Just when we thought that what unfolded at Cardiff City was farcical enough, there’s always another reminder in football that two can play at that particular game. The dispute that has been rumbling on at another of the promoted sides, Hull City, has now become equally controversial after chairman Assem Allam has vowed to walk out if the FA doesn’t accept his application to change the club’s name to Hull City Tigers.
He argues that the new name would increase the club’s marketability and make them more distinguishable worldwide. This is probably true, it’s difficult to suggest otherwise or question the impact of the change until it happens (if it happens). However, it’s far from certain that it would be successful. Again, just look at what Vincent Tan did in his attempts to rebrand Cardiff. Their traditional colours and logo were thrown out of the window in order to promote the club in the Far East. Roughly eighteen months have passed since those changes were made and they haven’t brought about as many benefits as what Tan was forecasting. Therefore, having seen the new Cardiff “brand” fail to take off, no one can say for certain that the switch from “Hull City” to “Hull City Tigers” will make much of a difference either.
What he has no right to do though is completely disregard the wishes of the fans, the very life blood of any football club. Not only that, but it has reached a point where he is almost waging war against them. Whilst his idea could attract more fans and more recognition for Hull all over the world, it isn’t these fans who will be attending matches regularly. Many of the fans who are so strongly opposed to the name change have been part of the club for longer (and some much longer) than Allam. This doesn’t necessarily make the fans right and Allam wrong. However, he shouldn’t have been so surprised that his plans have not been warmly received. Understandably, the fans want to protect the traditions of the club which have survived decades. It was just the same at Cardiff when the changes were put in place there. Fans, especially die-hard ones, don’t like a lot of change.
Allam can claim all he likes that he knows what is best for the club and that his track record in business is nothing short of excellent but surely if he really knew what was best for the club, he’d at least be prepared to listen to the views of the fans. Considering that a huge majority of fans are staunchly opposed to the change which means that Allam, given his successes in business, should instead find another way of re-branding the club to achieve his aims which won’t cause as much uproar. However, having already vowed to leave if this application is unsuccessful, this is hardly likely. If he really knew what was best for the club, he wouldn’t be treating this like a life or death scenario and he certainly wouldn’t be allowing it to carry on for so long as it could quite easily detract from what has been a good season for Hull on their return to the top flight.