reliance on their backing, insisting the club would simply have cut its cloth accordingly if they did not have those additional funds to call upon.
“Last summer we brought players in because we had their support,” continued Budge. “We wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t have the money.”
Meanwhile, Budge has revealed that Hearts could complete their transition into fan ownership as early as February.
The formal handover of power to supporters’ group Foundation of Hearts (FoH) was expected to happen next spring, but the parties are ahead of schedule.
FoH boasts 7,500 paying members, and has contributed more than £9m to the club in working capital and to the Tynecastle Development Fund, which included the construction of their new Main Stand.
The group already has one representative on the Hearts board, Stuart Wallace, and will officially purchase a 75.1% controlling stake from Budge next year when FoH repay the £2.5m she used to buy the club from the jaws of liquidation in 2014.
“We are still well on course,” she said. “Everything could be completed even earlier – possibly in February or March.
“It will be nice to get to where I feel we’ve done what we set out to do.”
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