HULL CITY fans angered by plans to rename the club will stage their first organised protest today with a “slow march” to the KC Stadium ahead of the key home Premier League clash against Norwich City.
The club’s return to the most lucrative and competitive league in world football has been overshadowed by the row following comments from owner Assem Allam in which he called the name Hull City “irrelevant” and said he disliked the name City because it was “common”.
The Egyptian-born businessman – who saved the club from financial meltdown when he took over in 2010 – also said he would personally prefer the club to be known simply as Hull Tigers.
The Association Football Club part, which has stood since the club’s formation in 1904, was removed from the business name at Companies House in the spring – leaving Hull City Tigers Ltd – but confusion has reigned since Dr Allam’s comments over what the football club will be called.
The Premier League’s director of communications Dan Johnson apologised to fans recently following complaints after the name Hull City Tigers appeared on the league’s official Facebook page.
Fans are divided over the rebranding exercise, but about 1,000 of those opposed to the change will march from West Park gates in Anlaby Road to the stadium at 2.30pm.
A spokesman for an unofficial fans’ group taking part said: “Hull City ‘Ulltras’ respect Dr Allam and Ehab [his son] for being the saviours of our club, but changing the name is not something we want nor can agree to.
“On Saturday we are calling for a large but peaceful demonstration of fans’ feelings on the matter.”
The protest comes after new giant marketing backdrops encouraging visiting fans to extend their stay in East Yorkshire were unveiled at the away end of the ground yesterday.
The seven large wall coverings promote The Deep, the Marina, Hull’s shopping and nightlife, and its UK City of Culture bid for 2017.