Hearts were formed in Edinburgh in 1874 and were named after the 'Heart of Midlothian' dance hall on the Royal Mile that the founder members, and most of the first ever Hearts team, used to frequent. Their original home was in the Meadows in central Edinburgh before moving to Powburn (West Edinburgh) and Powderhall (East Edinburgh) before finally settling on Gorgie Road at the current Tynecastle site in 1886.
The original Hearts strip was a white jersey with a maroon heart and then switched to red, white and blue hoops in 1876 after a merger with the St Andrews club. The more familiar maroon tops were introduced in 1878. The Hearts nicknames are 'Jambos' or 'Jam Tarts', which is derived from 'Jockney' rhyming slang1 for Hearts.
Hearts have had a major effect on the rules of football as we know it. In fact it was down to the mighty Jambos that the rules of the penalty kick are as we know them today. On 20 December, 1890, in a Scottish cup sixth-round tie against East Stirling, the game was poised at 1-1 and East Stirling were exerting some heavy pressure. Jimmy Adams, a full-back for Hearts, saved a certain goal by punching the ball off the line. The referee2 had to award a free kick to East Stirling, since the penalty hadn't been introduced, which they missed due to the fact that Hearts had 11 players on the goal line. Hearts went on to win the tie 3-1. The introduction of the penalty came about in 1891/92 after East Stirling protested and a similar incident occurred between Notts County and Stoke in 1891.
Hearts were the only East of Scotland side who were founder members of the inaugural Scottish League in 1890, and five years later won the first of the four championships they have won in their history.
Hearts have also won the only Scottish Cup final to have been played outside Glasgow, beating Hibernian 3-1 at Logie Green (Edinburgh) in 1896.
During the First World War the Hearts team marched together to the recruiting station and enlisted together. Seven Hearts players were killed in action, and few of the remaining survivors ever wore the Maroon again. A memorial clock stands at the Haymarket roundabout to commemorate both these and the fallen of the Second World War.
The Long Wait is Over
A long barren spell followed before glory returned Tynecastle way when the Scottish Cup was won in 1956, and the league championship followed in 1958 with Hearts scoring a record 132 goals in the process.
It was during this period that three legends for Hearts emerged: Jimmy Wardaugh, Alfie Conn and Willie Bauld. Together these players were known as the Terrible Trio, and defences throughout Scotland quaked in their boots. Between them they scored 516 goals in 952 appearances for the club, and despite being so prolific, they only managed to amass six international caps between them, no doubt due to not playing for one of the 'Old Firm' (Glasgow Rangers and Glasgow Celtic) teams.
Always the Bridesmaid - Part One
Hearts have always seemed to be on the verge of being a successful team; they have finished runners-up in the League an amazing 13 times, and on several occasions been pipped at the post on the final day of the season.
One such year was in 1965, where the mighty Jambos played host to Kilmarnock. All Hearts had to do was avoid defeat by two clear goals to win the championship. Despite hitting the post early in the match, the game was lost 2-0 and Kilmarnock won the championship by 0.04 of a goal from Hearts. This was to signal the end of the 'goal average system'3 and herald the introduction of the new goal difference system4 which would come back to haunt Hearts later.
Hearts appeared in two Scottish cup finals before the darkest days hit. The first was in 1968 and was lost 3-1 to Dunfermline. Perhaps the most famous one was in 1976, when the match kicked off at 2:59pm and Hearts were a goal down by 3pm. Rangers won that day 3-1.
The Dark Ages
A period in the wilderness again followed after the glories of the late 1950s, early 1960s with Hearts becoming a yo-yo club between the top two divisions in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The first time Hearts were ever relegated occurred in 1977 after a 3-1 final day defeat to Rangers. Although Hearts were promoted the next season they again suffered relegation in 1979. The next year saw Hearts promoted as Division One Champions, but in 1981 the worst season of Hearts' history occurred; they managed to lose 24 of the 36 matches.
Always the Bridesmaid - Part Two
This decline was arrested when Hearts last won promotion to the top flight of Scottish football in 1983.
