English Premier League soccer team Hull City AFC has made the headlines recently as the club’s owner Assem Allam is intending to change the club’s name to the Hull City Tigers. However, tradition is king in England and many of the team’s fans are upset about the change and have taken to the streets of Hull to protest it.
But according to Allam, he’s not going to cave in to the pressure and is adamant that Hull City Tigers will stand. In fact, he’s so set in his ways that he said he will give fans their money back if they aren’t happy with the name and want a refund on their game tickets. Since Allam is an Egyptian businessman it’s understandable that he’s not familiar with the passion of the English soccer fan.
He said the Hull City Tigers name is easier to market, but is facing a lot of opposition from the team’s fan club known as City Til We Die. Both sides may be showing some stubbornness in this issue, but since Allam owns the franchise he feels he has the right to do what he pleases with it. This includes refunding money to those fans who no longer what to support the club.
The 74-year-old owner remarked, “There’s no need for a referendum. The crowd we get inside the stadium is the perfect referendum. Fans can choose to vote with their feet. If they are not happy, they can stay away. I am also willing to refund any unhappy season ticket holder who wants their money back.” He added that he understands their point of view and that’s why he’s more than willing to give them a full refund.
Allam was recently interviewed by the BBC and was quite defiant by saying that nobody else has the right to tell him how to operate his companies and that includes the Hull soccer team. He claimed that he’s never going to change the team’s colors and logos, but he’s also not going to remove the word Tigers from the team’s name.
He simply believes that Hull Tigers will be noticed more around the world than Hull City. He points out that Tigers is a unique name in soccer and there are dozens of other soccer clubs called city, such as Manchester City, Swansea City and Cardiff City etc.
However, the name change still isn’t official since Allam has to send in a formal request for it to the English Football Association by April 1 of 2014. The City Til We Die fan group his hoping the FA will turn down the request and the name will remain Hull City AFC. However, if the request is accepted they’ll simply have to live with it or find a new team to support. The fans of Premier League team Cardiff City were also upset last year when the club owner Vincent Tan of Malaysia changed the team’s colours from blue to red.