Heart of Midlothian Football Club

There is arguably no derby in world football as old as the Edinburgh derby. The first recorded meeting of Heart of Midlothian Football Club and their city rivals, Hibernians, (now know as Hibernian or Hibs) took place on Christmas Day in 1875. Hearts emerged with a 1-0 win and since then the two have been fierce rivals, battling each other for bragging rights within the city.

That it is one of the oldest recorded derbies in world football just goes to show how historic and fabled a club, Heart of Midlothian (or Hearts, as they are commonly known) are. From their inception, right through to the present day Hearts have been an important part of the city’s culture and the daily lives of not only its residents, but their legions of fans across the world. If there’s one guarantee following Hearts it’s that thing are always going to be eventful, on and off the pitch!


Origins

The Heart of Midlothian Football Club was founded in 1874. The unusual name has its roots far from the football pitch. In the 17th Century the ‘Heart of Midlothian’ was the name given to the Edinburgh city prison, a building which also contained the city’s gallows.

The building was demolished in 1817 but, thanks to a novel by Sir Walter Scott, called ‘Heart of Midlothian’, the name stayed in existence. It became the rather morbid title of the dance hall in the town where some of the men who frequented the club, obviously impressed with the footwork they were displaying on the dance floor, decided to form a football club, which they named after their favourite dancehall.


Stadium

In 1881 Hearts moved to the Gorgie area of Edinburgh to a ground called Tynecastle Park. Five years later they were again forced to move, but this time just a short distance across the Gorgie Road. They named the new ground ‘New Tynecastle’. As the years passed and the novelty wore off the ‘new’ was dropped from the title and Tynecastle is where Hearts play their football to this day.

The capacity of the stadium is currently just under 18,000, making it the fifth largest stadium in Scotland. Amazingly just over 53,000 once packed into the ground for a Scottish Cup tie against Rangers in 1932.

The ground is due for re-development, with work currently due to begin in the summer of 2009. The re-development will additionally raise the capacity to 23,000, with the possibility of increasing it further to a total of 40,000 further down the line.

The re-development will also include important revenue boosting features for the club, such as Executive boxes, Conference, Banqueting and Exhibition space as well as restaurants and apartments.

In 2006, Hearts were forced to play their Champions League and UEFA Cup matches at the nearby Murrayfield stadium, home of the Scottish rugby team, as the Tynecastle pitch was deemed too small for UEFA regulations.


Honours

Hearts have been Champions of Scotland on four occasions, winning the Division One title (before it became known as the Premier Division) in 1894-95, 1896-97, 1957-58 and 1959-60. Hearts have won the Scottish Cup seven times, in 1891, 1896, 1901, 1906, 1956, 1998 and 2006. They have won the Scottish League Cup four times, in 1954-55, 1958-59, 1959-60 and 1962-63.


Statistics

  • Record attendance: 53,396 v Rangers, Scottish Cup 3rd Round, 13 February 1932
  • Most capped players: Steven Pressley, 32 caps for Scotland.
  • Most appearances: Gary Mackay, 640 games between 1980 – 1997 (515 League, 58 Scottish Cup, 46 League Cup, 21 European).
  • Most league goals: John Robertson, 214 goals, between 1983 – 1998.
  • Most goals in a season: Barney Battles, 44 goals in 1930-31.
  • Most honours: John Cumming – 2 League Titles, 1 Scottish Cup, 4 League Cups between 1954-1962.
  • Highest transfer fee paid: Mirsad Beslija, £850,000 from Racing Genk in 2006.
  • Highest transfer fee received: £9m for Craig Gordon from Sunderland in 2007.


Current Era

Hearts were bought by Lithuanian businessman, Vladimir Romanov, in 2004, who made the elaborate vow that the club would win the ultimate prize in club football, the Champions League, during his reign. Romanov’s finances meant that the proposed sale of the fans’ beloved Tynecastle stadium was called off, something which endeared Romanov to the supporters.

