Mark Herman is brassed off (again)

April 5, 2015

Screenwriter, film director* & City supporter Mark Herman has just reminded us we were free to use the speech he gave at The Lair last year.  “The only thing I would change now,” he wrote, “is the gratitude to Allam”.  So here it is, in full.

Earlier on this week, I thought maybe I should make this light-hearted. Maybe think of some vaguely amusing link between this current insanity and the job that I do. Maybe imagine what it would be like if certain football chairmen were in charge of marketing films. If Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan was in charge of my last film, would it have been called ‘The Boy In The Hooped Pyjamas’? If Dr. Allam was marketing ‘Little Voice’, would he have renamed it ‘Littler Voice’, such is his logic for shortening names by actually making them longer? There’s only one instance where shortening the title of any of my films would have had significant impact at the box office, with male customers anyway, and that would have been by removing the letters SED from the middle of ‘Brassed Off’. But then in midweek came the application, which was even less funny than those jokes.

I’d like to congratulate the people who run this campaign, not just for all the fantastic work they’ve done so far, but also for the respectful way in which they’ve done it, always stressing it’s not anti-Allam, just anti this one idea. In fact, they’ve been so dignified, I think they’re in danger of giving hooliganism a bad name.

We should never forget, without Dr. Allam, we wouldn’t even have a club to be arguing about. His generosity was immense, and our gratitude so enormous, it’s hard to believe that it can be so eroded by one single crazy idea.

I’ve been supporting this club, through thin and thin, for 50 years, but I’ve never felt more distanced from it, more betrayed by it, and more insulted by it, than I have in recent weeks.

Nobody is arguing with our owner’s aims and ambitions. We all want the club to succeed financially. But there are ways of trying to do that without upsetting the very heartbeat of the club. For example, there was Michael Calvin’s very simple suggestion in The Independent: Keep the name Hull City, drop ‘Cash Converters’ as a sponsor (it’s tacky anyway), and put the word ‘Tigers’ on the shirt instead. If there was a campaign against that, I wouldn’t join it. Ignoring such simple solutions suggests to me that Dr. Allam might have some ulterior motive here.

A few months ago, our re-branding wizard Nick Thompson came up with labels for the three types of Hull City fan (because in the marketing world, there are only three). He called one group ‘The Entranced’. They were the type that did things like shake buckets back in the 80’s collecting money to help keep the club afloat. Well I’m ‘Entranced’, and have been since I was nine. I’ve done all that weird ‘Entranced’ stuff, like avoiding the cracks in the pavement to stave off relegation (not when I was nine, that was three years ago). Stuff like going to Falkirk for friendlies, and naming my car after Stan McEwan (it was always dirty and had no acceleration). I’ve been on film sets, directing actors while getting Burnsey commentary through my headset. I wrote a song, back in the 80’s: ‘The Tigers Are Back’.  That was my version of shaking buckets. At least that’s what it sounded like. The first line of that was: “In days gone by, we used to be Hull City lovers”. I truly hope the use of the past tense in that lyric wasn’t a horrible prophecy.

Anyway, according to Nick, ‘The Entranced’ were only 5% of the fanbase, so not worth listening to. Irrelevant dinosaurs, basically. (The insults were so much nicer back then). And according to Dr. Allam, there are only 200 that disagree with him now. But largely thanks to the work of this campaign, this is no minority, and it’s not just Hull City fans, it’s fans of all clubs, fans of football. It’s anybody that even remotely values the history, heritage, and tradition of the game. And that must surely include the F.A. To whom, we say “no”.


*A Kick in the Grass, See You At Wembley, Frankie Walsh and some other stuff.

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