Hull fans urge FA to take a stand
Published 04/02/2014 | 18:22
Hull supporters' group City Till We Die have called on the Football Association to "become the heroes that protected the national game" by rejecting owner Assem Allam's proposal to rebrand the club.
Egyptian businessman Allam has invited controversy this season with plans to ditch the 110-year-old name 'Hull City AFC' in favour of his preferred 'Hull Tigers'.
The issue has cast a shadow over the club's return to the Barclays Premier League and the enmity between Allam and some sections of the support reached new heights when he responded to chants at home games by telling a Sunday newspaper those fans could "die as soon as they want".
The matter is now in the FA's hands, as it must approve any official name change, and representatives of the umbrella group CTWD made a two-and-a-half-hour presentation to the governing body on Monday.
A 21-page submission outlined their opposition to Allam's plans and invited the FA to take a moral stand.
The document said: "This is a pivotal moment for English football. The FA decision makers can become the heroes that protected the national game. Or they can usher in a new era where money and ego matter more than anything else.
"Today's members of the Football Association are the fortunate ones - they have the chance, right now, to make a statement that will protect the unique selling point of English football - its history, its culture and therefore its success.
"This decision is pivotal to English football - exercise your choice wisely, with an eye on the future as well as an appreciation of the present."
Despite a series of combative comments from Allam towards those who disagree with his position, CTWD made some conciliatory comments about his overall stewardship of the club.
Manager Steve Bruce has largely attempted to keep out of the row, but has taken the chance to point out Allam's long-term association with the area, charitable community work and financial commitment to the team.
All these points are recognised in the submission.
"Hull City's owner, Dr Assem Allam, has proved to be a tremendous owner since buying the club in 2010," it continued.
"Already a notable philanthropist in the Hull and East Riding area, he saved the club from near-inevitable liquidation by loaning tens of millions of pounds of his own money, then invested further to help elevate Hull City to the Premier League.
"The man can be regarded as a City (and city) hero. In this context, his insistence in pursuing a name change is all the more puzzling - we are experiencing our most successful years in our history...and we are experiencing them as Hull City AFC."
CTWD went on to dispute Allam's contention that rebranding would lead to greater commercial investment from overseas.
The FA is continuing to gather submissions before a final decision is made in spring.