Hull fans ‘should shout his name from rooftops’

Hull City's new signing Nikica Jelavic
Hull City's new signing Nikica Jelavic
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STEVE BRUCE insists chairman Assem Allam has underlined his commitment to Hull City by sanctioning the £14m double signing of Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long.

It comes at the end of a week in which the Egyptian-born businessman caused fresh controversy by threatening to walk away “within 24 hours” if the Football Association reject his plans to re-name the club.

The 74-year-old wants to re-brand the Premier League outfit as Hull Tigers in an attempt to tap into the lucrative Far East market.

Allam’s proposal has been met with fierce opposition from a section of the KC Stadium faithful, who are pinning their hopes on the move being blocked when the FA rule on the matter in the Spring.

Allam said in a TV interview earlier this week that if the governing body do veto the re-naming, he will quit the club he rescued from administration in late 2010 and into which he has since pumped more than £80m to help bring Premier League football back to East Yorkshire.

Speaking as Hull closed in on making West Brom striker Long their second big money addition of the week, Bruce last night said: “I think he has just shown his commitment, hasn’t he? Absolutely.

“What he said in the interview did not deter him at all on making the club bigger and better by putting his money there again (to sign Jelavic and Long).

“When the two became available, he could easily have said, ‘Just do one’. But he said, ‘Get the two’. By doing that, he has given the squad and supporters a lift.”

The row over the planned re-brand to Hull Tigers saw former Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Prescott, yesterday come out in support of Allam.

He said: “A couple of years ago, nobody wanted to buy it (the club).

“We were four days from collapse, then this man came and put his money in. He has put his money where his mouth is.”

Bruce is sympathetic to both sides of the argument and admits he wishes the saga had not been allowed to overshadow what has been a momentous week for the Tigers thanks to the record capture of Jelavic, for a possible £7.5m fee, and the impending arrival of Long.

The West Brom striker underwent his medical yesterday and the Hull manager is hopeful the deal will go through with no late hitches.

On Allam, Bruce said: “I liked him instantly. He was the reason I took the job.

“He offered me a contract (in the summer of 2012) – which I think (was the equivalent to what) I was earning in 1988.

“But he said, ‘Steve, I have spent a lot of money and I need a hand here, I need a bit of experience, so will you come and give me a hand?’

“I drove away thinking, ‘I quite like him’.

“The chairman is straight as a die and, underneath it all, a really, really good man.

“In his moment of glory, we should all be singing his name from the rooftops because, let’s be fair, a lot of Hull fans would never have thought it would be possible that Hull City could sign Long, Jelavic, (Tom) Huddlestone, (Allan) McGregor...the list goes on and on.

“They should be shouting from the rooftops but, instead, we have got ourselves in this situation. Let’s hope we can resolve it sooner rather than later.

“One thing we have to be is united. If we are going to go forward, and if you are a Hull City fan, you should be delighted with what has happened and have a respect if the owner wants it to be Hull 

“I have said repeatedly I do understand both sides of the argument, and it would be interesting if we could have everybody coming through the turnstile to see what the proportion is (who back or oppose the name change).

“It is something which is not immaterial but, for me and for what we have to pick from and what league we are in, we should not be questioning him.”

Asked if he could imagine Allam delivering on his promise to walk away if the FA, who at the moment are consulting stake-holders and supporters groups, do veto the change to Hull Tigers, Bruce replied: “No, although I would never question him.

“He is straight down the middle, as straight as a die. I would not like to speculate what would happen if he carried out his threat.

“I would prefer to talk about these two strikers. Our move for them both has caused shock, judging by the number of calls I have had from other managers asking me how we have pulled it off.

“That is what we should be talking about.”

As Hull put Long through his medical, Aaron Mclean and Jack Hobbs were heading through the exit door.

Mclean has signed a two-and-a-half year deal with League One Bradford City, while Hobbs’s loan switch to Nottingham Forest is about to be made permanent with Hull set to receive a fee that, according to Bruce, is “not far short of £1m”.

Further exits are likely to follow with Doncaster Rovers having enquired about a possible loan move for Nick Proschwitz, who is also interesting Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Bruce said: “We will look at that over the next week or so and have a conversation with Nick as to what he wants to do.

“As for Jack, I want to wish him all the best. He left a year ago to move his home down to the Leicester area so this move suited him. He has done particularly well for Forest and I wish him, Aaron Mclean and Cameron Stewart (who joined Leeds) all the best.”