MUCH of Ehab Allam’s working week may be spent focusing on Hull City matters.
But the club’s vice-chairman, in common with the rest of the family, has not set foot inside either the KC Stadium or an away ground on a match-day this season following the owners’ decision to stay away in the wake of last summer’s unsuccessful attempt to rebrand as ‘Hull Tigers’.
Instead, the Allams gather at home to watch the live feed of every game that all chairmen in the Championship receive as part of the TV deal. The family have grown to love it that way.
“It is more enjoyable watching from home,” said Allam.
“The family all meet up together and watch the games. As a family, we enjoy the freedom of not being under scrutiny. We can be ourselves and react like a normal fan in the stands, which we couldn’t do before. If we want to shout at the referee, we can.
“There is no-one watching you, we are not in the public eye. Previously, a home match-day was just another working day for us. Between my father and two sisters, we would each host one of the four tables for visiting directors and guests. Much of the talk would be about business and then, once the game started, the cameras focused on you. It becomes hard work.
“Usually, I would be sitting next to the opposition’s owner or chief executive during the match – particularly away from home. It isn’t the done thing to jump up and celebrate if your team scores so I would have to sit there, remaining very calm and measured. Now, I can do whatever I want. I can jump out of my seat, swear at the referee... that freedom means I am enjoying watching our games a lot more.”
Not being at City games in person makes no difference to the Allams in terms of keeping an eye on all aspects of the club. This includes everything from the Academy through to the KC infrastructure and making sure the club’s training ground at Cottingham is fit for purpose.
“You always have to keep improving,” added Allam. “Not just in terms of the squad. At the stadium, we have probably spent £4m over the past 18 months, on things like new IT and lighting systems. Then, another £2.5m-3m at the training ground on stadium, quality pitches and grid areas.
“Our new goalkeeper, Dusan Kuciak, came back from Cottingham when his transfer was going through and said the pitches reminded him of a golf course. That made me smile.”