Talk me through this statement you’ve made, Dr Allam, regarding the change of name for Hull City AFC.
No, I have not changed names. I don’t know where you got this from. We… I don’t change names. If you mean shortening the name, yes we have shortened the name by removing AFC.
That’s already happened?
Oh yes, earlier this year.
So that was done in consultation with the Football Association and Premier League?
Why do I do that?
Forgive me, are you talking about the holding company for the football club, or the football team name?
The football club’s name as registered in the Companies House and with the FA changed from Hull City AFC (Tigers) Ltd to Hull City Tigers Ltd earlier this year.
Tigers wasn’t part of the name before though was it?
Always been part of name. Look, from 1904, Hull and City and Tigers always there, so there’s no addition to the name. No change of name.
But they were called Hull City AFC since 1904 and Tigers has been their nickname.
No no no, Tigers in the registered name. Tiger is a part of the registered name with the Companies House and the Football Association.
The fans that I spoke to last week were absolutely delighted having been given your time and had a meeting with you a week last Friday to talk about the name. They really felt they’d made progress, that you were listening to their concerns and that you might consider keeping the name as it was, as it has been. So were they mistaken in feeling encouraged?
No, there’s nothing changed. I explained the position. I explained why we shortening names to have a more powerful impact on the market to enable the club to go globally and try to generate commercial income like other clubs. But gradually we’ll do it, look at Manchester United, and the end… so they understood the position why we need the money. I’m here to look after the football, improve the quality of football for the fans, and for the area. So promotion to Premier League is an achievement. The next step in few years’ time I would like to see the club going to Europe and get players from Europe to play here.
Can’t it do that as Hull City AFC? It strikes me that a man with your obviously talented business brain could make this a commercial success with its existing name.
You need money. You need money. It doesn’t come for nothing. You need money. And to do money you need to promote yourself. You go globally, generate cash, income, commercial income, from commercial activities worldwide. So it doesn’t come to you as a present, no it comes… you need money. We need money. If you look at the accounts which will be published next week for the year ended 31st of July this year you’ll see about 75 million pounds spent since I bought the club. But it’s money well spent because we have better football. If you want better football I will help with this. If you want to worship names, do it – it’s a free country, y’know, keep saying AFC, but I’m not…
But the thing is Mr Allam, you have rescued the football club, spent millions, this is the point surely where you could turn from hero to villain. Why would you upset your customers if you want to make money?
You’d never need me to turn into villain. I am here, I bought the club for the fans and it will always be the case. It change from this to that as you say only if I don’t achieve the objective. The objective was save the club and go to the top category of football and carry on improving. That’s what I’m doing. By the way, any question about AFC I’m not answering.
Okay, well that’s fine, I think you’ve already answered that question. So the club’s name has already changed and you want to add the name Tigers to it.
No! No, I don’t know why we keep… the club has not changed names and I will not change club’s names. We have shortened the name by removing AFC.
But people will argue that is changing the name, Dr Allam.
They can please themselves. I can’t help it. Changing name is introducing a name instead of a name. We have not. We have shortened the name and I will carry on unless… You see, in the meeting, someone came up with the bright idea, said, okay we understand, what about would you like us to think of another way of generating income? I said yes of course and I give you short notice meeting as soon as you come up with a different proposal, we’ll do it.
You did say that you were going to conduct extensive market research into what impact a name change would have as well. Have you commissioned someone to do that research? How are you going to do that research?
No one on earth is allowed to question how I do my business. No one on earth. Let’s kill this point. I know how to run my business. Nobody will question this or that.
I’m just interested to know how you are going to do that.
Leave the answers to me. I promised to get you good football and I’ve done it. Leave this to me, otherwise everybody will question me how I run my business tomorrow.
Okay. I’m just interested to know, are you going to be looking at sports around the world…
All that you need to do is to come up, as the gentleman suggested, come up with an alternative to generate cash. I will listen and I will jump on the opportunity.
And you have evidence that if you don’t change the name you won’t be able to make money?
Change the name to what?
To Hull City Tigers or Hull Tigers.
Again you call it change of name! I haven’t changed names! Do you mean shortening the name?
Well it’s lengthening it, isn’t it, because it was Hull City AFC. If you want to make it Hull City Tigers that’s longer isn’t it?
I don’t know what to say! Can I say this for the last time? No change of name, shortening the name. The name as registered with the FA and the Companies House always has been Hull City AFC (Tigers) Ltd, so I am not adding Tigers, it is there. I’m not adding City. I’m not adding Hull. I’m removing AFC, that’s all. And then considering, by early next year, considering the decision to further shortening by – Hull City Tigers now, and has been all the time – to shorten, to remove one word. Do I remove Hull or remove City or remove Tigers?
Well, people will argue that Tigers isn’t part of the name now, but we could get…
Tigers has always been part of the name!
Always been the nickname…
I was on the pitch with you during that wonderful celebration you threw at the KC Stadium where everyone was chanting “City till we die”. It means something to them.
No, they can “City till they die” as much as they like. But let’s take this: Tigers is in the name with FA, I keep repeating this, with FA and the Companies House, for ages.
Forgive me for repeating myself Dr Allam, it’s just that all of the Hull City fans that I’ve spoken to don’t agree with you. They’ve been under a completely different impression as to what the club’s name is.
It’s not an opinion, for god’s sake. It’s not my opinion. Look at the records. Talk to Companies House. Talk to the FA. It’s not an opinion. Tigers is there for ages.
Finally, what happens next Dr Allam? Are you going to be consulting further with the fans or are you going to be acting unilaterally?
Leave this to me. Nobody interferes in how I do my job. Leave it to me.