Hearts and Hibs fans in Christmas merchandise rush

Picture: Greg Macvean
Picture: Greg Macvean
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HEARTS and Hibs fans have set tills jingling in the run-up to Christmas with a rush on club branded merchandise.

Hundreds of home shirts, 2014 calendars and even kilt-clad £19 garden gnomes are being snapped up by fans eager to put something green or maroon under the Christmas tree for their loved ones.

Picture: Ian Georgeson

Picture: Ian Georgeson

Both clubs have invested in new products including snow globes, personalised beer mats and even disco mugs to generate much-needed cash.

“Team talk plaques” – where Hibs supporters put personal messages of support on the tiles that line the player’s tunnel – have proven to be a favourite among the green-and-white half of the city.

Since their launch last month, fans have flocked to buy the £50 pieces of history in the hope they will encourage players as they run on to the Easter Road pitch.

And memories of the 2012 Scottish Cup final are still fresh in the minds of the other half of the city, with 5-1 T-shirts and DVDs among the top sellers at Hearts.

Both teams have reported increased sales of replica shirts, with children’s full kits proving a must-have.

And each set of supporters, eager to cheer on their team for the latter part of the season, have been snapping up half-season tickets.

Gail Hume, chair of the Hearts Supporters Trust, said Christmas club merchandise is a great way for fans to support their teams. She said: “I’m still doing my Christmas shopping but I’ll definitely be heading to the shop.

“I will be looking at calendars, mugs and other stocking fillers. It’s a nice way to support your club and get things for family at the same time. Everyone benefits from it.”

Hibs shop sales assistant Graham Reid said festive snow globes, hats, cushions and even the gnomes had been popular purchases this month. He said: “It has been really busy and we expect it to continue. The most popular thing that’s new this year is the Hibs onesie. They are flying out the door in both adults and kids’ sizes.”

Paul Goodwin, head of Supporters Direct Scotland, said shop sales are becoming an increasingly important income stream for clubs.

With the mark-up on club branded goods a money spinner, he says a positive Christmas sales period can really help clubs balance the books.

He said: “It is really interesting when you consider the economic impact it can have on a club. At the start of the season you get all the strip sales but at Christmas time you get people buying a lot of stocking fillers.

“I think clubs have realised the money that can be made and are really starting to cater for this now. I’ve bought my son his first proper scarf, which is something special.”