Bill Shankly famously said: “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I can assure you it is much more important than that”. For those who follow their football clubs through thick and thin this rings true. And so what do football supporters do when their beloved football club is on the brink of death?
In the case of Heart of Midlothian, they saved it.
A driving force behind the eventually successful bid by the Foundation of Hearts, Ian Murray, Labour MP for Edinburgh South, and most importantly in this story, a lifelong Hearts fan, has penned his story of how the club was saved. From the Romanov rollercoaster through to his resignation as Director, Murray details the many twists and turns that allow the fans of this great football club to continue watching their heroes.
There is nothing flowery about this story. It is a brutal and at times deeply emotional account of what needed to happen to keep a football club alive and is written in a journalistic prose which leaves few stones unturned. Murray captures not only his personal feelings of this lengthy and time-consuming journey but the feelings of other fans, of bidders, of former players and of the wider media world many of whom were touched by the important work being done behind the scenes during this momentous chapter in Heart of Midlothian’s history.
In keeping with giving a detailed account the chapters sometimes drown in statistics and numbers but it is the sentiment behind the importance of these figures that shines through. Memories of important games and even more important dates which allow those important games to be played. On the 11th June this year Foundation of Hearts tweeted: “The club is officially out of administration. We said in March (2014) to put the champagne in the fridge. Today you have permission to pop the cork.“
Any fan of any sports’ club will appreciate what an important moment this was in the club’s history and that is why Murray has put the events down on paper and told his story of a time that will go down in football history.