Sky News are reporting that the Football Association’s Membership Committee has rejected Hull City owner Assem Allam’s bid to rebrand the club Hull Tigers. The news will receive a rapturous reception among fans and the FA deserves great credit for coming to the correct conclusion.
Allam first mooted the name change in August 2013 and a coalition of Hull City fans subsequently united under the City Till We Die banner to protect their club’s identity.
Despite provocation from Allam - “they can die as soon as they want” - the group remained focused on the job in hand and delivered a superb submission to the FA during the consultation process. The group also organised a petition which gained 15,000 signatories.
The identity of a club is a matter of huge importance to fans and there should be clear approval from fans before any change to a club’s name is made.
Allam could easily have conducted a poll of season ticket holders and members to see what supporters wanted. He chose not to for the simple reason that the majority opposed the change. An FSF poll of members who support Hull City backed this up.
Hull City fans were asked, “Do you support the proposal to change the playing name from Hull City to Hull Tigers?” and an overwhelming 89.8% (1450) said no to the question. Only 10.2% (164) answered yes.
Kevin Miles, Chief Executive of the FSF, said: “This is undoubtedly the right decision and credit should go both to the FA and to Hull City fans, who led a tremendous campaign.
“The fans’ groups and fanzines who came together under the City Till We Die banner have protected their club’s heritage and 110-year-old name with great dignity.
“Hull City have a track record of defending the rights of their own fans and have shown they can listen to fans by backing safe standing. Let’s hope both the club and fans put this behind them to work together again on positive campaigns.
“The FA’s decision should also serve as a warning to other owners - such fundamental changes to a club’s identity should not be made without the support of the fans.”
The Membership Committee’s recommendation will now go to the FA Council for ratification.
Thanks to Action Images for the image used in this article.