To say the ensuing years have been eventful would be the understatement of the century. Hearts have been through six managers in the four years that Romanov has been at the helm. Romanov also sacked the club’s Chief Executive, Phil Anderton, just seven months after he appointed him, replacing him with his son Roman.

He also fired Jim Duffy, the Director of Football after just one month. The Club Chairman, George Foulkes, also resigned in protest at the dismissal of Anderton. It has also been alleged that the 59-year-old Lithuanian has not only been in charge of player recruitment, but has also been selecting the starting line-up for certain games.

On the pitch the 2006 Scottish Cup Final victory over Gretna has been the highlight of the Romanov era. Hearts won the cup on penalties, after the game finished 1-1 after extra-time. Steven Pressley scored the decisive penalty in the shoot-out.

2006 was also the year that Hearts broke Celtic and Rangers’ stranglehold on the top two places in the Scottish Premier League. Celtic won the 2005-06 title by a distance but Hearts managed to pip Rangers into second place, thanks to a 1-0 victory over Aberdeen.

This meant that they became the first Scottish side outside the Old Firm to compete in the Champions League, entering the competition at the 2nd qualifying stage the following season.

Hearts comfortably dispatched Bosnian champions, Siroki Brijeg, in the Champions League 2nd Qualifying Round at the beginning of the 2006-07 season. Unfortunately they missed out on the group stages after losing 5-1 on aggregate to AEK Athens in the 3rd Qualifying Round. This meant that Hearts would compete in the UEFA Cup rather than the Champions League.


2007-08

The 2007-08 season has been disappointing for all concerned with the club. The season began with Craig Gordon, the Scottish International goalkeeper, leaving the club for Sunderland for £9,000,000 – a British record fee for a goalkeeper.

On the pitch, the club have spent the majority of the season in the lower half of the division, a position which led Romanov to discontinue the joint management team of Stephen Frail and Anatoly Korobochka. Frail has continued in a caretaker role, in charge of all first-team affairs.

He has stabilised the club in mid-table, but after finishing 2nd and 3rd in the previous two seasons it is a less than satisfactory position. The poor league standing has been compounded by Hearts exiting the Scottish Cup in the 4th Round and the League Cup in the semi-final.

The summer is expected to bring more changes at Tynecastle as Romanov hopes to get his side back in a position to challenge Celtic and Rangers’ dominance.


Contact Information

Heart of Midlothian F.C can be contacted directly at their head office, which is located at their Tynecastle Stadium.
The address is
Heart of Midlothian FC
Tynecastle Stadium
McLeod Street
Edinburgh
EH11 2NL
Scotland

Telephone: 0871 663 1874
Fax: 0131 200 7222

Alternatively you can visit the Official Club Website


Ticket Information

The Hearts ticket office is able to supply all information regarding matchday and season tickets. They are located at the Tynecastle Stadium and are open Monday to Friday from 9.30am – 5pm; Saturday’s from 10am – 2pm and matchdays from 9.30am up until kick off. Alternatively they can be contacted by phone on 0871 663 1874 or by email at ticket@homplc.co.uk.

Prices for individual matches vary, depending on the opposition. For Category A matches (games against Celtic, Rangers or Hibernian) tickets range from £22 – £38 for adults and £12 – £28 for children and OAP’s. Category B matches (all other opposition) range from £13 – £28 for adults and £6 – £18 for children and OAP’s.


Travel Information

If traveling by car, Tynecastle Stadium is located close to the West End of Edinburgh and can be located from there by taking the Dalry Road fork at Haymarket and continuing until it joins with Gorgie Road.

From Haymarket in the centre of Edinburgh the stadium can be reached by taking one of the following buses: Line 1, 2, 3, 21, 25, 33 & 34 (Lothian) or line 25, 27, 28 & 427 (First Bus) These all leave from Haymarket or the Dalry area of the city.


Supporters Clubs

There are many Hearts supporters all over the world, and also supporters’ clubs. The official Hearts Website contains an extensive list of Hearts Supporters Clubs across the world .