Dr. Allam / Hull City Supporters’ Groups Meeting
Minutes November 1, 2013 – KC Stadium
A.Lord (Hull City)
C.Cooper, M.Gretton, K.Ogram (City Till We Die)
A.Medcalf (HC Southern Supporters)
A.Dalton (Tiger Chat)
L.Motherby (Amber Nectar)
I.Waterson (City Independent)
F.Beill (Tigers Co-op)
C.Ashton (Official Supporters Club)
General Q’s about Harold Needler (owner) / Bob Chapman (Chairman)
Introductions from all present
AA: Why is this meeting biased to only groups against the name change?
AL: All supporters’ groups are represented here tonight
AA: Before we start, we all agree that the future of Hull City is the most important?
Presentation about the value of Allam Squash Tournament in Hull where it was observed how passionately AA spoke about squash.
“Football is our squash. You described the British Open Squash Championship as a national treasure, you preserved it as the squash community’s jewel in the crown. Preserving our name as Hull City AFC is our jewel in the crown”
It was agreed that Dr. Allam would listen to the supporters’ presentation first.
CC: reiterated that our campaign “was not an angry campaign. Everyone believes it is a good regime.” Fans confirm this. They approve. Presentation of Ulltras flag by MGo in recognition of Dr. Allam buying/saving the club in 2010
AA: my question is about City or AFC….what are we discussing tonight?
CC: provided explanation about full names, protocol used. AFC is sometimes part of protocol, only to be used on certain occasions MGr: we saw all the pictures in the KC reception area – all the photos included AFC. Almost ceremonial importance.
CC: presented Twitter and Facebook stats
AA: What do you mean by change of the name?
CC: presented the “not customers” slide. Fans are part of the community. They follow their team as an emotional monopoly.
presented relative importance pyramid
Gave Bournemouth taxi driver’s story – Hull City not “Hull” – educating taxi drivers around the world. In Hull we have City, FC or Rovers.
AA: It is recognized that we have unique colours in football
I am confused – we are not changing the name. I would not change the name without consultation. I want to remove AFC to shorten the name. This is not changing the name.
None of us ever call the club Hull City AFC. I am removing AFC – it is redundant. Shortening the name is not changing the name.
CC: But we sing songs that include AFC in them!
The supporters want to match up with the Club to shorten the name in the same way.
We use Hull City We use The Tigers Once you say Hull City Tigers in the same sentence you are effectively formalizing this as the name
AA: I am trying not to give an opinion
This is textbook marketing – it is the science of marketing
The shorter the name, the more successful the brand.
6 clubs out of 20 in the Premier League have City in their name
Are we here to talk about psychology, or about football?
I have targets in business – and I do not deviate from them
Where did the money come from for our promotion?
There comes a time to generate a commercial income
Do you want to be where we were 109 years ago?
For my company – I changed the business name 21 years ago – and I generated extra income
Before our promotion no-one knew our Hull City name abroad Millions now know of us around the world due to our promotion
The mighty name of Hull City almost gave the club a winding-up order!
(story about how AA bought the club, and rising cost of commitments was revealed to him, £12m to £27m, Ernst advice was to walk away at £27m and not buy the club – AA asked what other present could he give the people of Hull? Build onto HRI? People told him the football was more important than a new hospital etc.)
He used family inherited money and company equity
He promised the fans and the FA that the club would be run on sound business grounds only
We agree that our objectives are the same – but we are moving in totally different directions
Next step for the club is Europe – that is my plan
My strategy for the next few years is to take us into Europe This City has wasted 109 years
CC: We understand this is a gift to the city. You can give us a real gift to the city by allowing us to retain the name
AA: We cannot sustain the current level of spend
I don’t want the club to be under the mercy of anyone – including my children!
How do we secure the future?
Club must be able to generate its own income I want to put the club into a position where it can sustain itself forever
The club must generate its own commercial income – from changes to the stadium, rental, and commercialisation where possible I was amazed when I looked at other clubs – Reading with Waitrose, even Derby have Car Showrooms, Starbucks and Wimpy at their stadium. Coventry was also well-used. Look at our stadium? Someone could die at the KC stadium between matches and no-one notice!
