Response to FA decision, April 9th 2014

The City Till We Die (CTWD) campaign group is delighted to learn that the Football Association (FA) have decided to reject the application from Assem and Ehab Allam to change the name of our club from Hull City AFC to Hull Tigers. We are very pleased that the FA have recognised the importance of the historic name of Hull City AFC to the fans and the wider community of Hull and have not been persuaded that a name change would be in the best interests of supporters of the club and the club itself. We would like to thank the FA for conducting a process that we believe has been fair and equitable, allowing the owners, the fans groups and other interested stakeholders to have their say on this matter. We would also like to thank the tens of thousands of Hull City AFC supporters, and the countless number of people from the wider football family across Britain and beyond, who have backed and encouraged us throughout this campaign. This is truly a victory for the fans.

We are sorry that, in the midst of what may be Hull City AFC’s most successful season in its 110 year history that we have had to be so consumed by off the field matters. Now that the FA, the arbiters and regulators of football have ruled on this matter, City Till We Die regard this decision as final and that the matter is now closed. We are very happy we can now look forward to concentrating on the remainder of the season by focussing on the magnificent efforts of Steve Bruce and the team as they continue to prosper in the Premier League and prepare for a visit to Wembley in the semi-final of the FA Cup. Beyond this, we are looking forward to next season and continuing to progress as Hull City AFC with, we hope, the Allam family continuing their stewardship of the club.

City Till We Die Campaign Group.

Ballot result response from CTWD

The City Till We Die (CTWD) campaign group notes the result of the ballot organised over the last two weeks by Hull City football club. 

We are pleased that supporters treated the ballot as a validation of Dr Allam’s ownership of the football club, rather than believing the masquerade that this was a vote on the name change.

The truth of the matter is that this result is largely meaningless, either as a measure of opinions regarding the name change proposal, or as a measure of the supporters’ desire to see Dr Allam and his son Ehab stay at the City helm.  The yawning deficiencies of the ballot were there for all to see. 

  • The ballot form’s presentation of the case for only one of the options flew in the face of all reasonable conventions. 
  • The loaded nature of the questions, which conflated the name change proposal with the owners’ desire to validate their ownership amongst supporters, made the responses to each question confused and garbled. 
  • The inclusion of the entirely bizarre and divisive “not bothered” option added further irrelevance to the ballot.

Then there was the haphazard manner in which the ballot was conducted. 

  • Large swathes of the season card-holding electorate failed to receive an email inviting them to cast a vote, meaning they had to rely on the media (or CTWD!) to hear about the important decision that they were being asked to make. 
  • The ballot form provided for downloading was so poorly created that hundreds of people sent in blank responses, after having completed their votes and seen their details wiped from the form. 
  • The apparent insecurity of both the boxes provided to receive hard copy ballot forms, and the email account holding the returned ballots remains a cause for concern.  The email account was supposedly totally secure, yet Hull City staff were routinely able to report on the number of votes cast. 
  • The ballot boxes for hard copy forms were supposed to be available for use during two fixtures at the KC Stadium, one a City match and the other a Hull FC fixture, yet twice people were turned away.  How many voters simply gave up in the face of such incompetence?

Such basic process errors makes one wonder what the independent adjudicators Beyond Dispute – hired at great expense to Hull City, we are assured by the club – were up to when the ballot process was conceived and enacted.

As long ago as last November, CTWD called on Dr Allam to undertake a fair and simple ballot amongst season card holders, to gauge opinions about his proposed name change.  Instead he conducted a decidedly unfair ballot, which was far from simple and appallingly managed, four months after it was useful and several weeks after the FA announced its provisional recommendation on the name change.

It is a matter of great regret to CTWD that Dr Allam has continued to act so disrespectfully to Hull City supporters.  We genuinely hope that we have now reached the end of this sorry episode.  We call for the name Hull City to be retained for good, allowing supporters to focus their minds on the tremendous feats that Steve Bruce, the coaching staff and the playing staff have achieved thanks to the unprecedented financial generosity of Dr Allam. 

