What's In A Name? FA To Pounce On Tiger Name Change.

Published: Mar 18, 2014 14:02pm EDT
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Mar 18, 2014 @ 02:02pm EDT

 

It probably doesn’t seem like a really big deal to the soccer fans this side of the ocean but when new owner, Assem Allam, bought the club he stirred up a hornets nest of controversy at the KC Stadium.

 

It was August 2013 when the Egyptian born businessman stated in the local newspaper that he planned to discard the clubs name, ‘Hull City’, in favor of a more marketable name. The idea was that locally the club would be known as ‘Hull City Tigers’ and Internationally as ‘Hull Tigers’.

 

The owner justified the change in the argument that it would be more marketable in the foreign markets and therefore open a whole new stream of potential revenue for the side. The fans were not as convinced though and many started a protest movement against the proposal under the banner ‘City Til We Die!’.

 

The owners next move was probably not the correct one in terms of trying to argue his point to them and persuade them to his way of thinking. In an interview, when asked about the ‘City Til We Die’ campaign, Allam replied ‘(they) can die as soon as they want’.

 

Still the request was submitted to the FA for a name change and, although a decision is not expected to be given until early next month, their membership committee has recommended the FA reject the proposal.

 

The FA are not expected to go against their own committee members recommendation when they meet on April 9th and the name, which has been in place for over a century, will remain.

 

Arguments could be made for the fact that the game has changed a lot in the last decade and with the amount of money being invested in the sport in general and the Premier League in particular and that team names need to change to keep up with the change. It could also be argued, as Allam did, that these name changes are needed to promote clubs in foreign markets, namely the Asian and Middle Eastern Markets.

 

My own particular opinion on this is that the name Hull City should stay as it is. Their nickname is already the ‘Tigers’ and so, although wouldn’t be a stretch to change, is unnecessary. The Manchester City owners invested much more money in their club and didn’t feel the need to have to change the name in order to penetrate the foreign markets. Manchester United, like their City rivals, are big in Asia as are Liverpool and many others.

 

People come to England for the history and heritage. The British do not feel the need to rearrange Stone Henge into a more modern design just to better promote it. In London, for certain occasions, the Queen takes a horse and carriage rather than a Hummer complete with neon lights because it ‘tradition’ IS a selling point for foreign markets.

 

Hull City have tradition, maybe not as rich and successful as others, but they have the spotlight now. Formed in 1904 they were eventually allowed into the Football League Second Tier in 1905 and had their first game against Barnsley, a game they won 4-1. Up until the First World War they finished close to promotion but after the great war, struggled. Now they find themselves in the Premiership and will probably survive this year. More importantly though, they are in the Semi Final of the FA Cup this season and have a great chance of beating their 1930 best finish in the competition. Facing lower league competition they are one step away from being in the Final of the worlds oldest cup competition. I think ‘Hull City FA Cup Finalists’ is much more marketable then simply ‘Hull Tigers’.

 

My concern over the whole name change fiasco is that the owner stated quite clearly that if the name change was rejected, he would be out of the club within 24 hours. That potentially could be detrimental to the progress made on the pitch by Steve Bruce and the boys.


 

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Jason Bardwell
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