Only a Game? - They say City, he says Tigers, let’s call the whole thing off

Hull City A.F.C., as they were formally called, have been re-named Hull City Tigers.
Hull City A.F.C., as they were formally called, have been re-named Hull City Tigers.

I can see it now. An oil rich Arab buys Derry City F.C. and decides to re-name the club the‘Derry City Acorns’.

If Derry led the way, all of the other clubs around Ireland would follow suit.

The Cork City Rebels, the Dublin Saints and the Galway Tribesmen are but a few hypothetical examples.

Of course, it’s utter nonsense and anyone who thinks of renaming a club after an animal, seed or religious entity is two sandwiches short of a picnic.

Spare a thought for Hull City A.F.C. (that’s what I intend to call them) because this week their new owner took it upon himself to re-name the club ‘The Hull City Tigers’.

Predictably, it’s a decision that has caused uproar amongst the club’s supporters.

Hull’s owner is an Egyptian-born business man called Dr Assem Allam who has lived, studied and worked in the Hull area for over 40 years. Dr. Allam, who is the club’s chairman, bought the club in 2011 and has invested considerable amounts of money in the team. Last season, Hull City, won promotion back to the English Premiership.

The only reason I can think Dr. Allam decided to announce he will be re-naming the club less than two weeks before the Premiership is due to start is because he knew media organisations all over the world would carry the story. Any publicity is good publicity and all of that.

It’s the decision to announce the phasing out of ‘A.F.C.’ and ‘City’ that has baffled me.

For the forthcoming season, he wants Hull City will be known as Hull City Tigers but from the 2014/15 season onwards he intends to call the club ‘Hull Tigers’.

Dr. Allam said the reason he wanted to get rid of the word ‘City’ was because it was “common” and “irrelevant”.

“Hull City is irrelevant. My dislike for the word ‘City’ is because it is common.

“City is also associated with Leicester, Bristol, Manchester and many other clubs. I don’t like being like everyone else. I want the club to be special.

“It is about identity. City is a lousy identity. Hull City Association Football Club is so long.”

While Dr. Allam does have a point, he is going about it all the wrong way.

A football club does not become special when someone decides to re-name it after a wild animal. A football club becomes special whenit starts winning trophies, nurturing young talent and play entertaining football.

There’s not much point in changing Hull City’s name if they are going to struggle in the Premiership and be relegated at the end of the season.

Dr. Allam has his priorities all wrong here. If he seriously believes that re-naming the club ‘The Hull Tigers’ will help him to create a worldwide brand, then he is grossly mistaken. The football team has to become successful before he can even entertain such a fanciful notion.

Look at Manchester City. They spent vast amounts of money over the last three or four years but what have they got to show for it? One league championship. When it comes to becoming a world superpower in football, success has to be consistent. If Dr. Allam thinks re-naming a club is a shortcut to fortune and glory then he will not only be severely disappointed but he will alienate the club’s lifeblood, the fans.