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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 January 2006, 17:26 GMT
Hearts mourn the death of Mercer
Former Hearts chairman Wallace Mercer
Former Hearts chairman Wallace Mercer has died at the age of 59, following a short battle with cancer.

Mercer became the major shareholder at Tynecastle in 1981 and stayed at the helm for 13 eventful years.

Under his stewardship Hearts came within a whisker of winning the championship in 1986 - losing out on goal difference to Celtic.

And he will always be remembered for his controversial proposal to merge with city rivals Hibernian in 1990.

The plan was scrapped in the face of fierce opposistion from fans of both clubs, while several former players and many Scottish MPs supported the 'Hands off Hibs' campaign.

Mercer, who received death threats at the time, struggled to regain the confidence of Hearts fans and sold his shareholding to Chris Robinson and Leslie Deans four years later.

He was a great Hearts man who will always be in the hearts and minds of all directors, players and fans
Roman Romanov
Hearts chairman

Former Hearts captain Gary Mackay insists Hearts owe a huge debt to Mercer for turning round the fortunes of the club.

"The legacy he leaves behind is that in the 80's he had the vision to transform a football club which had gone down a difficult path," said Mackay.

"He brought a professionalism to the club that had been missing and he brought that from his own business dealings.

"He was more of a larger than life character to those outside the club, than those inside.

"He wanted standards to be met and we had to meet them. "The only thing thing I'm disappointed in is that he never got that monkey off our back of not winning a trophy."

Roman Romanov, chairman and acting chief executive at Tynecastle, said: "Our deepest sympathies go out to Wallace's family.

"I had the pleasure of his company on a number of occasions and found him to be a true gentlemen.

"He was a great Hearts man who will always be in the hearts and minds of all directors, players and fans.

"He worked tirelessly to make Hearts a great club and dedicated so much of his time and energy in doing so."

Mercer is survived by his wife Anne, his daughter Helen, his son Iain, and by two grand-children.


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