For the first time in several months, officials from Hull City met with HCST this week.
On Tuesday, HCST Chairman Geoff Bielby and fellow Board member Phil Walton met Hull City’s newly appointed Marketing & Communications Manager Tom Rowell, as well as the club’s Press Officer Luke Cash. In what was a productive meeting, both parties agreed that a more open and meaningful dialogue was needed in order to address a number of clear issues which currently exist between the club and its loyal fan-base. As Hull City’s largest independent fan group, the Trust stressed that while this dialogue is desperately needed, ultimately it may also require a regime change and reforms in a number of key areas, including ticketing, for divisions to be fully healed.
The Trust also made clear that our immediate objectives are as follows:-
1. To establish meaningful dialogue between Hull City Fans and representatives from a senior level of the club, as specified by the DCMS and backed by The Premier League earlier this year, following the recommendations of the Government Expert Working Group. As the club’s largest and only independent fan body, we believe the HCST should take a lead on that forum.
2. Restoration of concession ticketing, or at the very least, some form of discount to encourage senior and junior Hull City fans back to the club ASAP. We raised our concerns regarding the embarrassment of empty seats at the KCOM at the minute, and we explained that meaningful change in regards to concession ticketing would enable HCST to back a call for fans to return to supporting the club at home games.
3. Finally, as the first two points suggest, we stressed that everything we will do from now on will remind all Hull City supporters that HCST is “Backing The Team, NOT The Regime”.
The club representatives felt that objective number one is already in the process of being ticked off through continued meetings and dialogue. We agree with them on this providing of course that the dialogue does indeed continue.
Regarding objective number two, the club stance is that this cannot be changed mid-season for logistical reasons (which we dispute on the basis that it is a rolling monthly membership not bound by any start or end dates, but further discussion will be required to fully understand the club’s position on this particular point). The scheme will apparently be reviewed at some point, likely the end of the season, at which point concessions will be discussed.
Following the meeting, we were also asked to provide some other ways in which the club can improve things for fans. We have of course pointed to the reversal of the pointless stealth re-brand which has taken place over the last few years to the point that almost no club communications ever use the club’s name, as something which would win a lot of people over and be easy and quick to implement.
We would like to thank Tom and Luke for setting time aside to meet with us, and we are hopeful that in future this continued dialogue will result in meaningful change based on input from fans, rather than the views offered by supporters being ignored as they have been in the past. It remains a concern that the owners of the club may decide to not allow their staff to act upon any consultation with fans, as appears to have been the case previously, but we will always keep trying.