Belfast Telegraph

Allam comments unhelpful - fans

Hull owner Assem Allam has further inflamed tensions with fans after telling those who oppose his plans to change the club's name that they can "die as soon as they want".

Allam, who took over in 2010, has infuriated sections of the fanbase by revealing he plans to rebrand the team as Hull Tigers, ditching the existing Hull City AFC moniker.

His proposals have been met with protests both inside and outside the ground, most visibly when stewards unsuccessfully attempted to confiscate a "We are Hull City" banner during last week's defeat to Crystal Palace.

There have also been frequent chants of "City till we die" at home matches and those words drew a controversial response from Allam.

The Egyptian businessman told the Independent on Sunday: "I don't mind 'City till we die'.

"They can die as soon as they want, as long as they leave the club for the majority who just want to watch good football."

He added: "How can they call themselves fans, these hooligans, this militant minority, when they disturb and distract the players while taking away the rights of others to watch the football, and of companies who have paid good money for advertising?"

The latter suggestions were met with disappointment by the City Till We Die fans' group.

A statement released to Press Association Sport read: "Thankfully, hooliganism at football in this country is now exceedingly rare. The intemperate suggestion that singing 'City Till I Die' or holding a banner with Hull City's name on it constitutes disorder is ill-informed, unhelpful and will be considered by many to be offensive.

"Nor is it credible to believe that such measured actions will have any effect whatsoever upon the team we so admire. We reiterate our advice to all City fans to continue their fine support for our fantastic team while positively expressing a preference for our current name."

The group harbours hopes of continued dialogue with Allam and has begun exploring the possibility of a supporters' trust taking an active role in the running of the club.

The statement continued: "With all available evidence suggesting that a considerable majority of Hull City AFC supporters favour retaining our current name and with no benefits to a change having been proven, we urge the club to respect our historic identity so that we can all ensure our 109-year-old name is kept for future generations.

"We welcomed Dr Allam's promise to consult the fans before requesting any change of name, and we would be more than willing to lend assistance with this and other issues.

"City Till We Die remains committed to working with the club on this issue and others that affect us all. We are particularly mindful of Dr Allam's comments when he took over the club in 2010 about broadening supporters' representation at Hull City AFC. We are keen to assist the club with establishing this and the first steps towards this are being explored at present."

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