Hibs and Hearts in talks to open shop at Edinburgh Airport

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ON the pitch, their passionate rivalry has spanned more than 140 years and provided some of the most iconic moments in Scottish sporting history.

But off it, Hearts and Hibs could soon become partners – if plans to open a joint retail outlet at Edinburgh Airport take off.

Ann Budge and Leeann Dempster are looking at opening a souvenir shop within the airport's departure terminal. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Ann Budge and Leeann Dempster are looking at opening a souvenir shop within the airport's departure terminal. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Jambos owner Ann Budge revealed talks were under way with her Hibs counterparts and airport bosses over opening a souvenir shop in the departure terminal.

Responding to fan questions on the Jambos Kickback forum, Budge was asked if she would consider “introducing a pop-up shop in the city centre during the festival”.

She responded: “Yes, we are trying to do so. We checked this out having seen the suggestion from Jambos Kickback. It’s not as straightforward as it first seemed, but we haven’t given up.”

Budge added: “We’re also exploring the idea of a joint Hearts and Hibs shop at Edinburgh Airport too,” fuelling speculation the Capital’s big two were planning a united bid to cash in on the city’s tourist boom during the summer months.

Over 1.4 million visitors passed through the airport in July 2017 alone, however, club sources have remained tight-lipped on the plans, saying any discussions are still at an “early stage”.

A spokesman for the Easter Road side said: “Hibernian are always looking at ways of building our fan base, including engagement with the many tourists who visit Edinburgh.

“We are open to exploring projects that are beneficial for the club, provided they make sense from a commercial perspective and fit with the clubs aims and values.”

A Hearts spokesman added: “We are exploring many avenues with regards to increasing our commercial operation in Edinburgh.

“Talks are ongoing with a variety of potential partners and updates will be forthcoming, dependent on the progress of these talks.”

Hearts briefly had a retail outlet in the St James’ Centre during the Vladimir Romanov era, while the Hibees temporarily operated out of the Debenhams branch at Ocean Terminal while renovation work was carried out on the club shop in late 2005.

However, neither side licences their replica shirts to be sold outwith the official stadium club stores and news of the deal has split supporters on both sides of the city.

Tynecastle season ticket holder Callum Anderson, 51, said the deal would make “good business sense,” but added he might not be comfortable sharing the space with Hibs.

He said: “I think the deal would be financially beneficial for both teams, but the cynic in me says I would never want to share anything with Hibs Edinburgh Airport’s footfall is too big a business opportunity to miss out on, so I believe we should have our kits

there.”

Hibs fan Dillon Taylor, 23, had similar views, adding: “Business-wise, I think it makes sense for both teams, but I’m not sure how I feel about sharing it with Hearts.

“Both teams need to sell their shirts elsewhere, but I’m not sure a joint shop is the best way.”

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “High level talks have taken place but they are at a very early stage with nothing to confirm as yet.

“We are supportive of our local teams so anything we can do to further promote and support them is something we’ll always look at.”

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