Who knows, win against Everton in our last League fixture and Hull City might be playing in the Europa League next season!  We fervently hope that City supporters are given the chance to savour that possibility with this name change debacle put behind us.

CTWD VOICE CONCERNS OVER BALLOT

EDIT 28.03.2014: It was confirmed yesterday afternoon by Hull City that our detailed questions about the conduct or probity of the club’s name change ballot will not be replied to at this time.  This raises some very serious concerns. Hull City fans will be faced with the prospect of receiving the outcome of the ballot alongside a statement that says “trust us guv, this is all above board”. There will be no prior assurances about the ballot process and numbers.

While we might not have, or indeed wish for, any evidence of misconduct, it seems bizarre that the legitimate concerns of supporters about the ballot process are not being answered now, prior to the results being announced and prior to the ballot closing. We are unaware of any other ballot, ever, that announced the details of how the ballot was conducted and controlled only after it has been completed and analysed.

It is certainly a situation that makes it difficult for supporters to have maximum faith in a ballot that will determine the owners’ views on the future name of our club.

CTWD encourages supporters to write to the FA and the Football Supporters’ Federation about their concerns with this ballot. The email addresses are info@thefa.com and info@fsf.org.uk.

Original post follows.

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Following many concerns expressed by Hull City AFC supporters regarding the ballot over the proposed name change to Hull Tigers, City Till We Die yesterday sent the following list of questions to the club:

  1. There is a known problem with the online completion of PDF files issued by the club, as revealed during the issue and receipt of Wembley ticket orders, whereby fans are filling in the form, returning it by email then discovering that the submitted forms are blank.  What controls have the club put in place to ensure the inadvertent production of such blank voting forms is avoided?  If the risk persists of blank forms being submitted, what steps is the club putting in place to capture the voting intentions of those people affected?
  2. Some pass holders may wish to add comments to the voting form, as well as submitting their name, address and pass number details.  What will be the club’s approach to those forms with additional writing added? Will they be counted as valid votes?
  3. Can you please explain the protections that have been put on the email inbox ballot@hulltigers.com, to reassure supporters that the votes received by email cannot be tampered with or viewed by Hull City staff? And can you please explain the process by which the independent adjudicator will be given exclusive access to this email inbox?
  4. Can you, in a similar fashion, explain how the postal ballot boxes will be protected so that no Hull City staff can view or tamper with the contents?  Are the ballot boxes uniquely numbered and listed independently, so that there are protections in place to avoid boxes going missing, either accidentally or deliberately?  Have the ballot boxes been sealed?  When a box is filled, is it replaced with an empty one and stored, or is a full box emptied and reused? Where are the full boxes being stored?  And how will the ballot boxes be transported to the independent adjudicator at the end of the ballot?
  5. Can you please explain why people’s name and addresses are requested, as well as their season card number?  This is not normal procedure for secret ballots.
  6. Can you please provide the name, address and other contact details for the independent adjudicator retained by the club?  And can you please briefly explain the process gone through to select that firm and assess their capabilities?  Further, can you please explain what input the adjudicator had to the design of the ballot process launched last Friday?
  7. Can you please confirm the numbers of people eligible to vote, by season pass type (OAP, adult, youth, corporate sponsors, Premier Club)?  Can you please confirm that all of these people have been contacted by the club, and explain how this has been achieved?  Can you please confirm that all such communications inviting different groups to cast their vote, by whatever means, have included the exact same wording?
  8. Can you please clarify whether full-time and/or part-time employees of the club that are not pass holders (including, but not limited to, the playing staff) are eligible to vote?  Have any such employees received communication from the club’s management that differs from the other people invited to cast their vote?  If so, can you please let us see a copy of any written communication, or summarise the spoken messages that may have been delivered?
  9. Finally, can you please confirm that the club’s intention for this ballot, is to canvas opinions on the name change, and that issue alone?

We were pleased to get a prompt response from James Mooney, Marketing Manager, assuring us that they would aim to answer them today following a meeting with the adjudicators appointed to oversee the ballot. However, 24 hours after submitting these legitimate questions, we have been unable to get a firm response from the club on any of them. In fact, Hull City have even been unable to provide us with the name of the adjudicators.

