Derby clash in store: Hull KR moves in next to Hull FC
THEY are more used to clashing on the rugby pitch than the high street.
Now, Hull KR is throwing down the gauntlet to its city rivals after moving its club shop next door and above the Hull FC store in Savile Street, city centre.
Last night, the banter had already begun ahead of the Robins' VIP opening today and tomorrow's official public opening featuring past and present players.
Sue Thompson, head of retail for Hull KR, said: "It is not our fault if we are bigger and better."
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Lee Jenkinson, Sue's counterpart at FC's store, immediately hit back.
He said: "It will be the only time this season that Hull KR will be above us, so let them make the most of it."
The Robins' new store is bigger and has been described by club workers as better than their last store in Holderness Road, east Hull.
It is also more easily accessible for Robins' supporters based on both sides of the city.
Hull KR TV and a sales department will be based above the black and whites' store, with the space next door used for the shop and a further sales department.
Traditionally, Hull KR is seen as a club for people living east of the River Hull and FC as west, but Sue says that is not as much the case nowadays.
She said: "The move has been on the cards for a while as we wanted to become more central.
"We have a lot of fans who live in the west of the city, so the Holderness Road store is a bit out of the way.
"I think being next door to the FC shop brings a lot of positives and can only be good for both clubs.
"There are quite a few families who are divided when it comes to FC and KR.
"We've had cases in which Hull FC fans have stood outside our shop while their partners have come in. They won't set foot in our store because they are FC fans.
"Both clubs can work together and I am sure there will be some good banter between the two clubs."
Rovers' new city centre store is to celebrate the club's rich history as well as kit fans out in red and white.
"We are hugely excited about the launch of our new retail store," said Sue.
"The club's rich history will be celebrated within the store through a display of memorabilia, which includes shirts, trophies and the club's certificate of incorporation among a whole host of other items."
Fans have been promised a "new and exciting" range of merchandise and products, while fans will also have access to a number of interactive products, courtesy of the Hull KR TV studio, which is being integrated into the store.
Rovers' chief executive officer Mike Smith said: "We've had a lot of feedback from supporters suggesting that they'd like us to have a retail presence within the city centre and we believe we've found an excellent location.
"We're conscious of the fact that we have supporters who live on both sides of the city and the new store will mean that we're central.
"A lot of hard work has also gone into identifying the new range of merchandise and I'm sure that fans of all ages will enjoy the interactive products which are available through the incorporated Hull KR TV studio.
"We've also decided to celebrate the club's heritage within the store and are confident that our supporters will enjoy what they see when we open the doors."
Lee says he is not too concerned about the move.
"I haven't really given their move next door to us much thought," he said.
"It could even be an advantage to us. Our range is quite wide and we sell items Hull KR's doesn't.
"Fingers crossed we will steal a few of their customers."
Sue said: "I hope our fans don't get in the wrong queue when tickets go on sale for the derby."