1. Last week, when rumours began to circulate that Hull City AFC were to call a press conference at which the owner was to outline his plans for the future, we began planning. It’s nice to have articles largely ready to upload in advance, with a few details added as they emerge. The rumours suggested that City’s 75 year old owner, Assem Allam, was putting the club up for sale and bowing out, perhaps giving his son Ehab temporary control and making the de facto situation official, maybe even handing over to Ehab permanently. So we started to conceive an Assam Allam Legacy article. It was positive, too. The name change unavoidably featured, as did his prickly remarks during the affair, but its tone and content was sunnier than expected. He’d have enjoyed reading it. We’d have enjoying publishing it, and saying fond farewell. But now we don’t need it. We may never need it.
2. Assem Allam’s revisitation of the name change is a supremely squalid act. No evidence was advanced that it’ll benefit City. No evidence has EVER been advanced, for none exists. Assam Allam claims this is not about Hull City Council, but this is simply not true. Somehow, in his mind, a vast, seething obsession with our local council has festered, embittering him to the point at which he is perfectly happy to inflict permanent disfigurement upon our identity, undermine Steve Bruce and reignite quarrels between the despairing majority and the handful of “itshisclubhecandowhathewants” diehards. All to put one over Hull City Council. It’d be funny, if it wasn’t so tragic.
3. The press conference itself was deeply worrying, if not lacking in dark humour. Allam was rambling, incoherent, mildly hysterical and incapable of understanding even the most basic facts. To suggest we’ve been called Hull City Tigers for 110 years is simply wrong. Not a matter of opinion, or a shade of grey, he is wrong. And if he really is that ignorant about the club, or that willing to recite an untruth simply because he wants it to be true, what on earth else is going on in his head? Some of the presser was just horrible to watch. KFC? Pilots licence? Dead bodies? Perhaps he fancies this is colourful metaphor. It isn’t. We can cope with Assem Allam embarrassing himself, that’s an inevitable consequence of him opening a mouth that so many at the club strive to keep quiet. We’d rather he stopped embarrassing our club, however.
4. It’s understandable that people want to be respectful towards and thankful to Assem Allam given the great things he has done for our club, we feel that way too, but we’re confounded when some show they are content to believe anything the man says, even when it’s patently nonsense. Many of the things said at Thursday’s press conference were word for word repeats of what he said to CTWD last year; He wants to make us a top five club and feels he’s prevented from unlocking revenue tied up in the stadium by the Council. His examples of revenue generation from grounds are a Waitrose at Reading, a KFC at Derby and a Jaguar showroom at Coventry. Sure, extra revenue from renting stadium units wouldn’t go amiss, but none of the cited teams play in the Premier League, so the revenue from their stadia certainly isn’t enough to make them a ‘top five’ club. The idea that we’d be propelled up the league if only we had a KFC at the KC Stadium is just ridiculous, and Dr. Allam seems blissfully unaware that Coventry have only just returned to the Ricoh Stadium after time spent playing in Northampton. We were stunned he didn’t know that last year, how does he not know now that a stadium based car showroom has benefited Coventry City NOT ONE BIT? Has nobody in our owner’s inner circle got the nerve to put him straight when he says things obviously incorrect so that he doesn’t look silly saying them in public? Or is he just incapable of listening?
Oh and speaking of the inner circle, where was Ehab Allam during this press conference? The solitary chair put out for his father to face the massed ranks of the media would suggest Ehab wanted no part in proceedings. Now Ehab is just as capable of insulting City fans as his father, he said on Radio Humberside that fans wanting the club to keep its name are selfish, but he at least seems comfortable talking to the press, whereas his father cuts a rather pitiable figure when the script in front of him doesn’t cover on the spot questioning. Back to the point of people accepting every utterance Dr. Allam makes, Ehab Allam told Radio Humberside listeners days before the FA’s decision was made that there was no offer from potential sponsors based on the name Hull Tigers, but on Thursday Assem said a million pounds was lost when a sponsor pulled out at the instant the FA rejected Hull Tigers. Take your pick which of them said something they know not to be true, but one of those statements is a brazen falsehood.
This press conference was ostensibly ‘to clear the air’, but it generated yet more fog (many journalists assumed the appeal was to CAS in Switzerland till the club later said arbitration was between club and FA), and makes it even harder to trust the veracity of anything that comes out of the mouths of the club’s owners. We would love to be able to trust statements from the club, but how is that possible? Yet some people are clearly capable of swallowing vast amounts of bullshit before asking for more, we just can’t bring ourselves to do it, can’t maintain the blissful thought that everything is hunky dory just because the team is doing so well. It brings to mind this Sunshine Room comic strip…
5. What next? Several more months of bitter argument and uncertainty, for which Assem Allam is entirely to blame. Tonight’s match against West Ham is certain to see lengthy vocal protests against this latest bout of madness, as will all future games. Allam and his apologists probably think they can bludgeon City fans into submission, but that just isn’t going to happen. We’ll instead see City Till We Die return to prominence – and a huge tip of the hat to them for remaining so restrained in the face of Allam’s provocation and the lies regularly aimed their way by the Premier League-obsessed. There’ll be flags. Banners. Arguments. Ill-feeling. And for what?
6. It’s back with the FA. Quite why Assem Allam thinks they will reverse their own decision simply is anyone’s guess. Meanwhile, season ticket holders money is being frittered on expensive lawyers who seem quite content to feed him the fantasy that this is still winnable. We can all see how badly that first defeat hurt. Goodness only knows how he will incorporate a second into his personal God complex.
7. And then what? Premier League clubs aren’t easy to sell, particularly not ones laden with debt and without their own stadium. It could take months. Perhaps a couple of years. All the time during which Assem Allam will remain in charge, loathing the fans, obsessed by the council, ranting and raving and blaming everyone. How can that possibly end well?
8. We’re cross, as can be seen. But we’re also sad. What did we do to cause Assem Allam to hate us so much? He was welcomed to Hull decades ago, and rightly hailed as a saviour of our club. But now he clearly despises us. He has no respect whatsoever. The hooligans slur was close to unforgiveable, but his ongoing refusal to listen, to be straight with us, all points to a man who hates his own customers. Again, how can that possibly end well?
9. It’s now 4½ months since Hull City AFC first promised us full details of the deeply flawed ballot that apparently forms part of Allam’s strange self-justification for continuing this sorry saga. We still haven’t heard anything. Perhaps we ought to contact some of those people the club said they were waiting for replies from? Just to be helpful.
10. West Ham tonight. Give the lads a cheer, and give the club an earful on 19’04”.