Hull City fans’ vote must be against name change for the sake of all clubs’ supporters
The Football Association has rejected the Hull owner Assem Allam’s application to be known as Hull Tigers. He has therefore decided to ballot the season ticket holders over the proposed name change. The result is expected to be announced on Thursday or Friday this week with a report from the unknown independent adjudicators.
April 1st, 2014
It is to be hoped that the ballot has been handled impartially and that it will give a resounding No vote to Hull Tigers. If not, the result could have serious repercussions not only for City, but for the supporters of other clubs as well.
City supporters’ groups are concerned the ballot may have been ‘loaded’ in favour of the name change.
The fans have been asked to place a tick beside one of three options:
1. Yes to Hull Tigers with the Allam family continuing to lead the club.
2. No to Hull Tigers.
3. I am not too concerned and will continue to support the club either way.
The supporters’ group ‘City Till We Die,’ said they were concerned the poll would effectively become a vote of confidence in the Allams’ ownership, rather than a straightforward vote on the single issue of the ‘Hull Tigers’ name. They had called for a two-question ballot that would allow fans to state their general support for the Allams while also opposing the rebrand.
There are also other concerns about the ballot: it has been handled by an ‘unknown’ adjudicator; some supporters have not been able to vote; there are issues around the privacy of those voting against the name change. It is certainly a situation that makes it difficult for supporters to have maximum faith in a ballot that will determine the owners’ views on the future name of the club.
Allam has previously decided to change the club’s name to ‘Hull Tigers” without consultation because he had a falling out with Hull City Council. Because supporters groups opposed him he has made his views about them well known. In an interview with the Independent on Sunday in December this year, he said that “hooligan” supporters protesting against his attempts to rebrand as Hull Tigers can “die as soon as they want”.
Other club owners, like Vincent Tan at Cardiff City, seem to have a similar disregard for the views of supporters, history, traditions and identity of football clubs.
This week Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust have written to football chiefs asking for a club’s livery to be protected from changes in the same way that a club’s name currently is.
Cardiff was rebranded from blue to red in June 2012 and the Trust wants such future switches to require FA approval. The Trust says steps must be taken to “protect the identity of clubs”.
The letter sent to the FA said, “Whoever it is that owns a club, they cannot be permitted to simply run roughshod over a club’s history, tradition and its supporters, many of whom have followed their football club for decades,” read the Trust letter.
Hopefully the City ballot will have been handled impartially and the fans will have voted against the name change. But if not, it could give the green light for even more damaging decisions by egotistical owners of football clubs.