Today, April 9th has seen the FA’s final decision (for now…) on the debacle surrounding the proposed name change for Hull City.
The FA Council rejected the application by a proper majority and the world of football has come out in general approval of the decision.
As an unapologetic, paid up member of the No campaign, I fully believe this was the right decision.
However, this will not be the end as no doubt the Allams will keep revisiting this issue until they either get their way or they fail to persuade the Court of Arbitration in Sport that the FA were in some way out of order.
One thing about the No campaign was their insistence to see the evidence, “show us the facts” to paraphrase Jerry Maguire. All they asked was to be told market research had been done or evidence that the name change would be in the clubs benefit.
None was forthcoming. Just as there was no supporter consultation until AFTER the FA had held it’s first committee meeting and had received presentations and submissions from all stake holders. This was puzzling.
The ‘Yes’ campaign, and there was one, appeared to ask the supporters to rely on trust and blind faith. After all, the Allams are successful businessmen, they must know what they are doing, they said. It would give the club a modern feel and make it stand out and would attract sponsors and investment. With the implied threat of withdrawal of the Allams’ support, you could see why people would choose to back it.
In the world of big business, the most successful product rebrandings are those that have been backed by solid research, through focus groups or surveys, taken over months or years. The Allams appeared not to have done so. When you look at the figures, it’s hard to see how much the name change would have brought in, but it didn’t appear that it could fill the gap the Allams have in their funding.
When you grind it down to pounds and pence, what will bring in the sponsorships and funding from outside will be success on the field. The likes of Manchester City and United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs have followed this principle for a long time and it’s been proven.
This whole episode has been a shame as if this had been done properly, the Allams might have won the uncommitted over and got the decision they wanted. They had done so much for the club in rescuing it, and backing Steve Bruce to the point at which the club is now. Up until the rumours got out, the Allams were seen as the best thing since Jacksons started slicing their bread (you’d have to be from Hull to understand that). But this whole episode has spoiled that.
All through the last few months, the No campaign always stated that their movement was based on “No to Hull Tigers, Yes to Allams” although some did try to say that to say no to the change meant you couldn’t say the latter either.
When all is said and done, whether you supported the change or were against it, the support for the team, the best squad Hull City has known, it never wavered. The team has been backed to the hilt, from all sides.
City can earn success over the weekend, should they beat Sheffield United at Wembley. People like success, they want to be associated with it, that’s what business looks for. Changing the name without doing the background seldom changes people’s perceptions.
Despite everything, I still think the Allams can do so much for the club. What they need to do is to find someone who can explain the emotional investment that many hundreds of thousands of people have made in Hull City, and be able to factor that into their business plans. I’m not suggesting the fans be allow to dictate matters but football depends on supporters and harnessed correctly, they can do so much together with the club.
To those in the amber and black on Sunday, those who will be attending the semi final, be you ‘yes’ or ‘no’, make sure you put it aside and sing the roof off the stadium and shake the arch. It’s the team, always the team, and only the team.