Do we judge club owners and directors just on how much money they put into or take out of our club? Or do we also care about their respect for our traditions?
Hull City’s name change has been in the news recently. The owner, Assem Allam, has said that the word ‘city’ is common and that changing it to ‘tigers’ would make the club more marketable. He’s opposed by City Till We Die, a group campaigning to protect the historic identity of Hull City AFC, and by Supporters Direct.
One report1 quotes Steve Bruce:
“I can understand [the unhappiness] because in our country especially we are really big traditionalists and a lot of people have supported the club since the year dot, where it has been Hull City AFC. But the owner has come in and he’s in a different culture and for the money he has put into the club if he thinks Hull Tigers is his way forward then we have to respect it. If he asks us to play in pink and white stripes on Saturday we have to do it because without him there wouldn’t be either a Hull City or a Hull Tigers.”
I’m on the side of the traditionalists and was disappointed to read Bruce’s comment though I can understand he might have felt that he needed to say something like this because of his position as manager of Hull City. My reply to him would be that football without fans is nothing; there wouldn’t be a Hull City without supporters and their wishes need to be respected too. I am glad that the Football Association will consult fans before considering the owner’s application to change the club’s playing name; I hope that the views of the fans carry more weight than the owner’s money.
I’ve seen various comments on forums about possible name changes for Birmingham City FC. Some fans have said they wouldn’t care what a new owner named the club as long as he invested a lot of money in it. Others have said they wouldn’t mind the name being changed to Birmingham Bulls but would oppose some changes to tradition and, for example, wouldn’t want to be called Small Heath Villa or play in claret and blue.
What do you think?
If you are interested in reading more about the Hull City name change, here are some links: