The Football Association are reportedly set to block Hull City’s proposed name change to Hull Tigers from next season, yet they allowed Coventry City’s owners to relocate the club 35 miles away from the City which bares their name. But would their decision have been different if the Sky Blues were in the top flight? Rich Tomlinson thinks so.
Sunday, August 11th 2013 was the date that most Sky Blue fan’s worst fears were realised when Coventry City played a ‘home’ game at Sixfields – the home of League Two side Northampton Town rather than the empty Ricoh Arena.
Despite a thrilling 5-4 victory, it was played out in front of just 2,204 fans when last season’s average attendance at The Ricoh was just over 10,000.
I myself have attended a City game at Sixfields on one occasion this season out of curiosity but I completely understand and respect those who stand on Jimmy’s Hill for the game or don’t travel to Northampton at all.
I also completely respect those who travel to Northampton on a regular basis and those who only choose to watch City on their travels. For me, there is no right or wrong way to support the team.
The only wrong-doing in the whole sorry situation is that ‘home’ games are not being played in Coventry.
Following months of speculation and uncertainty many of the Sky Blue Army felt that both The FA and The Football League had let them down in allowing the idea of playing out of the club’s rightful home, even for a ‘temporary period’ of 3-5 years as the club’s owners build a new stadium ‘in the Coventry area,’ to become a reality.
Whilst the club’s situations are different; Coventry have moved out of their city and Hull’s owner Assam Allam is looking to change the name of the club, there is one common factor – the fan’s feeling of aggravation, anger and disrespect.
Assam Allam, the owner of Hull City Football Club, has today seen his proposal to rename the Premier League club from Hull City to Hull Tigers hit a wall as The Football Association confirmed that its Membership Committee made a unanimous recommendation to the FA Council to reject the proposal.
Allam, who has publicly talked about his desire for the name change, which is the opposite to the mysterious Joy Seppala, chief of SISU, will now see the decision voted on, on April 9th. He has also vowed to walk away from the club if his proposals are rejected.
Describing the name City as ‘lousy’ and ‘common,’ Allam has not once taken into account the Hull City’s fans rejection of the idea, something which again can be compared to SISU’s actions of relocating to Sixfields.
Yet it is the fans who keep a Football Club alive. The fans are the men, women and children in stands, spending money and supporting the team that is put out on the pitch. The fans ARE the club.
A statement released by Kevin Miles of The Football Supporters’ Federation, in response to the news that The FA are set to block Allam’s proposals, they said, “The fans’ groups and fanzines who came together under the City Till We Die banner have protected their club’s heritage and 110-year-old name with great dignity.
“The FA’s decision should also serve as a warning to other owners – such fundamental changes to a club’s identity should not be made without the support of the fans.”
Yet the question remains, if City were in the Premier League when the proposal to take the club out of their rightful home and play in Northampton – would they have blocked the proposals and listened to the fans, or would they have still sat in silence and allowed the club to be ripped away from it’s identity?
But Coventry City aren’t in The Premier League – we play in League One; the third tier of English football. And it seems that because of the division we play in, The Football Association don’t want to know. As a result of playing games 35 miles away from home, many fans have found other activities to occupy themselves come 3pm on a Saturday afternoon. Some fans have given up completely.You can follow Rich on Twitter: @RNTomlinson