HCST Chairman Geoff Bielby gives his thoughts on recent issues around the club following the close of the January transfer window and ahead of the third supporters committee meeting.
I’ve now represented Hull City Supporters’ Trust in two Extraordinary Supporters Committee meetings in November and December where we were joined by Assem and Ehab Allam. I’ll be attending a third next week. We’ve just seen the close of a largely inactive transfer window, although thankfully no players left the club during January. The timing of the club launching its first Hall of Fame event on transfer deadline day raised a few eyebrows to say the least.
With all of this going on, I believe now is a good time to share a few thoughts and add some detail to my recent experiences as chairman of the trust.
Firstly the Hall of Fame, as that began for me last summer when Matt Rudd (a HCST member better known as part of the team behind the Amber Nectar blog and podcasts) suggested I approached the club to propose we work with the club on a Hall of Fame. I did so but Tom Rowell, who has since left the club, claimed they were already considering the idea but wanted to delay it until later in the season. We were keen to press ahead, as one idea was to host the famous front five from the sixties as initial inductees, whilst they are still with us.
In October I was invited together with representatives from the Hull Daily Mail, Senior Tigers and the Official Supporters Club to attend a meeting to choose a shortlist of players from which the initial inductees would be chosen for the Hull City Hall of Fame. Please note the title! I was honoured to do so but in early November, it became apparent that the club had decided to name it the “Tigers Hall of Fame”, yet again desperately avoiding the use of the club’s real name. Once the club confirmed this wouldn’t change, I and HCST reluctantly withdrew our involvement in the scheme.
The five worthy recipients were chosen last month and the event went ahead. I was asked by the club to help them contact families of Billy Bly, Andy Davidson as I knew them from work with Hull City Council for their Centenary Plaques Project. I was also able to help contact Chris Chiltons daughter on behalf of the club. Although proud to assist I’d suggest our club should know who its past players are and how to contact them or their families. Thankfully Hull City Supporters’ Trust do and will continue to respect the club’s history whilst striving to encourage our club to do likewise!
I shall keep reference to Supporters Committee meetings brief as there should be minutes and there’s been plenty of discussion and coverage in the local Press. I say should be as having praised the club for releasing November’s minutes in less than 24 hours, we’re still awaiting December minutes! I wish the meetings themselves were as brief with each one so far lasting four hours.
HCST has been criticised by some fans for taking part or “legitimising” supporters dialogue meeting with our presence. We will continue, but only as long as we see a chance to effect improvements in relations. Once we’ve exhausted all avenues we may need to withdraw. The February meeting will be pivotal I believe; we are close to improvement or a stalemate.
Finally we’ve just passed through the nonsense that is the transfer window. Thankfully we’ve lost no players and two have been added. Much has been said elsewhere but we are where we are with our squad who most believe is good enough to be much higher in the Championship. Let’s hope the players also believe this and that Nigel Adkins and his staff can steer the club upwards to safety.
Assem Allam has mentioned several times he wants to sell the club. He’s told me personally in the December meeting that he is finished at the club and will be leaving at the end of the season whatever happens!
I’m sure Hull City remaining a Championship club in May will be vital for any sale to complete. In the meantime we’ll continue to do everything within our power to try and bring about a return of concession prices and the full use of the club’s name.