We have stressed the need for clarity on the issues raised above and hope to receive some answers as soon as possible.

The ballot closes at midnight on Friday 28th March.

CITY TILL WE DIE Campaign Group

SEVEN DAYS TO SAVE OUR NAME

As you will know by now, the Allam family are polling Hull City AFC season card holders as to whether or not they endorse the name change of Hull City AFC to Hull Tigers. Fans have the opportunity to vote by email, or to place their completed voting form inside ballot boxes at the KC Stadium. The poll gives the following options:

* Yes to Hull Tigers with the Allam family continuing to lead the club
* No to Hull Tigers
* I am not too concerned and will continue to support the club either way

City Till We Die first asked the Club to poll pass holders in November of last year and we were told by Dr Allam that it was “not necessary.” So we were delighted at the news that the owners had finally come around to our point of view. But we are disappointed in these questions.

City Till We Die wrote to the club this week asking for the poll to have a straight yes or no answer on the name change, then a further question asking if the Allams should stay as owners of the club. We believed this would be the fairest way of getting a clear vote on the name change whilst allowing the fans, if they wished to, to show support for the owners. Sadly, the club have ignored us and, even worse, are implying in option one that a “yes” vote is the only way they will stay at the club.

We don’t expect that the Allams will immediately leave the club. For our reasons, please see here.

So what do we want you to do?

Vote No To Hull Tigers. This is your chance as someone who puts money into the club over a full season to show that you want to retain our historic name, with its link to our historic city.

Don’t be tempted to write on your ballot paper that you are against the name change but want the Allams to stay. This could be classed as a spoiled ballot, causing your vote not to be counted.

A No To Hull Tigers vote doesn’t mean you want the Allams to go. It doesn’t mean you don’t want to stay in the Premier League. It doesn’t mean you want to see our club cease to develop. It means just what it says; you reject the cartoon name which the owners want, without any justification, to foist on our club.

A No To Hull Tigers vote is a vote for moving forward whilst retaining our history. A vote for ambition with tradition.

If you have friends, neighbours or work colleagues who are unsure what to do, explain this to them. Direct them to these online links to our FAQ, our submission to the FA, and our advert. Or if they don’t use the internet, make sure they buy the Hull Daily Mail on Tuesday 25th March when the full page advert will be running.

Don’t let a badly-worded ballot put you off having your say. Don’t let heavy-handed hints about the future ownership of the club unsettle you. You have seven days to have your say on the historic identity of our club. Seven days to save our name. Act now. Vote No To Hull Tigers.

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CITY TILL WE DIE CALLS FOR TWO-QUESTION BALLOT

As Hull City AFC Vice Chairman Ehab Allam revealed on Saturday 15 March, the club are finally planning to run a ballot asking season ticket holders their views on the name change proposal. City Till We Die called for just such a poll on 18 November 2013, but Dr Allam said it was “not necessary.” 

The club have yet to announce the exact wording of the question which will be posed, or how the ballot will be run. However, City Till We Die are concerned that the voting form may be worded in such a way as to present the ballot as a vote of confidence in the Allams’ overall stewardship of the club, rather than the single issue of the name change. Our campaign has always been about retaining the name “Hull City”, and nothing else. 

We are therefore calling on the club to include TWO questions on the ballot form.

1. Do you agree with the proposed name change to “Hull Tigers”? – YES/NO

2. Do you support the Allam family’s continued ownership of Hull City? –  YES/NO

We know that many supporters wish to remain as Hull City, but are happy for the Allams’ ownership of the club to continue. 

We also hope there will be independent adjudication of the ballot, to avoid any doubt about the legitimacy of the results.  

As ever, we remain keen to explore alternative means of making the club financially self-sustaining, without the need for changing its historic name.

CITY TILL WE DIE – Ambition AND Tradition

CTWD Statement, 5th March 2014

City Till We Die have nothing to add to Ehab Allam’s open letter in the full page advertisement taken out in today’s Hull Daily Mail by Hull City AFC. It does not say anything new, and the name change application remains in the hands of the FA, whose consultation process we trust and respect. 

Please see details of the submission we made to the FA last month here: 

http://citytillwedie.com/fa-consultation/

CITY TILL WE DIE STATEMENT - 20th FEBRUARY 2014

City Till We Die has received a number of media requests regarding the views of Dr Assem Allam and Ehab Allam, as reported in today’s Hull Daily Mail. We are pleased 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. We remain open to helping find viable solutions to make the club self-sufficient.

The decision on the name change proposal is now in the hands of the FA. 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. CTWD has faith in the FA’s ongoing consultation and has undertaken not to comment on the investigation. We respect the FA process and await their decision.

City Till We Die encourages all fans to support our team loudly and positively on Saturday and on Monday. As throughout this campaign, we do not believe that protests against our owner have any place during the match.

CTWD will not be commenting further on the above statement.

HULL CITY LEGEND SAYS NO TO HULL TIGERS

Former Hull City captain Garreth Roberts has spoken out against the proposed name change to “Hull Tigers”. 

Born and raised in Hull, Roberts was a one-club man. Between 1979 and 1991 (when injury forced him to retire from the game), he made 409 appearances for his hometown team, scoring 47 goals. 

Speaking to Pete Mills of the Hull City Fans Forum last week, Roberts said that he was strongly in favour of retaining the name Hull City AFC, and had been shocked by some of Dr Allam’s remarks to the media. 

“It’s very traditional. We’ve been going since 1904. This is how it is, this is what we are. Like it or not, this is what we want to stay. We were Hull City in 1904, we’re Hull City forever. When he said that the word ‘City’ is ‘common’… I don’t think he realises that he’s attacking everybody who supports – so if you support Hull City, does that mean you’re common? That is really disrespectful.”

“I think fundamentally it’s just a bad idea to start changing names. Can you imagine Manchester Red Devils, or Tottenham Lilywhites Hotspur, or Everton Toffeemen? It’s just ridiculous.”

Although Roberts gave Dr Allam credit for the good he has done for the club, he is firmly of the opinion that the chairman is wrong when it comes to this issue. “He did a marvellous job to keep us afloat, and everybody will be eternally grateful for that, but you can’t walk all over people either. The supporters have got to stand up for themselves and stand up for the club… there’s certain things that you can’t just walk away from, and this is one of them.”

Roberts added that his view is shared by other ex players he knows. “It’s just laughable. Everybody just says, ‘Why is he doing it?’”

He went on to praise the way in which the No To Hull Tigers campaign has been conducted. “I think they’ve done everything properly. They’ve been really respectful of the club. I think they’ve been really civilised about it.”

Asked what message he would give to Dr Allam if he could, Roberts said, “’Please have another think about it’. But I think he’s gone too far down the line to back out. I think he’s heading for that moment when hopefully the FA turn around and say, ‘No, we don’t agree with you Mr Allam, we’re not going to let you change the name.’”

Roberts is just the latest former player to say that the club should retain its historic name, following the likes of Ken Wagstaff, Chris Chilton and Ian Ashbee, along with many others.

You can hear the full interview (which also includes a discussion of Roberts’s City playing career) here.

A detailed transcript of Roberts’s key comments on the name change follows: 

“I talk to fans all the time, and they don’t talk about the club and the playing so much now, they talk about, ‘Oh, what do you think about the name change and all that?’ And that’s the sad bit about it.”

“When I speak to supporters, they do talk about the name thing, and all they wanna say is, ‘Is it this?’ and ‘Is it that?’ and ‘Would you trust anybody that says, ‘These guys are hooligans’ and that they can die when they want to?’ and all these different things.’ I mean, first of all, [Dr Allam] needs a PR manager, because if you’re in sport… That’s the difference between the businesses that he’s had. He might [only] have to answer to other people within his company or shareholders or whatever, but in football it’s totally different. The supporters are your lifeblood. They’re the ones that give you hard-earned money for your season passes, that come along and pay your outrageous prices for your soft drinks and your pies, for your programmes and all that, and it does cost a lot of money.”

“When he said, ‘Oh well, If you don’t like it you can bring your pass in and you can get your money back’… why would a supporter do that? My job as a supporter is to watch the team through thick and thin and cheer them on no matter what happens, like everybody else does – and, yeah, give a bit of stick out as well now and then. But you’re a supporter of the club, you’re not there to just pack them in when you don’t fancy it. You might go home chuntering one day – like I did after the Palace game - and say, ‘I’m never going back there again!’… and there you are again next week. He cannot treat people like that, and that’s what people are saying to me. That’s why I was a bit surprised that there wasn’t more in the recent OSC poll, the 60/40. From what people have been saying to me, it’s been more like 90/10, to be honest.”

“And also the fact that he calls them names - he says they’re hooligans just for holding a banner up and all that sort of stuff. They’ve got every right to do it, as long as it’s peacefully. I mean, some of the songs that they sing are absolutely brilliant. They bring a smile to my face. You have got to listen quite closely to some of them, but it is funny.”

“I just think he thinks he’s in a different world. That whole thing about business – ‘Nobody says no to me in my world, in the business world’… but it’s not like that. It’s not like the boardrooms of the business world, where one man can rule his work, his factory or whatever it is. He changed the business name without anybody knowing about it, we found out after he’d done it. So it’s all these types of things. It’s about the City Council, the whole thing about the word ‘City’ being, ‘common’ and ‘lousy’ and all that sort of thing – I mean, that is really disrespectful. Really disrespectful. And I know he’s put his money in, but he will get his money back.”

“I think the FA will turn it down. It’s been in the national media quite a lot, and all the national media is so much for ‘Don’t change the name’ that it’s incredible.”

“I think fundamentally it’s just a bad idea to start changing names. Can you imagine Manchester Red Devils, or Tottenham Lilywhites Hotspur, or Everton Toffeemen? It’s just ridiculous.”

On marketing the club in Asia: “We’re not as big as the Man Us and the Liverpools, and they’ve been at the top of the Premiership for donkey’s years, ever since it started, so they’ve got a massive start. So it’d be really hard work for us to get our foot in the door as far as the marketing side of it. But why should we? We’re Hull City, that’s who we are. We’re Hull City, and we’re gonna remain Hull City.”

On City Till We Die: “I think they’ve done everything properly. They don’t seem to have been shouting from the houses and effing and blinding and causing much of a stink. They’ve been really respectful of the club, they haven’t really gone about it in the wrong way at all, I think they’ve been really civilised about it. Even the supporters – the ones that Mr Allam has been calling hooligans – they’ve been pretty good about it, they’ve done it at the right time, they haven’t shoved it down people’s throats, they’ve just gone quietly about it but done it in a positive way. Whereas the PR side of City at the moment is just a disaster.”

“Everybody wants to support them, and they’ve got the best support they’ve had ever, but I think this whole thing has really rankled and it is taking away from how well the club is doing.”

“We need everybody to pull in the right way, we don’t want any different factions going on. I think the City Till We Die group have gone about it in a professional way, and that was the reason why I thought, ‘Well, I’ve been chuntering away in the background, and thinking to myself, shall I have a chat or not’?’. I did play for this club for 13, 14 years, and If anybody deserves a bit of a word there’s only a few of us that have played more than me, so it’s like, ‘Why not?’”

On what other ex players think: “It’s just laughable. Everybody just says, ‘Well, why is he doing it?’ People who go the other way and say, ‘He’s done this, he’s done that’, I don’t think they quite understand football as they should. Also I think they just look at it from a financial viewpoint, of ‘Well, if he’s put in forty million…’ But has he put in forty million, is it this, is it that, will he get it back? If I had that sort of money I wouldn’t be putting forty mlllion into something that I wasn’t going to get sixty million back from. There’s no way – I’d be wanting a profit.”

“In football it’s not quite like that. You’ve got to make sure that everybody is going in the right direction - the supporters, your board, all the supporters’ groups - and getting that whole football community going in the right direction. When you see it on the back of the Sunday papers as well, all having a laugh and saying, ‘What’s this guy doing?’ you think, ‘Thank goodness we’re on the same wavelength’. For them it might be a bit of a laugh but for us it’s really important. It means a lot to us.”

(On the FA decision): “You just hope that they don’t just look it from a financial viewpoint. It’s the fact that it’s not right… It’s never been done before, and why do you think it hasn’t been done? Because it’s wrong.”

“The reason why rugby union did it was because they needed something different to do, because they didn’t have any support, so call it Leicester Tigers. The reason why they did it was because they were on their uppers. We’re not on our uppers! We don’t have to change.” 

“It did seem as though [Dr Allam] was the saviour, and he did a marvellous job to keep us afloat, and everybody will be eternally grateful for that, but you can’t walk all over people either. The supporters have got to stand up for themselves and stand up for the club, because he could be gone in a couple of years or he might be gone in April – who knows? He seems to be the type of character that will just act on a whim.”

“It’s very traditional. We’ve been going since 1904. You’re thinking, ‘Look, this is how it is, this is what we are. Like it or not, this is what we want to stay. We were Hull City in 1904, we’re Hull City forever.’ And that whole thing about the word City, that started the whole ball rolling, I think that just showed his animosity towards the council more than anything else. And when he said that the word is ‘common’ and all that… When he says things like that, I don’t think he realises that he’s attacking everybody who supports – so if you support Hull City, does that mean you’re common; does that mean that he’s not bothered when you die? All these stupid, flippant remarks.”

“You put all these things together and you think, ‘It’s just not right’. You’d expect your chairman to be a bit of a leader, to have respect for him. You do respect the fact that he definitely saved us a few years ago, but you can’t let him keep walking all over you and saying these strange things, because we don’t want to be the laughing stock of the country. We are a Premiership club and they fought hard to get there, Steve Bruce has done a cracking job, the players have done a brilliant job, and all we’re talking about is the name change, which should never have happened in the first place.”

(Asked if he had a message for Dr Allam) “Get a public relations manager, first of all – get somebody to look after your PR. Don’t bother going anywhere near it. Do an Abramovich and stay well away from that side of it… Just second-guess yourself - please have another think about it. But I think he’s gone too far down the line to back out, and I think he’s heading for that moment when hopefully the FA turn around and say, ‘No, we don’t agree with you Mr Allam, we’re not going to let you change the name.’”

(Asked if he had a message for the fans) “From the supporters’ point of view: yeah, voice your opinion, but do it in the right way. Don’t do it in the same really strange way that the chairman is doing it - do it in the right way. Sing your songs, make them as polite as you possibly can. The supporters are the lifeblood of the club and you’ve got to consult with them. They are the people that are going to come through thick and thin, they are the ones who pay the money, and you need them. You’ve got a great new stadium, brilliant things have been done… but there’s certain things that you can’t just walk away from, and this is one of them.”

FREQUENT ANSWERS QUESTIONED

Over the last four months, we here at City Till We Die have heard quite a few remarks about the No To Hull Tigers campaign cropping up time and time again. Some are honest misunderstandings; others are deliberate distortions. We thought it was about time we addressed a few of these old chestnuts.

“It’s his business. He can do whatever he wants!”

Can he? It’d be odd if he could, because that’s not something you can really say about any business in the country.

All businesses are subject to laws – for example, about health and safety, how much they pay their employees, how much pollution they produce, and so on. Many businesses are also subject to additional rules and regulations relating to their particular industry.

Hull City AFC is subject to a set of rules and regulations for the football industry. They’re contained within the FA Handbook, which you can view online at http://bit.ly/FARules

Rule 3L covers the situation where an owner wishes to change the registered playing name of their club (the name used in league tables and fixtures). It reads as follows: “Any application for a change of playing name must be received by The Association before 1st April in any calendar year in order for it to be considered by Council for adoption in the following playing season. Council will use its absolute discretion in deciding whether to approve a change in a Club’s playing name.”

So can Dr Allam “do whatever he wants”? No. Ultimately, it’s for the FA to decide.

Furthermore, it’s not very good business practice to make a fundamental change to your business without trying to ascertain the views of your most loyal, regular customers – in this case, supporters of the football club, a large percentage of whom are clearly very unhappy with Dr Allam’s proposal.

“You can still call them Hull City if you want, so it doesn’t matter!”

Picture this: it’s August 2014. The first day of the new Premier League season. The announcer bellows, “This is the KC Stadium, the home of Hull Tigers!” as Tom Huddlestone, Shane Long, Sone Aluko and co run out onto the pitch, wearing their shirts emblazoned with “Hull Tigers” badges.

During the game, the scoreboard shows the score for Hull Tigers. Whenever an announcement for a substitution is made, it mentions who’s coming on for Hull Tigers. At halftime, you browse your Hull Tigers matchday programme. When you get home, Final Score gives the result for Hull Tigers, and shows where Hull Tigers are in the league table. That night, on Match Of The Day, Gary Lineker introduces the highlights of the Hull Tigers game. That’s followed by an interview with Hull Tigers manager Steve Bruce and some analysis of how well Hull Tigers played.

And if, for the first time in our 110-year history, we finally win a major trophy, what name is engraved on the cup? You got it: Hull Tigers. 

For a while – perhaps a decade or more – the City songs persist. But gradually they die out. After all, it seems silly to sing “City Till I Die” and “We Are Hull City” when the official name of the club is Hull Tigers.

You might keep calling them Hull City. But what will your grandchildren call them?

“I’d rather be Hull Tigers in the Premier League than Hull City in the Conference!”

It’s not a choice between one or the other! We are currently in the Premier League, and we got there with the name Hull City. The same was true in 2008.

Changing our name will not magically guarantee Premier League success any more than keeping our name will doom us to tumbling down the divisions.

“We’ll only find out for sure if a name change will work by trying it – so let’s try it!” 

So in order to test a theory, you’re willing to spend a fortune on rebranding everything to do with the club, in the process alienating thousands of existing loyal “customers”?

This is rather like testing whether you can fly by jumping out of the window.

Here’s a better idea. Hire a market research company. Send them to Asia to carry out focus groups. Ask people, “What do you think of the name Hull City? Now, what do you think of Hull Tigers? Would you be more likely to support the club or buy its merchandise if the name was changed?”

A sensible businessman would base a decision this important on as much hard data as possible, rather than just following a hunch. But when City Till We Die met Dr Allam on 1 November 2013, he told us that he had not done a single scrap of research into the potential benefits of a name change.  

“They flippin’ love tigers in Asia! Changing our name to Hull Tigers will sell thousands of replica shirts in the far East!”

Clubs like Manchester United have large followings overseas because they have been successful over a sustained period of time; because they win trophies, sign big-name players, and get major media coverage. Hull City is quite some way from reaching that stage.

Furthermore, when people in China do buy football shirts, they invariably buy counterfeits, which make no money for English clubs.

There’s also a very strong argument that what people overseas really buy into are the history and traditions of English football. From an Asian point of view, names like “City”, “United” and “County” are exotic. In the USA, the latest club to join the MLS is a team in Orlando, called… you guessed it, Orlando City.

“These campaigners are just a load of young hotheads. Angry young men and troublemakers, the lot of ‘em!”

At the time of writing, City Till We Die has 1699 members. Barring about 40 people who signed up offline, everyone has given us their date of birth, which means we have a detailed breakdown of the age range of our membership. It looks like this:

Under 18: 7.2%
20-30: 26.35%
30-40: 22.27%
40-50: 23.83%
50-60: 16.39%
60+: 7.26%

47.48% of our membership is over 40.

Still not convinced? Okay, how about our Facebook followers? The Insights page for www.facebook.com/NoToHullTigers gives us a breakdown of everyone who’s “liked” our page by age group. The figures currently look like this:

13-17: 6.8%
18-24: 23%
25-34: 28%
35-44: 22%
45-54: 14%
55-64: 4%
65+: 1.4%

As you’d expect for social media, that skews a little younger. Still, even on Facebook, 41.4% of our supporters are over 35.

“Where were all these campaigners when just 2,000 people were going to Boothferry Park?”

