Hibs announce strategic partnership with Brighton
Hibs have announced details of a strategic partnership with English Premier League side Brighton.
It was revealed earlier this month that the two clubs were in talks over a link-up as Easter Road chairman Ron Gordon looks to explore avenues that can help strengthen Hibs.
The Capital club already has similar arrangements with League Two side Stenhousemuir, and Charleston Battery of the USL Championship.
Hibs’ Sporting Director Graeme Mathie welcomed the link-up and revealed that there had been a "genuine meeting of minds” when he and Gordon sat down with Seagulls chief executive Paul Barber and Technical Director Dan Ashworth.
Mathie added: “In our conversations, it became clear from the start that Brighton saw real benefit in a partnership with Hibernian.
“Brighton are widely recognised as having a plan and identity in how they want to grow their club and there is a clear synergy in how we want to operate here at Hibs making them a perfect partner for us."
Perhaps of most interest to fans of both clubs is that discussions have mostly focused on player development.
Mathie explained: “Dan and I presented clear examples to Ron and Paul of how this partnership can benefit specific players from both clubs, all at different stages in their development and journey.
"Brighton are one of the leading clubs in England at providing minutes to youth players and we have also enjoyed a successful season with Ryan Shanley and Steven Bradley making their first-team debuts, and Ryan Porteous and Josh Doig are regular starters in the first team.
“A number of other young players are enjoying regular match minutes through loan deals and eight of our Academy graduates have signed their first professional contracts."
There is also the potential for player exchanges, Mathie confirmed.
The Hibs chief also spoke of the club’s “Yellow Brick Road” document, which plots out the steps a player could take in their development.
He continued: “Everyone’s journey looks different but now we can start to look at some of the steps the players might take; from playing with our Under-18 group, to potential loans in the Lowland League, to league football with Stenhousemuir, to the Hibs first team, and now beyond into experiencing what life might be like in the English Premier League through our partnership with Brighton.
"This partnership allows us to plan for how a player might potentially go from Hibs to Brighton or vice versa as two new and exciting options on our ambitious roadmap and gives all our young players a pathway to aspire to play at the highest level of the game."
Other benefits of the partnership include both clubs sharing ideas and best practices, the possibility of friendly matches, and training opportunities for players and backroom staff.
Ashworth added: "This is a concept we have been discussing with our counterparts at Hibs for some time.
"We want to share ideas and knowledge, with a focus on player development opportunities for both clubs, which could include training or playing opportunities for younger players, and friendly matches between various age groups.
"Both Hibs and ourselves believe there is a real benefit in the partnership. Each club has a plan and identity, but it is clear we share some ideas, aims and ambitions, and we know how we want to achieve those.”