Exclusive: Hull owner threatens to sell club if fans refuse to accept Tigers name
Dr Assem Allam says he will not put one more pound into the club if he feels the majority of supporters did not agree with his policies
Sunday 01 December 2013
Hull City's owner has described supporters protesting against his plan to change the name to Hull Tigers as "hooligans" and warned he will put the club up for sale if the fans do not accept his authority.
In an exclusive interview with The Independent on Sunday, Dr Assem Allam said he would not put one more pound into the club if he felt the majority of supporters did not agree with his policies.
Dr Allam added that displaying banners reading "City Till I Die" and "We Are Hull City" distracts the players, prevents other fans watching the game and infringes on the rights of advertisers. The banners are accompanied by chants of "City Till We Die", but Dr Allam said of the perpetrators: "They can die as soon as they want, as long as they leave the club for the majority who just want to watch good football."
Campaign groups opposing the change have peaceably unfurled and displayed banners after 19 minutes at every home game this season, and intend to do so again at today's televised match against Liverpool. But at the previous home match, against Crystal Palace, stewards attempted to prevent a banner being displayed before relenting when the situation threatened to become heated.
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."
A spokesman for campaign group City Till We Die said: "The intemperate suggestion that singing 'City Till I Die' or holding a banner with Hull City's name on it constitutes disorder is ill-informed, unhelpful and will be considered by many to be offensive; nor is it credible to believe such measured actions will effect the team we so admire."
Meanwhile, Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge misses today's game at Hull and could face a lengthy lay-off with possible ankle ligament damage. Club doctors are currently assessing the severity of the injury.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Manchester City: With Arsene Wenger missing a number of key players, who could start the Community Shield clash?
Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
Manchester United: Five things we've learned so far about Louis van Gaal, including his ability to accommodate Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney
Liverpool transfer news: Reds 'in talks' to sign Benfica winger Nicolas Gaitan as summer spending threatens to exceed £100m
Manchester United transfer news: Angel Di Maria set to choose between Old Trafford and PSG in next few days
- 1 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 2 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 3 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
- 4 Exclusive: Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ in tatters as charity watchdog launches investigation into claims of Government funding misuse
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss