Let’s All Laugh At Hull, Let’s All Laugh At Hull….. Actually, Let’s Not!!!!

“City till I die, I’m City till I die, I know I am, I’m sure I am, I’m City till I die”

Maybe Hull fans are not so sure at the moment. But should we laugh and take the mick out of their forthcoming name change to Hull Tigers? Well, no. Why? Because as the saying goes “there but by the grace of God go I”. Can any of us really be sure that the same thing won’t happen to them? Leeds Red Bull was bandied about not so long ago. I’m sure the Glazers would think nothing of Manchester Red Devils. We have already seen Mike Ashley try to re-brand the famous St Jame’s Park into “The Sports Direct stadium of cheap tat” or some other such rubbish.

Now we’ve already seen new stadiums change their name; Riverside Cellnet anyone? Derby County look like moving from Pride Park to the iPro Stadium. But new stadiums are different. New stadiums are on the whole good for clubs and good for the game. Modern financial constraints would suggest you need a sponsor for your stadium and they will put their brand name on it. The sponsor may then change. So the name then has to change. A bit sad but inevitable. But it’s not the same as changing the name of the actual club. Now this argument has been had before. Clubs can change their grounds, their players, their managers, in fact all of their staff. But what remains are the fans and the name. Change the name and you are messing with years and years of history. Hull City have been Hull City since 1904. They will still be here long after Assem Allam has gone. Yes, he has brought money to the club. Yes, he has got them into top flight football for only the second time in their history. But does he have the right to change their name? No.

Sadly there have been a few similar incidents. Cardiff City have changed from the Bluebirds to the Redbirds on the whim of an owner. What they think of this I don’t know. They seem to have just grinned and got on with it. Back in top flight for the first time in 51 years and beating Swansea in the derby seem to have sold them to the idea without too much fuss. But when they’re back in the championship and Vincent Tan has long gone will they regret this change to their history?

Again it wasn’t a first. Leeds United used to play in blue and gold until a young Don Revie decided he wanted to emulate Real Madrid and changed to the famous all white. 50 years later most people probably don’t even know that this happened. They were also called Leeds City for a few years back in the early 1920s until financial misgivings made them re-launch as United. Man Utd launched a green and gold kit a few years ago. It was from the days of Newton Heath, their original name. Their fans took to wearing the same colours on scarfs to show their disapproval of the Glazers. So name changes and colour changes are not that new? But these were in the formative years of the clubs. They were establishing an identity that would endure for many years. Hull are a proud and established club. Their name is their name. It belongs to the supporters not some Johnny come lately business man who has no real idea what the club is about. He wants to make them more desirable to the Asian market. Really? Really?? With all due respect Hull are not a big team in England, let alone Asia. To upset your local support in the hope of gaining supporters in far flung lands seems very silly. Even if it worked. At what cost? You may make money etc in TV deals but if you have an empty stadium at home this will surely back fire. To change the clubs identity is a dangerous thing.

The only other examples I can think of are MK Dons and Livingston. Now MK Dons stole their identity from Wimbledon. But AFC Wimbledon do still exist. And at the time they had no ground and were vulnerable to what took place. Milton Keynes needed a team but the whole sorry scenario could have been avoided. And has it been a success? Maybe only time will tell. Livingston was similar but was done with a lot less fuss. Meadowbank Thistle were only 21 years old. Named after the stadium they played in to crowds of between 2 to 300. They didn’t have a lot to lose. I know Queen of the South fans went there and had to stand on the running track in the pouring rain as there was a dog show in the main stand!!! So when someone in 1995 decided to move them out of Edinburgh to a big new town 20 miles away it seemed to make sense. Livingston have since reached the Scottish Premier league, won the Scottish League cup and played in Europe. Despite their recent financial worries I doubt there are many Meadowbank Thistle fans still seeking their return to the capital. But back to Hull. Even as a Leeds fan I feel for them. All supporters of all clubs need to get together to save football from unscrupulous owners. Rather than laughing and pointing we need to stand together to stop these things becoming the norm. Remember that in the not too distant future it could be your club. So get behind the Hull fans’ campaign to stop the change of name before its too late.

LINKS:

HULL CITY SUPPORTERS TRUST: http://www.hullcityonline.com/supporters-clubs/tigers-co-operative-independent-supporters-trust

CITY TILL WE DIE: http://www.citytillwedie.com/

By peter on December 14, 2013


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