The seven year itch

It’s considered in matrimonial circumstances that the seventh year of a relationship is the time when all the  irritations, cracks and annoyances are brought to a head.

Well, seven years ago, November 2010 to be precise, the Allams agreed to tie the knot with Hull City fans and formally took over our club in December. The cost of the wedding ring?…A quid.

It was the 10th of November, a day after we had drawn against Leeds United 2-2 away and just lost out by a Bostock own goal. The mood around City was euphoric, the same week that we’d been beaten at home 1-0 by Scunthorpe and still nearly 22,000 fans turned up, matched a week later by  21K fans who witnessed a 1-0 win over Ipswich thanks to Robert Koren.

The stage was set, A multi million pound owner, a desire to give back to his own community who had welcomed him as one of our own and a ready made average audience of over 21,000 eager to help build upon Brownies recent Premiership success. What could go wrong?

There’s no need to pick through the bones of the last four years worth of madcap antics that started with a name change application in 2013 and false promises, assurances and detrimental decisions that have steadily followed since, because like all marriages, there are ups amongst the downs.

Record signings, record transfer funds, record salaries, forays into the Premier League, European football and the pulling power to attract a big name manager like Steve Bruce who steered us through those high times.

It’s the naivety of Assem that set the ownership on the wrong course from the off. Very rightly in an interview back in 2010/11 season I recall him saying something like “I know nothing about football, I leave that to those that do”.

Ignoring his own advice has been their undoing ever since. Being a straight forward successful business owner is not enough when entering the football world. With an engineering business, you can treat staff as abrupt as you wish, products can be bought and sold with cold hearted assertiveness weighing up profit and loss, there’s no one to please other than customers, himself and shareholders and suppliers can be strung out months until they are paid.

Now try and apply that to a football club. Impossible. Football fans are not just customers. We are the flag bearers of the club, we wear the pride as visibly as wearing the shirt, it shapes our weekends, how we arrange our spare time and most importantly, and more than the money it costs for the price of a ticket… We commit a long term emotional investment.

This is what both Mr. & Mr. Allam have failed to recognise or understand. The first goal (excuse the pun) of the owners from day one should have been to buy into to the fans ethos and dreams,  maybe even do a bit of research into the best owner we’ve ever had—Don Robinson and his relationship with us to see how it should be done, or at least take a few tips.

Yes we are grateful for our best ever period in over 100 years but what our owners have failed to do is galvanise the club and that’s where the pity is. I’ve no doubt in my mind that Assem meant well and had every sincerity to make Hull City a success story, but a misgiving into understanding how the biggest game on earth is run has been his and Ehab’s downfall to the point of engaging bloody mindedness and stubbornness into their decisions.

Egyptians are known for their business prowess, hard negotiators, proud and dedication to family but in this case a good dollop of humility, an open ear and a willing to accept fan’s group opinions as sensible and viable, have cost us all in the long run.

For a father and son that should have had a statue of them outside the KCOM it’s a crying shame that after just a short seven years both parties by and large are crying out loud for a divorce and can’t wait to see the back of each other.

Mark Walmsley

hull city memberships

hull city fans forum


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