This blog will be based on the attempted name change of EFL Championship club Hull City. A football club once hosting 20-25000 loyal supporters per game has dramatically dropped in the past few years due to an ongoing dispute between the owner and the fans. This blog shows how important the field of PR is within sports and how it can affect a relationship between a club and its supporters.
Since the founding of Hull City F.C in 1904, the club has had a largely supportive fan base spread across Hull and the surrounding areas, however the clubs attempted rebrand has resulted in a shaky relationship between the club and its fans. Since the attempt to rename the club in 2013 which backlashed massively and even got rejected by the FA, the owners have neglected the club with a lack of transfer funding given to managers during the transfer window and communication with the fans. Due to this lack of funding, various managers and head coaches have since left the club, including Steve Bruce who was respected by many due to him leading the team to the Premier league in 2013, as a result of this, large scale protests took place within games towards the owners which brought down the moral of the club. Since this large incident, the owners have continuously attempted to sell the club, still no one has until this day.
Charlie Moore, a lifelong Hull city supporter shares his opinion on the matter and talks on how he thinks it has affected the club.
<EMBED VIDEO HERE>
How has this affected Hull City?
This failed rebrand has significantly affected the club in all aspects including the clubs’ performance. All down to bad use of PR. Since the clubs attempted rebrand, Hull City have been relegated from the UKs’ top flight of football twice, evidently showing a lowering in sporting performance. This has then lead to the departure of several managers, the most memorable of which being fan favourite, Steve Bruce. Steve Bruce resigned as Hull City manager after becoming increasing frustrated with the clubs’ owner, Assem Allam due to a lack of transfer budget and activity. This departure provoked further chaos across the Hull City fan base, adding fuel to the fire. This lead to large protests amongst the die-hard Hull City supporters, initiating these during game time and around the stadium. Banners amongst stands were a large part of the protests, the majority of which gave the message “a club, not a brand” and a reoccurring protest during games which causes fans to chant against the owner when the timer hits 19 minutes and four seconds. These troubles that the club has faced has severely affected a once healthy relationship between a club and its fans, which has slowly degraded since over the years. To further add to the damage, the owners then changed the clubs crest, many believing this was due to the FA rejecting their request to change the name of the club, leading them to take the name off the badge. This ongoing dispute has not affected the brand image of Hull City in a bad way, however this has affected the image of the club’s owner.
What is the club doing to help rectify this issue?
Since the beginning of this issue, not much has been done to help repair the damage except from the owners attempting to sell the club which has been a popular decision amongst fans. As Assam Allam approaches an older age and undertakes other responsibilities, his son Ehab Allam has taken the role of the clubs director, which started a slight repair of the clubs relationship, until recent years with yet more disagreements between the club and its owners. There is a wide range of things that Hull City could do to begin to fix its broken relationship with the fans such as investing more money into transfers and approaching their PR strategy from a different angle, such as presenting fans with reasons as to why they wanted to change the club, something which they failed to do well from the start. However, after years of dispute with the fans this damage may now be irreversible and could only be fixed through new owners, however this is down to the fans.