Belfast Telegraph

Bruce: Allam will win Tigers fight

Hull manager Steve Bruce believes owner Assem Allam will ultimately be successful in his attempt to change the club's name to Hull Tigers.

Allam revealed this week that he put Hull up for sale in April, within a day of the Football Association Council decision to reject his proposed rebrand.

But the outspoken Egyptian has kept his options open by beginning a process of arbitration with the FA - not the Court of Arbitration for Sport as originally stated - and will remain at the helm his plans are upheld.

Bruce has long played the pragmatist in the ongoing stand-off between Allam and disgruntled sections of the fan-base, but has always been adamant that the local businessman is a positive influence on the club.

He is desperate to maintain what has thus far been a productive relationship - last season brought their highest-ever league finish and a first FA Cup final appearance - and expects arbitration to eventually yield a change from Hull City AFC to Hull Tigers.

"I think there will be a positive outcome. That means he will stay and he will win his case. I genuinely believe that will be the case," said Bruce.

"Those are my thoughts. We have seen change before. One club (Wimbledon) went from London to Milton Keynes. Arsenal left Highbury...I never thought that would have happened back in the day.

"Or Manchester City leaving Maine Road. The fans even sang 'Maine Road till we die'.

"But they moved into a nice new stadium and everyone forgot about it.

"If he was looking to leave the KC and move to Sheffield, then I can understand there would be all sorts of arguments raging.

"But when you talk about a name change, there is an 'AFC' in there.

"Does that have to stay? For me, can we find a middle ground? I think we know now what the situation is so let's see what the Court of Arbitration says.

"But I think it has a long course to play."

Allam's son Ehab, the acting chief executive and vice-chairman, told Radio Humberside on Friday that he expected a resolution to the FA arbitration process by November.

Allam senior has pledged his full commitment in the meantime, at least in the absence of a suitable buyer, and handed Bruce a bumper transfer kitty in the summer to prove the point.

And should his appeal be thrown out again and he ultimately leaves the club, Bruce would expect his own future to be doubtful too.

"If he leaves and a new man comes in, then what will he want? They'll want their own man," he said.

"Of course, I don't want him to leave and I don't think the vast majority of the supporters do either.

"Like any good football club, the relationship the manager has with his chief executive or owner has to be strong.

"If it's not, then you can't work. I've got on well with him over the last couple of years because he's let me get on and manage.

"I'm fortunate enough to know that I never have any interference at all. Not in buying of players, team selection. He's never questioned why I played 4-3-3 or three at the back. Never.

"He's let me manage and that for me is a breath of fresh air when I hear about the madness that goes on around the world.

"I really genuinely feel like he doesn't want to sell but he feels that strongly on it (the Tigers issue).

"When you see him come out and tell the world, there is no turning back.

"I think he genuinely means what he says. That there is no grey area. But, as far as I am concerned, he has no real intention to sell. He doesn't want to sell but will do if forced into a corner."

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