Statement on name change from fans of Hull City

The Trust has already declared its support for fans fighting to keep the name Hull City. They issued an appeal today for support to all Premier League Trusts.

The Tigers Co-operative Says No To ‘Hull Tigers’!

The owner of Hull City AFC, Assem Allam wishes to change the playing name of our football club to ‘Hull Tigers.’  The request to make this change has been lodged with The Football Association and a review of that request is imminent.  Our supporter’s trust is part of the City Till We Die campaign which opposes this change.  We urge your trust to support us.

Should this change of name be allowed to come about it opens the way to more cheap gimmicks in the interests of possible short term gains for football club owners.  It could be your football club’s turn next to suffer from the whims and caprices of present or future unknown owners.

The Tigers Co-operative is one of the oldest independent football supporters’ trusts in the United Kingdom as well as being Hull City’s oldest existing supporters’ organisation.  It was formed in 1998 as a one-member one vote mutual organisation during an ownership crisis.  The great majority of our members have been with us for over ten years, many since the very beginning.

We regard our football club and its name, Hull City Association Football Club as an essential part of the culture and fabric of our local community.  In 2017 the city of Hull will be the United Kingdom’s City of Culture.  Our football club should take a full part in those celebrations despite it ignoring the City of Hull’s campaign to achieve this special status.  In all probability the real motivation to change the name lies in a spat between our club owner and the Hull City Council over the ownership of the KC Stadium.  Hence his dislike of our name, Hull City.  On gaining promotion to the Premier League our owner rejected the council’s offers of an open top bus parade of the city and civic reception for the team.  Our Premier League football club should be celebrating the name ‘City’ not trying to erase it.

In the 21st century as a post industrial society the United Kingdom’s unique selling proposition to the world is its heritage.  Hull City AFC and its name are as much part of that heritage as any listed building or national park.  One of the founding fathers of association football 150 years ago, Ebenezer Cobb Morley was born in Hull.

Our football club’s present name is a ‘brand,’ – for want of a better word – which has survived since 1904.  In some of those years it has continued to exist despite severely adverse conditions.  It has come back from the dead twice, mainly because the local and national communities wanted it to.  The name of our football club should not be discarded as easily as the name of a chocolate bar or a kitchen cleaner for the sake of some pie in the sky quick fix.  The name Hull City is an essential part of our community’s identity in this country and the world.

The proposed name change has been submitted to The Football Association without any consultation with our club’s supporters despite requests for this to take place.  These requests have been ignored.  We, the Tigers Co-operative conducted a ballot of our members in October 2013 on the renaming issue in which more than two-thirds (67.5%) of all Tigers Co-op members voted.  We asked ‘should Hull City AFC be renamed ‘Hull Tigers’?’  The result was that 95.1% disagreed with the owner’s proposed change of name.  The same percentage agreed that the Tigers Co-op should be actively involved in the campaign to protect our football club’s name.

Other polls have been conducted.  Not one of them shows any significant measure of support for changing the name of our football club from the existing one.  In fact, each one has shown quite the opposite opinion by large majorities.

Following our ballot the Tigers Co-op has been an active member in the City Till We Die campaign to protect our football club’s identity.

It is suggested that changing the name of our football club will raise its profile especially in the Asian market and create new revenue streams.  However, there is no independent evidence to support this theory.  Indeed renowned marketing experts have said that such a move is unlikely to produce any extra revenue and may well cost the football club financially by alienating a large section of its existing customer base.

Any expression of contrary views to the renaming of the club has led to derisory comments against the supporters by the club’s owner calling us ‘hooligans’ and telling us we can ‘die if we want to!’  Despite this the Tigers Co-operative, like all other Hull City supporter groups, has remained supportive of everything else the club has achieved under its present ownership.

Members of the City Till We Die campaign group are invited to attend a meeting with a sub-committee of The Football Association Council on 3rd February 2014 to discuss the issue.  We ask your football supporters’ trusts to back our campaign to maintain the name Hull City Association Football Club and reject the proposal made to The Football Association to change it to ‘Hull Tigers.’

Thank you.

Frank Beill

Acting Chairman of the Tigers Co-operative