I am amazed that you fans are protesting against me for something like shortening the name – but where were you when I was speaking to the council? You were nowhere to be seen. You did not back me.
I wanted freehold of the KC – to improve and generate revenue I had set aside £30m for this development, but have now used that to subsidise the club
The council are liars and cheats. Councillor Brady went back on his word because he needed Geraghty’s vote. The Council wanted a joint venture which I am not interested in. I keep telling them this. It is a way for minimum wage Councillors to collect £25k a year as directors of a company.
CC: We can’t carry on like this
AA No. But I never surrender to pressure
Not everyone has international business experience like me
CC: I do!
AA: My plan was to spring clean the club in the first year. I sacked lots of staff. I wanted to start again. I was criticized for this. You all protested when I sacked Nicky Barmby – but I was right, wasn’t I? With Nick Barmby in charge we would have been League 2 by now. Maybe League 1 at best. So my plan now is to get us into Europe
CC: How are you going to do this?
AA: We must go global. The shorter the name, the greater the impact
LM: Manchester United….?
AA: they took FC off their logo….
LM: …now it is back on again.
AA: They took it off to enable them to go global!
RH: They put it back as it was a mistake
AA: It was no mistake. It brought in US money.
I want to go global. Improve on everything. Get commercial income. Protect future of the club.
CC: (described German model of fan ownership)
We want to work together to create a sustainable model
This would be the first fan partially-owned club in the Premier League – we will be making history
(back to the spat with the Council)
AA: I have to say the fans’ organisations did nothing!
The fans knew about the offer of the stadium investment
We have now severed our relationship with the Council I offered the Council a way out – but they never took it If we want to go global – we must shorten – Hull Tigers
MGr: So is this an opportunity for us as a group to respond to the Council?
AM: Could we, as fans, contact KuHCC to ask what is the issue? What are the blockers?
AA: Yes – I want an apology from them. They are liars and cheaters. The fans could put pressure on the Council. But I have now severed all links with the Council.
CC: There are possibilities and other examples of long-term freeholds owned by the fans
AA: In January 2013 I offered to pay the costs for an independent committee of enquiry to investigate my conversations with the Council so far. They are liars and cheaters. I have offered them £100k donation to charity and an apology if this independent committee says that I lied. But when it proves that they lied then I will want an apology from them. Could you do business with liars and cheaters? I could not believe the fans did not protest outside the Council offices at the way they were treating me and the club.
CC: We did not know all this detail about the Council. We all care about the future of our football club We can mobilise supporters…?
AA: The objective is to secure the future of the club so that it can survive without me
We must secure the future of this club in the Premier League
We need to plan to improve the club each year
Staying up is an absolute priority – all energy must be on staying up
I call us Hull Tigers – that is our short name It is only the short name that is relevant
LM: We think that Hull City is relevant
AA: That is a matter of opinion
CC: We can organize a referendum – would this help?
AA: I will tell you – just before I bought the club I approached the top 6 Hull businesses to see whether they would help me – buy 25% of the club. They ran away. Not one agreed. I wanted fans to own 50% and I would own 25%
CC: Can we – the fans – create a sporting club model – we would be world famous
We could use this to create a commercial model and pay
AA – including pay down of debt
AA: I would agree with this
CC: It sounds like we have violent agreement!
AA: I want stability. I want us to survive in the Premier League
CC: When can we start?
CC: We should aim to implement a European Sporting Club model, including selfsustainability – and we could do this with or without the Council
AA: Be careful – we don’t want to publicise unless definite. It will send the wrong message. For instance – it sends a signal to other clubs and players.
CC: This is what you what you meant by giving a gift to the City?
AA: All I want is to give stability of football in Hull
IW: You will leave the greatest legacy in English & World Football
AA: The FA told me that we are the quickest to go from Bankruptcy to Premier League – we did it in 2 years 5 months.
KO: We can take it to a different orbit altogether
At this point we summarized the meeting to date:
– Secure the long-term sustainability of the club
– Work together (fans & club) in order to do this – either with or without the Council
– We will complete a referendum with all fans – e.g. season ticket holders
– We would only go forward with the name agreed by all
CC: It will be a ridiculously good legacy you leave Dr. Allam
AM: How much would the fans have to raise? What is the shortfall?
