City of Culture

September 14, 2017


As our beloved home city progresses through our stint as UK City of Culture we can find many reasons to be proud. Fireworks, light shows, the Blade, poppies, a giant cheese grater, Ziggy Stardust, fire breathing giraffes, dinosaurs, Turner Prize, Dock Stage, Freedom Festival, Humber Sesh, Arts and Culture galore. It’s been a great success and a huge boost for the city.

But at the end of the day we are rightly proud of what we are. And in Hull we love our sport. We dip into the arts from time to time but for many of us Hull City, Rovers or Hull FC are the focus of our entertainment. For many, these clubs are the centre of our social lives and interest. But why isn’t sport viewed as culture? Surely it should have had a much higher profile in 2017? In addition to the main football and rugby league teams there are numerous local teams with a devoted following and we’ve not seen enough of our great sporting heritage in our special year. The impressive Tiger Rags exhibition in the city’s Streetlife Museum has shone out like a beacon

So perhaps we don’t have the huge tradition of Merseyside, North London or Tyneside. But Hull City has always had a core of supporters who can rival any in the land for their almost obsessive passion and loyalty. Alongside this Hull FC and Rovers each have a large and enthusiastic following and the intense local rivalry helps to define the city’s character as much as the Ferens Art Gallery, Humber Street, King Billy statue, Humber Bridge, The Deep and the rest.

So certainly 2017 has shown Hull is a place where people know how to celebrate and enjoy a party. But for many the magnificent post Wembley homecoming of Hull FC fans this year will overshadow most of the City of Culture events. Certainly Hull City fans will reflect with disappointment that perhaps due to the long standing rift between the Club’s owners and local council, we’ve not been able to celebrate the unprecedented triumphs of recent years as we should have and the low profile of Hull City in our year of culture is an unwanted legacy of this.

So as we look to maintain and sustain the hard work done to put Hull on the map, let’s devote a bit more time to all types of sport at every level. Ebenezer Cobb Morley was born in Hull and wrote the rules for modern day football and was the first secretary of the FA. Football is played by around 270 million people across the world and the last World Cup was watched by over 3 billion fans. It all began in Hull, but because it’s sport, Ebenezer’s amazing story is little known to the Hull public or across the land. That’s madness.

Google tells us culture is ‘the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society’

Well here in Hull we’re a unique working class city and sport is never far from our ideas, customs and social interaction. It’s what makes Hull what it is and we like it that way.

Culture visited us in 2017 and made a lot of us sit up and take a look. But for thousands of Hull people sport is a lifelong companion, a lifelong partner of culture and part of the foundations of our history and heritage. Let’s be proud of it and show it off a bit more.

By Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson is Editor of Hull City Social Media group Tigerlink and is a Director of the Hull City Supporters Trust (HCST)

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