So, Hull City Football Club owner Assem Allam says he will make good on his threat to walk away from the club “in 24 hours” if the FA refuse to ratify his application to change the club’s name to Hull Tigers.
Unless the proposed new name is trademarked, surely the outcome of the application should be a fait accompli?
Surely it is the owner’s prerogative how he rebrands his businesses, is it not? It is Allam’s football club after all, isn’t?
He paid a decent packet for it and has bankrolled the club and secured it’s supporters a seat at English football’s top table. Allam reckons the current name is bland and that the proposed change will make Hull City Football Club more marketable.
Why would anyone begrudge him a move intended to maximise return on his investment? Apparently the move has divided opinion among the club’s supporters, with the majority indignant at such… umm, sacrilege.
The proposal has offended the sensibilities of some life-long supporters of the club. “How dare Assem waltzes into our city and tries to change the way things have always been done here?”
Supporters like to have an almighty moan about how owners have destroyed “our club” to the extent that they can hardly recognise it anymore.
Nostalgia doesn’t pay the bills. Holding on to sentimental traditions of a bygone era does not generate revenues to pay the modern footballer’s obscene wages. Assem has made it possible for Hull City Football Club supporters to be part of the elite fans in English football.
That should imbue them with gratitude not arrogance. The owner deserves kudos not brickbats for taking measures to reinvent the club and ensure that it thrives as a sustainable business.
Supporters are the lifeblood of any football club.
Without a support base football clubs would not survive. There is a necessary symbiosis between supporters and the clubs. One cannot exist without the other.
However, as important as they are, supporters should be disabused of the delusion that they own the football clubs. They don’t, even though some of them labour under the delusion that being life-long season ticket holders means they can dictate to the owners how the club should be run.
“I’m here to save the club and manage the club for the benefit of the community. It will never, never be the other way round – that the community manage it for me,” said Assem Good on him for refusing to bow to the dictatorship of the supporters, although he is unlikely to endear himself to the supporters with that tone.
However, that shouldn’t detract from the fact that he is spot on. The club is his investment to manage. Hull City Football Club manager Steve Bruce once suggested that his chairman needed to be more savvy and diplomatic when dealing with the club’s supporters. Diplomatic, yes, but not necessarily pander to the whims of the supporters all the time.
In the age of benefactors and nouveau riche clubs, there will be no shortage of takers for Assem’s money should he decide that Hull City Football Club is more trouble than it is worth.