Relegation offers an opportunity unlike any other

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Relegation isn't usually a football supporter's idea of a happy anecdote, for Hearts fans however, their drop from the Scottish Premier League to the Championship can be seen as a blessing in disguise for the Edinburgh outfit.

In administration and on the brink of liquidation - the Jambos were given a lifeline by many potential buyers being rumoured to swoop in and save the historic Edinburgh club from halting altogether.

One group that stood out though, was the Hearts foundation. Run by the clubs supporters who donated vigorously to keep their beloved club from going into meltdown - but just how did Heart of Midlothian end up in such a predicament? Two words, Vladimir Romanov.


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This Russian businessman was the cause of Hearts' downfall - as his financial power plummeted, so did the Jambos.

Romanov bought the majority share of the club in 2005, a massive 82% after the previous shareholders all sold their stakes to the Russian. Before his investment in Hearts, Romanov had previously shown interest in Dundee, Dundee United and Dunfermline with all of them rejecting his proposals.

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A wise move so it seemed - with Romanov eventually plummeting Hearts into financial ruin and therefore administration.

A long and uncertain future awaited the Jam Tarts soon after - with the club starting the 2013/14 season with a deduction of -15 points. During this period, Hearts pleaded with their supporters to sell out season tickets for the season to raise £800,000 which would keep the club running.

This demand was met and the club ultimately avoided liquidation thanks to the sheer devotion of the clubs supporters.

Even after a landslide relegation that season, the fans just wouldn't remove Hearts' safety net. On the 15th of August 2014, The Hearts Foundation finally bought majority shares in the club and still continue funding them to this day, whereas the whereabouts of Vladimir Romanov remain unknown.

Anne Budge is currently chairwoman of the club until the Hearts foundation's committee members take full control. 

The loyalty and devotion of football supporters is a fairytale to behold - from that point on it was nothing but good news for the Jam Tarts as Hearts won the Championship title last season almost effortlessly.

Crushing nearly every team in their path and promoting excellent young prospects into the side such as Scotland U21 internationals Jordan McGhee and Sam Nicholson.

Excellent scouting from abroad also rejuvenated the once stretched roster - with Morgaro Gomis and Alim Ozturk proving to be among the Jambos' key championship title winning players. 

Before Hearts' relegation, there was; a squad stretched to the core, an inability to pay wages, £15 million worth of debt, a transfer embargo and the threat of liquidation.

After Hearts' relegation, they now have; a replenished squad, a supporters takeover, debts being paid and a young championship winning team overflowing with confidence.

Because of this, weirdly, Hearts fans will look back at their relegation and think of it as a fresh start.

A chance to introduce new squad members to strengthen the team, to build confidence by winning games in a lower league, whilst planning for their eventual stab back into the Scottish top flight - but also for the supporters to have their say in running the club that they love. 

A similar transition occurred for Newcastle United in the 2009/2010 season, relegation from the top flight was a chance to remove the deadweight and freshen up - and boy did they do that.

Just like Hearts, they steamrolled the championship and breezed to a dominating title win. The next season they comfortably stayed in the Premier League where they remain to this day.

So, if your team take a step down a division, stay positive and follow on - because you just have no idea what will happen next. That's just the beauty of it. 

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