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Hull City name change should matter to all fans

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

City Till We Die are a newly-formed group campaigning to protect the historic Hull City AFC identity, representing several independent Hull City supporters’ groups and websites. Here they explain exactly why they’re opposed to owner Assem Allam’s plans to rename the club Hull Tigers…

Various fans’ groups came together after Assem Allam’s interview with the Guardian on the 12th September. The Egyptian-born owner reiterated his desire to rename the club Hull Tigers – not the Hull City Tigers previously mentioned in August – and stated that he could not afford to run the club by fans’ feelings.

There had already been vocal opposition to the name change since it was first officially mooted in August. A joint statement was released by several fan groups including Amber Nectar, City Independent and Vital Hull which stated “we embrace change and progress but not change that appears to have scant logical justification.” With Allam’s fresh words drawing responses on the forum boards an organised campaign has been brought together.

One of the main aims is to connect to the large majority of City supporters who are generally not in favour of the rebranding. Hull City Official Supporters Club (HCOSC) launched a public poll on the website and 85% of 7,445 votes are against the name change. The HCOSC have also conducted a poll with official members and have recently submitted the results to the club.

However, the larger masses had not shown any real opposition thus far and may have been wary of displeasing the owner whose cash injection of £40m was essential to the survival of the club.

Funds have been raised through the supporter groups which made it possible to order 3,000 ‘No To Hull Tigers’ badges and 10,000 leaflets which outline the main aims of the campaign. It is important to note that there is absolutely no opposition to the Allam family’s ownership of the club but the group want proper consultation regarding the club’s identity.

There is also absolutely no evidence to suggest that a name change will mean millions of pounds of merchandise will suddenly be gobbled up by foreign football fans. Success is seen by many as the answer to extending the club’s global reach. The thousands of badges and leaflets were all handed out for free to the broader fan base at the recent home game against West Ham United. The response has been very positive and bodes well for the future of the campaign.

However, should Hull City fans have to go through all this to keep their 109-year-old name? An identity which has represented a community and provides a link from mid-20th century legends to modern-day stars. It’s possible to list stadiums as community assets and a club’s identity – name, colour, location, etc. – should be legally protected in the best interest of fans and the wider community, especially when recollecting some of the disruptive owners in English football.

But Assem Allam predicts that many more clubs will take his lead. “I will have proved I am a leader – remember this discussion. City, Town, County; these are meaningless,” he said. “If I were the owner of Manchester City I would change the name to Manchester Hunter.”

Manchester Hunter v Hull Tigers? Imagine that as the 39th league game in Shanghai. City Till We Die is campaigning to protect Hull City AFC, although it may also be pivotal in protecting the history and tradition of British football clubs and the bond shared with every other City, Town and County.

The FSF blog is the space to challenge perceived wisdom, entertain readers and inform our members. The views expressed on this blog are those of the author – they don’t necessarily represent FSF policy and (pay attention journalists) shouldn’t be attributed to the FSF. Have your say below and play nice…

Thanks to Action Images for the image used in this article.

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