Well, many of them were at Boothferry Park, amongst that 2000! Some of them have been going to every game for decades. Some of them were only going to games occasionally. Some hadn’t been born yet. And yes, some were alive, but hadn’t yet caught the City bug.

Here’s the important thing: exactly the same can be said for people who do not object to the name change.

The issue of Hull City’s name isn’t a “Who’s the best supporter?” competition. There are loyal fans on both sides of the argument. Check our public statements: City Till We Die has never claimed otherwise.

Our campaign is an inclusive one, open to all Hull City supporters, no matter how long they’ve followed the club, and no matter what level of commitment they’re able to make. Whether you’re a hardcore Boothferry Park stalwart or an occasional fan who’s only recently discovered the joys of following City, if you think changing our club’s name is wrong, then we’re happy to welcome you to the fold.

“It’s just a small minority - a few hundred people!”

If that’s the case, why have 12,000 people taken our No To Hull Tigers badges?

Perhaps those 12,000 people just like shiny things?

If that’s the case, why have over 15,000 people signed our petition?

If that’s the case, why are over 6,000 people following us on Twitter?

If that’s the case, why have over 3,000 people signed our giant flag?

If that’s the case, why have thousands of people taken one of our “Say No To Hull Tigers” postcards to post to the FA?

“It’s just a small minority – 1,700 people!”

This is confusing membership with support. At the last count, the Conservative Party had 134,000 members. But at the last general election, they received a popular vote of 10,703,654.

Our 1,700 official members (sign up at www.citytillwedie.com/membership) are, no doubt, the people most actively engaged in our campaign. You could call those people our “activist base”. But there are a great many more people who agree with us.

People support our campaign in many different ways. Not everyone feels comfortable with joining a group, or even singing a song. Some wear a badge. Some sign a petition; some don’t believe there’s any point in signing a petition! Everyone shows their support in the way they feel comfortable.

Are we a majority? Well, since Dr Allam refused our request to hold a ballot of all season ticket holders to democratically determine what Hull City supporters as a whole want, we can’t prove that for certain. Odd that, given that he’s so certain we’re a tiny minority – if he’s so confident, why not call our bluff and shut us up? But every poll conducted so far suggests that our view is the majority view – including the Official Supporters Club poll, despite the fact it was carried out immediately after Dr Allam threatened to “walk away” from the club.

“City Till We Die are a load of Luddites who’d be happier if the club was in League One! They don’t want it to be a success!”

On the contrary: we’re thrilled to see Hull City competing in the top level of English football, and we’re very keen to stay there. Just not at the expense of our club’s history, or our integrity. 

We’d be very happy to see the club marketing itself more successfully overseas, and acquiring more international supporters. We love following Hull City; why would we want to deny that pleasure to others?

We simply don’t think that rebranding the club as “Hull Tigers” is necessary to achieve that. We already have striking shirt colours and a nickname that’s one of the best in English football: The Tigers. Let’s market the hell out of that!

"If it was down to these people we’d have never left Boothferry Park for the KC Stadium."

Despite the deeply felt affection for Boothferry Park felt by thousands of Hull City supporters, there was no organised campaign against the move to the KC, for one very simple reason: the benefits of leaving a run-down ground and moving to a new state-of-the-art stadium were crystal clear.

The same cannot be said of the proposed name change, as Dr Allam has failed to make a proper case for change to supporters.

“These people have a lust for power! They want to take over the club!”

There’s only one reason why City Till We Die has discussed the idea of a revitalised Supporters’ Trust taking a share in the ownership of the club. That’s because Dr Allam himself asked us to explore it further.

When our representatives met with Dr Allam on 1 November 2013, it soon became apparent that he was not responsive to arguments about history or tradition. The only thing he was interested in were alternative revenue streams. When we discussed the possibility of a role for supporters, he responded with great interest, and asked us to explore the idea further. 

This is nothing new. In November 2010, when Dr Allam was finalising his takeover of the club, he told the Hull Daily Mail, “My vision is for Hull City to be owned 40% by local business owners from Hull and 60% the fans.” (Source: http://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/Undefined-Headline/story-11957207-detail/story.html)