1986 saw a return to glory for the fans, so it seemed. In one week Hearts could achieve the double. Following a 31-match unbeaten run, Hearts had to go to Dundee and nearest challengers Celtic were at St Mirren. A seven-goal turnaround was needed for Hearts to throw away the championship. Until the final seven minutes Hearts were going to be champions once more. Albert Kidd scored twice for Dundee in the last seven minutes, and Celtic won at St Mirren (who incidentally had a new £1m stand the next season) by five goals to nil. Hearts were shattered by this and went on to lose the Scottish cup final 3-0 to Aberdeen.
A New Era?
Following promotion back into the Premier Division, Hearts launched an amazing 22-game unbeaten league run against bitter rivals, Hibernian (Hibs). One of the most famous was at Easter Road where Hearts were trailing 2-1 going into injury time before John Robertson popped up in the box to bundle the ball home. His after-match comments have now become legend down Tynecastle - 'It isn't over till the wee fat striker scores.'
Hearts next reached the Scottish cup final in the first season of Jim Jeffries' stewardship, in 1995/96. Unfortunately, Hearts were once again the bridesmaid losing to Rangers 5-1 after Gary Locke had been stretchered off in the first few minutes.
Season 1997/98 showed a lot more promise for the Jambos. Hearts pushed Celtic and Rangers all the way in the league that year, and it was only their inability to beat the Old Firm that stopped them from taking the title. However, Hearts had a revenge date with Rangers at Parkhead in the Scottish Cup Final to look forward to.
Perhaps due to the fact that Hearts couldn't beat them in the league, all the media in Scotland had written off their chances before a ball was even kicked. That was soon rectified during the match.
30 seconds into the match, Steve Fulton was bundled over in the Rangers penalty area and Colin Cameron took the spot kick. 1-0 Hearts. Stephane Adam then struck a sweet volley past the stranded Goram. 2-0 Hearts. But Hearts don't like things to be easy, and Ally McCoist scored past Rousset to make it 2-1. Despite a few close calls Hearts had once again won a major Scottish trophy to end the drought. 500,000 people lined the streets between Princes Street and Gorgie Road to witness Hearts bringing back a trophy for the first time in 36 years.
Since then Hearts have been in a period of consolidation following the financial excesses of trying to wrench the title from the Old Firm. A new training facility is being opened at Heriot Watt University and the Hearts youth system is continuing to produce players such as Scott Severin to follow in the footsteps of Gary Naysmith and Allan Johnston.
The Hearts-Hibs Rivalry
As with any city with two football teams, the local rivalry is quite intense. 'Derby Day' is always special, and the winners can have a period of gloating until the next derby day. This is no different in Edinburgh between Hearts and Hibs. A lot has been made of the religious overtones between the Protestant-based Rangers and Catholic-based Celtic; the rivalry between Hearts (Protestant) and Hibs (Catholic) does contain some elements of religious bigotry, but nowhere near on the scale of the Old Firm and this mainly comes from the more intellectually-challenged supporters of both sides.
Facts and Figures
Ground - Tynecastle Stadium, Gorgie Road, Edinburgh
Capacity - 18,008
Biggest attendance - 53,396 in 1932 vs Rangers
Strip - Maroon Shirt, White Shorts
Nickname - Jam Tarts or Jambos
Most appearances - Gary Mackay: 515 (1980-97)
Most goals - John Robertson: 214 (1983-98)
Biggest win - 21-0 vs Anchor
Biggest defeat - 8-1 vs Vale of Leven
Championships - 4 (1895, 1897, 1958, 1960), Runners-up 13 times
Scottish Cup - 6 (1891, 1896, 1901, 1906, 1956, 1998), Runners-up six times
League Cup - 4 (1954-55, 1958-59, 1959-60, 1962-63), Runners-up twice
Most likely to hear down Tynie - 'It's no over till the wee fat striker scores.'
Least likely to hear - 'They Hibs are no bad.'