When peering through the news reports this morning, something stopped me in my tracks.
“Hull City AFC today announce that they will be called ‘Hull City Tigers’ from this day on.” With a real emphasis to simply call themselves “Hull Tigers.”
Checking the calendar quickly, nope, it’s not April 1st. Is this for real?
Sadly it is. Since 1904 the newly promoted Premier League side have been known as Hull City Association Football Club but now Egyptian Chairman Assem Allam has decided to wipe away that 109 year history.
He has chosen to do so for “commercial reasons” and admitted he cannot force the clubs fans to use the new name. But Allam, who saved Hull City from administration in 2010 following a deep financial crisis after being relegated from the Premier League, owns Hull and can do whatever he wants. Clearly.
So after being a hugely successful businessman for many years, its seems as though he’s taking the lessons he learned from the boardroom into the soccer realm. What could possibly go wrong with that? Anyway, enough of my satirical wit. Here’s what Allam had to say.
In the commercial world, the shorter the name, the better. The more it can spread quickly. I have always used short names in business. It gives you power in the science in marketing. The shorter, the more powerful the message. In Tigers, we have a really strong brand. My dislike for the word ‘City’ is because it is common. City is also associated with Leicester, Bristol, Manchester and many other clubs. I don’t like being like everyone else. I want the club to be special. It is about identity. City is a lousy identity. Hull City Association Football Club is so long.
Okay so Allam isn’t only dismissing the clubs past name, but he’s also dragging it through the mud a little bit by using words such as “lousy” and his generally negative comments. The AFC part of Hull’s name won’t disappear from their badge this season, but from the 2014-15 campaign, it will be gone forever. Allam continued to explain.
We have dropped the AFC as it is something which has become redundant. The identity of the club is the Tigers, the stripes, and the colour scheme of amber and black, which remains. We just feel that, now being on the international stage, we need to strengthen the brand identity. AFC is redundant, it is not used by the club, the fans never mention AFC, nor do the media. We have dropped something that is redundant, that is of no value, and is of no use.
Whether you agree with this or not, it’s quite sad to see an owner just change the name of the club without much due diligence or regard for the fans. Many have already voiced their opposition at the change, but what can they do?
These are some of the comments from a local newspaper in Hull. “A consultation with the real owners of the club – the fans would have been nice. We are going to be ridiculed for this country wide.” And another, “So the badge on my new away shirt isn’t even going to the badge of my club in the premiership! Well thanks a lot for wasting my money.”
Fans will still say “I’m going to watch City” whenever they go to see their team play, I guess the name change is purely for commercial reasons, so if it gets Hull more recognition in the international stage, then great. More power to them.
But the traditionalist in me is feeling uneasy about this move. Will teams across England now incorporate their nicknames into their actual names? The “Southampton Saints” or the “Newcastle Magpies” or perhaps the “Manchester Red Devils.”
Think about it. I can’t see Hull’s decision catching on.