Heart of Midlothian have announced that Save the Children will appear on their shirts for the next three seasons, replacing previous shirt sponsor, the payday loan company, Wonga.
A group of anonymous Hearts-supporting business people contacted the club’s owner, Ann Budge, several months ago with a view to offering financial support. The partnership will see Save the Children and Hearts split a seven figure sum between them. Hearts will become the first UK side to carry the name of a worldwide charity on their home and away tops having rejected standard shirt-sponsorship opportunities.
The deal is another example of the drive to restore and improve Hearts’ image and standing following their disastrous period under the ownership of Lithuanian Vladimir Romanov. Budge bought the club from administration last year and the long-term plan is to eventually transfer ownership to the supporters’ group Foundation of Hearts.
Late last year, the club became the first in the UK to adopt the living wage for all employees. Hearts will return to the top flight of Scottish football, having won the SPFL Championship in convincing fashion, losing only one match thus far.
Neil Mathers, Save the Children’s Scottish head of operations, said: “To have our name on Heart of Midlothian FC’s football shirts is an absolute honour – and a perfect match for our charity. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Save the Children and will allow us to reach many more children across Edinburgh, helping them to get the best start in life and achieve their potential.”