Hull City will throw open its doors this evening for a 25,000-strong promotion party.
Manager Steve Bruce and the team will stage a lap of honour at the KC Stadium in Hull to celebrate their return to the Premier League – snubbing the offer of a civic reception from Hull Council.
Five years ago the team appeared to 100,000 fans from the balcony of Hull City Hall to mark their promotion, after an open top-bus parade, before going on to a reception at the Guildhall.
But relations between the council and the club’s owners, the Allam family, have been sour since the start of a long-running saga over the future of the £43.5m stadium, which saw the authority refusing to sell the stadium and adjoining Walton Street car park, used to hold Hull Fair.
In a national newspaper interview Dr Assem Allam upped the ante by accusing councillors of “lying and cheating”, saying: “Councillors are elected to say yes or no – this is a democracy – and I have no right to discuss that with you, but you don’t cheat and lie and misrepresent.”
Coun Steve Brady, the council’s leader, said he took exception to some of the remarks, but insisted there had never been an offer on the table for the stadium.
He said when there was, he would stick by his pledge to hold a referendum for the people of the city.
Lord Mayor Coun Danny Brown said he wrote to Dr Allam last month offering to host a similar celebration to 2008.
Coun Brown played down talk of bad feeling, saying: “We are over the moon. It’s not our party; we didn’t put them in the Premier League, we didn’t invest millions of pounds in players – that is all down to Mr Allam.
“More power to his elbow, good on him.”
Entry to the stadium is free, but fans need tickets due to safety regulations.
Season cardholders will be able to use their card to get in, but other fans will have to collect their tickets from Tiger Leisure stores – at the Stadium and Princes Quay – from 9am.
Turnstiles will open at 6.30pm, with entertainment building up to the players’ arrival at 7.30pm.
Dr Assem Allam will present the team with their trophy and medals, before the players embark on a lap of honour.
Hull City is advising people to turn up in plenty of time “so as not to miss the start of what will hopefully be a memorable occasion”.