In a wide-ranging interview in which he admits he’s “not a football fan”, Hull City Tigers owner Assem Allam says he won’t spend any more on the team until his desired club name change is granted.
Allam, 75, has broken Hull’s transfer record four times since pulling the club out of administration in 2010, but has been involved in a very public battle to drop ‘City’ from the team’s name in order to focus on ‘Tigers’. He says it will make the team more marketable and send business booming.
“I won’t pay out if I cannot create income,” Allam said. “That is called ‘throwing money at it’.”
The English FA blocked the name change after fans protested. It’s been a bizarre story that won’t go away, and recently escalated into Allam putting the club up for sale last month. He says there’s been interest in the club, but not from anyone who would be good for the community.
Hull spent more than £30m in the summer, with striker Abel Hernandez arriving for a club record fee. It remains to be seen if the issue over the club’s name will be resolved before January, although a verdict on the appeal should be reached in November.
Allam was not able to comment on the appeal, but it is understood Hull believe the FA’s decision to introduce a consultation with fans may have prejudiced the case. All previous cases lodged with the FA had not consulted with the views of supporters.
“To take the club global, you need a strong name. I don’t want to create a new name. I do not want to change it from Hull City Tigers to Hull Viking, or Hull Allam or Hull whatever.
“For 110 years, the club has had City and it has had Tigers in the name.
“Now we want to shorten the name to go global – like Coca-Cola, like Twitter, like Google. You will never make it if your name is Hull City Association Football Club Tigers Ltd. You will never make it.”
There are really two parts of this conversation. The first is whether Allam should be able to change the name of the team. That’s complicated, but in this instance there really isn’t any harm in it (at least speaking broadly). Hull fans can call it city until they die, literally and figuratively, and for as long as I’ve followed the team I’ve heard them referred to Hull far more often than I’ve heard them referred to as Hull City.
Yet the same point defeats Allam’s contention that he’ll “never make it” with a name like Hull City Association Football Club Tigers Ltd. Sure you will. People don’t call Hull that name now.
For another thing, if Hull wins a bunch of games, makes it back into Europe and delights its fans with its style of play, their brand will grow even if they changed their name to Ketchup High-Five Town.