Allam’s comments overshadow historic victory
Hull City produced one of the surprises of the weekend when they deservedly defeated second-placed Liverpool 3-1 at the KC Stadium. The Tigers had never previously beaten the Merseysiders in their 109-year history and few people outside East Yorkshire would have predicted such a result.
December 3rd, 2013
Steve Bruce’s reshuffled team showed that they are capable of establishing themselves in the top flight, but unfortunately off-the-field comments by Hull’s controversial owner Dr. Assem Allam have distracted attention away from the performance.
In an interview with the Independent on Sunday prior to the game, Allam said that “hooligan” supporters protesting against his attempts to rebrand as Hull Tigers can “die as soon as they want”.
Such inflammatory comments can only raise tensions and exacerbate the ongoing dispute with supporters groups.
He stated that the displaying of banners reading “City Till I Die” and “We Are Hull City” distracts the players and prevents other fans watching the game.
Dr Allam said: “How can you be supporting a club when you distract attention during a game?” He suggested supporters buy advertising space at the stadium instead. But he also made it clear he does not intend to change his controversial plan, which he describes as “shortening” rather than changing the club name to produce what he insists is a more effective brand to market abroad – particularly in Asia and Africa – and that he retains the support of the “silent majority”. If it is shown he does not, he said, he will walk away.
“I’m a simple man. Do they want me to stay? If it’s ‘No thank you’, fine, in 24 hours the club is for sale… I do not put in one more pound.”
Steve Bruce says that he will now seek talks with the owner in an attempt to defuse tensions with the fans over his plan to rename the club.
While Bruce felt that the controversy spurred Hull fans to create a “fantastic atmosphere” on their way to the victory, he is keen for both sides to make peace for the good of the club.
While speaking to the Press, the manager commented “I think the chairman has put about £70 million into the club; without him, there wouldn’t be a Hull City.
“However, we’ve got to have a conversation because I don’t think he understands quite what it means to the history and tradition. All he thinks about is going forward. He thinks the brand would be better and that’s his opinion.”
“But we can’t let it fester, because it creates an atmosphere which none of us want. We should enjoy being in the Premier League and enjoy beating Liverpool instead of talking about a badge. It becomes irrelevant at times like today.”
Bruce will need all his persuasive powers to help bring about a solution to a dispute which claws at the very heart and soul of the club.