Hull City name change: Supporters 'pleased' to see owner move away from threat to sell club over Tigers name change
The Egyptian owners have claimed they may have to look at increasing season ticket prices if they are unsuccessful in changing the club's name
Hull City’s supporters tonight expressed satisfaction at the first indication by the club’s owners that they may not follow up on their threat to sell the club if refused the right to change its name.
Assem and Ehab Allam revealed today that if they fail to persuade the Football Association to allow them to re-brand the club as Hull Tigers they may be forced to raise season ticket prices by almost 50 per cent. The pair are understood to have lined up at least two potential major sponsorship deals with global companies for next season and allege that those are both contingent on the word "Tigers" becoming part of Hull's name.
But fans' group City Till We Die (CTWD), which has lobbied the Football Association to refuse the name change when it rules on the re-brand on April 9, today made it clear that they consider the provocative threat – viewed by many fans as blackmail - to be a sign that the Egyptians’ will not sell up and leave Hull if refused the right to change the club’s name.
The group was unwilling to discuss the Allams’ claim at length, declaring that it had committed not to make further public comment while the FA’s investigation of the name change proposal was ongoing. But CTWD did not disguise that it was “pleased” to see evidence that the Allam family “are planning for their ongoing stewardship of Hull City AFC in the event that the FA rejects their name change application.” The group added: “We remain open to helping find viable solutions to make the club self-sufficient.”
The Allams will potentially be without a shirt sponsor when the current deal with the current Cash Converters concludes at the end of this season. Finding a lucrative replacement will be easier if Steve Bruce's side avoid relegation back to the Championship but the possibility of lifting season ticket prices from the present top price of £490 to £750 has already been discussed, Ehab Allam told the Hull Daily Mail. "It may be an avenue we are forced to explore and adopt," Allam said. "However, whilst it may provide a short-term revenue lift we do not believe constantly raising prices is a viable long-term option."
CTWD, which has submitted a 21-page document and campaign video to the FA as part of its lobbying effort, indicated that it expected the Allams to provide documentary proof that sponsors would be lost if the name change is not permitted to go ahead. “We assume that the club will have made details clear to the FA of any thus far undisclosed link between potential sponsorship deals and a change of playing name in their submission,” the organisation said in a statement. “CTWD has faith in the FA's on-going consultation and has undertaken not to comment on the investigation. The decision on the name change proposal is now in the hands of the FA. We respect the FA process and await their decision.”
In their FA submission, CTWD suggested ways of maximising match-day revenues, including "ensuring access to properly priced food and drinks, merchandise and content", as well as finding an official digital partner and "setting ticket prices to ensure a full stadium".
A £750 season ticket would take Hull £213 higher than the Premier League average price for its member clubs’ most expensive adult season ticket. The price would be £1,249 less than the most expensive season ticket in the Premier League, on sale at Arsenal.
CTWD also reiterated its plea to supporters not to protest against the owner, either in the relegation clash at Cardiff on Saturday or the FA Cup Fifth Round replay at home to Brighton on Monday.
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