In the wake of Hull City's application to the Football Association to officially change their playing name to Hull Tigers from next season I look at the potential consequences of this.
It can never just be a simple case of changing the name of a club. Hull City, like most football clubs, has a rich history which is synonimous with their name and to change their name will mean changing history itself.
Sometimes as a supporter you wonder why decisions like this have to be made. In truth owners of football clubs are attracted by the financial gains that a change in name could bring. However, if this was a definite advantage of simply changing a name, why have other clubs not done it already. Perhaps they realise that the possible gains do not outweigh the animosity that it will create within their clubs.
Hull City supporters have rightly reacted angrily to this proposition, as supporters of other clubs would also do. City owner Assem Allam's decision to apply for a change of name is seen as a challenge to football history in general, not just to Hull supporters. Hull City fans have the support of clubs up and down the country, after all, this could set a precedent in football which nobody wants.
What would Manchester United supporters think if their owners decided to rename their Old Trafford stadium and change their name to Manchester Devils?
Is Allam being short-sighted and out of touch with the loyal supporters of his club. Football is a business these days, I understand that, but there must also be a balance between developing the club in the 21st Century and preserving the history of the club. Sometimes there is a fine line between the two but in this instance preserving the club's name must come first and I doubt many would disagree.
We have seen similar breaks with football tradition in the past with mixed results. Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley decided to rename St James' Park for commercial reasons but this idea was soon reversed as Newcastle's supporters made their feelings known and Ashley admitted the error of his ways. Sponsorship is undoubtedly very important in football and is partly to thank for the rich footballing talent that graces our stadiums every week but we must ensure that it doesnt take over and spoil our treasured game. A balance must be made.
Some football clubs have chosen to build new stadiums in order to progress in this modern day footballing world. A lot of these moves have been born out of necessity and ensured a bright future for these clubs. The bold step of renaming their new stadiums, in this instance, is forgiveable, because they have actually moved away from their original site. Arsenal, Sunderland and Derby are prime examples of this.
The Hull situation though is entirely different and I for one hope that common sense prevails and Allam and the hierarchy at the club withdraw their request or the FA refuse to grant permission. This is more than just a battle for Hull, it could have consequences for all clubs.
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