AA: This season will cost us £11m more than we bring in
CC: How long would you need the transfer of fans money back to your company?
AA: It is not urgent – but I would again urge caution before publicizing
CC: Should we visit German clubs and look at their model?
AA: Be careful that it does not leak out What would a player think coming to join us if they think the fans own the club?
RH: We could be England’s Barcelona
AA: We would need 50% business signup before we get 50% fans financial input
I want to shorten the name – make it powerful – remove AFC and use Tigers
We removed AFC (which is bulky) from the FA registration form this season. I could have removed the “City” too – why didn’t I do that?
But I don’t want to change for the sake of it though.
It will take time – I need to get advice from management
Maybe dropping City might not generate more income?
We need to determine this first
AM: Have you completed any research so far?
CC: None of this information came through in the Press
AA: Shortening the name might bring in £5m
But we don’t know Due Diligence would need to be completed
CC: So Dr. Allam, what are the next steps?
AA: We need to check the market. Check situations – can we do it?
Going global will generate the income. Experts will work on it.
We will keep you updated.
But there is no evidence that it will bring in revenue – yet.
CC: We all want a sustainable club. We want to go forward. We do not want to be reliant on a “sugar daddy” model – this is not long-term sustainable
We want to create a sustainable club for ever
AA: ………and retain quality of football in the Premier League….
CC: We don’t want a sustainable conference side. We want top-flight football. We want to future-proof the club against whatever is coming in the future.
AA: I aim to retain the name Hull and the tiger logo. But we will not promote the Council on the back of our promotion!
RH: Local people are proud of you
MGr: Please keep the club with the name it has
AM: What is the timescale for the name change study?
AA: 2-3 years.
AA: If you want to keep City – then sacrifice something etc. i.e. provide me with an alternative source of income
CC: So the price of the name is £66m?
AA: That is not a good summary
AA: Do your research – long names do not work Is that what you want for your club? (on the subject of Cardiff)
AA: I would never do that I will never get involved in changing the logo or the colour of shirts. To me that is criminal. It should not have happened.
Not one Cardiff fan would argue with promotion versus colour change. But I know this is mainly as Swansea are Premier League too, and Cardiff want to be with them
CC: The stadium story is news to us
We can see this is a long-term vision for the club
We should be working together on the long-term future
We can see the problem to solve is the sustainable future of our club
Who will work on this?
AA: My new Commercial Manager
CC: Can we please work with him?
AA: My next person will have to understand commercial not football
The club must survive on its own merit
Summary at the end of the meeting
– It has been a positive meeting
– There will be a referendum / wider fans consultation about the name change (“shortening of the name”)
– A fans’ referendum would only be undertaken if it could be proven that it would generate extra revenue
– That’s why no name change has taken place so far
– there has been no research
– AA confirms he will never touch the badge
– Group offer to work closer together on the sustainable future of top flight football in the City of Hull
AA: I want to see lots of top Spanish players at the KC – like Samir Nasri
CC: this is the most exciting project in football
AA: you are talking to someone who has done everything he said he would!
IW: Do you realize that you are seen as a hero in Hull?
AA: The first year is always the most difficult in the Premier League. Lots of Championship players still on the books with massive promotion rises in salary. After the first season you are financially stable enough to sign £10m+ players
We have money available to buy a striker in January
AA: Meet whenever you feel on any important issue – talk to Ash to arrange it
Agreed Press Release / Media Themes:
– Club have committed to complete research to determine whether shortening of the name would provide the required additional income to the Club, and prove beneficial to the club
– No research has been completed so far
– If the research suggests that a name change would be beneficial, then a wider consultation will take place with the supporters
– AA: “I give my word – I will not change if no benefit”
– No change to badge or team colours
– Ash Lord thought it wise not to mention the badge change as this might send out confusing messages
– Dr. Allam was open to the concept of wider fans’ consultation on all issues – offered regular meetings & dialogue. Chairman agreed to meet regularly on areas of common interest.
– CTWD should NOT mention anything about the “long term financial stability of the club”
– CTWD should NOT mention the potential of fan ownership at this stage