When asked to write a mission statement for the launch of Hearts Standard, once the initial dread subsided, there was this urge to use Vladimir Romanov as inspiration. Specifically the former owner’s most infamous programme notes. Boxing Day, 2005, ahead of a 5-0 thumping of Falkirk. 

The Russian-born radge referenced “Christ, profiteers and moneygrabbers” as he spoke of “those - agents, journalists, jealous hangers-on or other ‘wunderkinds’ - who seek to ruin all that is good about the game” and how all that was left was for him to “step aside and bid them farewell on their road to Hell”. Accompanied by a picture of him sitting on a beach with his jeans rolled up to his knees and a stern expression. A real festive pick-me-up!

Now, that would have been one way to leave a lasting impression. But perhaps not the positive one required by Hearts Standard. And that is what we are aiming to achieve with this new project, provide a positive impact in an ever-evolving space within football journalism in 2023.

In previous roles, I have witnessed how supporters of Heart of Midlothian Football Club devour content about their club, the third biggest in Scotland. Their passion is undeniable, as is the demand for, and desire to consume, in-depth coverage. We believe there is space alongside other outlets and the diverse, informative and passionate fan media, to provide more. Much of the Scottish football media landscape is dominated by two clubs from Glasgow. Hearts should have a more prominent position. The club and its fans deserve it, especially with the upcoming 150th anniversary.

From The Heart of Midlothian Quadrille Assembly to Tom Purdie, Tynecastle Park to Bobby Walker. McCrae’s Battalion. Tommy Walker, the Terrible Trio and the success of the 50s and 60s. The forgettable 70s. Always the Bridesmaid to the class of ‘98 and the Hammer of the Hibs. The Romanov Reign, 5-1 and then, with the club on the brink, fan power, fan passion and fan ownership through the Foundation of Hearts.

This is a club steeped in character and stories. Incredible individuals and teams which have brought success. And others which have brought notoriety and nonsense.

READ MORE: Craig Gordon: Hearts legend on his journey to master the art of goalkeeping 

At Hearts Standard we want to cover it all, from exclusive interviews with familiar and forgotten names to deep dive features on special, infamous and quirky moments from the club’s past. As well as bringing all the latest news and goings on from Tynecastle Park, there will be in-depth team, tactical and player analysis, both in video and written form, with the aid of respected data provider StatsBomb. We want to do it in an engaging and modern way with you, the reader, helping us shape the analysis and narrative. What should we talk and write about? Who should we talk to and write about?

The club possesses a special quality in that it is always interesting. Capricious and captivating. To paraphrase Dr Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park, Hearts… find a way. It is important that a balance is sought, ensuring coverage is provided with feeling and emotion, but also measured and mature rather than in a knee-jerk or cheerleading manner. 

Hearts Standard:

It has not been the start to the season anyone wanted after a season, the team's results and performance not yet reflecting the expectation. Pride can be found in the fact that Hearts are fan owned at a time when multi-club ownership is so insidious. The club are on as sound a footing as they have been in many fans’ lifetime. The team have finished in the top four in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the early 2000s. Demand for tickets is high and there is a thriving supporter movement with the Gorgie Ultras who have provided Tynecastle Park - and away days - with much-needed energy and direction. Big Hearts, the club’s charity arm, continues to go from strength to strength, while the Foundation of Hearts are preparing to reveal the organisation’s strategy for the future as it nears the £16million mark.

We believe in what we are doing, and we truly believe we can provide something new, something fresh for Hearts fans. And we would love for you to get involved and support us. We understand that the club's fans are already investing in season tickets, merchandise and paying monthly pledges to own their club but subscribe for as little as £1 for six months or £12 for 12 months and become a partner in our quest to create something special.