LONDON: In a dictatorial move which has upset many fans, promoted Hull City AFC have followed the animalistic instincts of rugby league and been renamed Hull City Tigers.
Club owner Assem Allam has also said that the “Association Football Club” part of the Yorkshire club’s name, extant since their formation in 1904, will be scrapped.
Any references to AFC on club branding will be phased out, but will remain on the shirt crest during their first season back in the Premier League.
Allam wants to market the club as Hull City Tigers locally and Hull Tigers to national and international audiences. He told the Hull Daily Mail: “In the commercial world, the shorter the name, the better. The more it can spread quickly.
“My dislike for the word ‘City’ is because it is common. I want the club to be special. It is about identity. ‘City’ is a lousy identity. Hull City Association Football Club is so long.”
Egypt-born Allam, who moved to Hull in 1968 to study but clearly takes no pride in its city status, has set up a multi-million pound company in nearby Melton.
He took charge of the club in December 2010.
Allam added: “I have always used short names in business. It gives you power in the science in marketing. The shorter, the more powerful the message. In Tigers, we have a really strong brand.”
His son and vice-chairman, Ehab Allam defended the move to drop AFC from the club’s name after 109 years. He said: “AFC is redundant, it is not used by the club. The fans never mention AFC, nor do the media.”
The club issued a statement to clarify the situation, which began: “The business name at Companies House had its ‘Association Football Club’ suffix removed in the spring of this year, leaving the club to be named ‘Hull City Tigers Ltd’.
“This will now be used in official club statements, regarding any of our commercial operations. The Tigers brand, with its powerful imagery, will be used in international markets to attract new interest and attention in both Hull and the East Riding from a worldwide audience.
“As has always been the case, supporters remain free to refer to the club as they wish, whether that be Hull City, City, Tigers, Black and Amber, or indeed any other variant of the club’s name. For many, the club will continue to be known as Hull City, as it has been from its inception.
“A new badge, to be used from the 2014-15 season, will be designed and created in consultation with fans over the coming months.”
Bernard Noble of the Hull City Official Supporters’ Club admitted he had mixed feelings about the decision.
“My personal opinion is I’m disappointed because I’m a bit of a traditionalist,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.
“But this guy saved us from liquidation and administration and it’s his club. I will still say ‘I’m going to watch City’, ‘I’m going to watch the Tigers’, ‘I’m going to watch Hull’. I will still say that and so will many other people.
“As far as Hull City Tigers is concerned, the fans – the 25,000 people who will be there for the first home game against Norwich – they’ll say ‘I’m off down to watch City’.”