Hull fans’ group ’City Til We Die’ has challenged club owner Assem Allam over his continued plans to change the side’s name, telling him they believe the Football Association will take a dim view of any move.
Hull City fans say Assem Allam is "spectacularly ill judged".
A statement released through the Premier League outfit by Allam last night said he remained in favour of changing the club’s name from Hull City to Hull Tigers, despite protests from the fans.
Allam has claimed that owing to the fact the club do not own their KC Stadium ground – the council do – that he has to find other income streams and believes that a ’Tigers’ brand will be more marketable, having previously said he considers the word ’City’ to be “lousy” and “common”.
The company name has been already changed from Hull City AFC to Hull City Tigers and plans to change the name of the team are expected to be finalised early next year, although the FA would have to ratify any switch.
Rule 3L in the Association’s rules states: “Any application for a change of playing name must be received by The Association before 1st April in any calendar year in order for it to be considered by Council for adoption in the following playing season. Council will use its absolute discretion in deciding whether to approve a change in a Club’s playing name.”
The City Til We Die group hopes that would mean an intervention and has accused Allam of not knowing the difference between the holding company and the football team.
In a statement on its website last night, the group said: “We remain puzzled that Dr Allam cannot distinguish between the name of his holding company and the football name of the club he owns.
“Until he registers a new name with the Football Association, the club remains Hull City AFC. His belief that we are already called Hull City Tigers, a name ripe for shortening, is therefore spectacularly ill judged and erroneous.
“Our group has already had extensive contact with key figures at the FA, and we anticipate they will take a dim view both of this announcement and of Dr Allam’s rubbishing of our club’s proud history at the meeting we had with him last week.
“Let us be clear – Dr Allam CANNOT change the football name of the club without approval of the FA, who in turn require consultation with fans of the kind promised by Dr Allam when we met. By claiming we are now called Hull City Tigers, he has announced a new name and gone back on that promise – it took him 10 short days.”
Allam met with the group, as well as other fans, 10 days ago to discuss the controversial move.
At the time, the talks were hailed as “essentially positive”, but Allam yesterday confirmed his plans to back his original idea.
He said: “Having been deprived of opportunities to acquire the stadium freehold, which would have enabled us to create the infrastructure in the surrounding area, we will now need to focus on generating commercial income from elsewhere.
“A shorter club name will hopefully enable us to do so, with a stronger, quicker marketing impact all over the world.”
The statement went on to say that while Allam’s preference remains ’Hull Tigers’, he will first ensure the financial benefits of making such a switch stack up.
Allam also added he felt fans understood his need to generate new income streams, saying: “I believe the representatives at the meeting accepted that there is a wider issue at hand, in that we need to ensure the club can sustain itself through commercial income.”