Hull '17: UK City Of Conflict & Missed Opportunity
A great home win for Marco Silva in a crucial relegation battle, but thousands of absent Hull City fans are like caged tigers, waiting for the day when they are set free.
Regardless of results on the pitch, the subdued atmosphere and disappointing attendance at the crucial home game against Swansea City simply confirmed what we know already. The matchday experience at the KCOM is not what it was, largely a reflection of the widening gulf between Club and fans following the series of bizarre and insensitive decisions from our owners, most notably the hastily imposed 'membership scheme'.
20 minutes before kick off and national radio station TalkSPORT report a slow trickle of fans into the stadium. It's a quiet and tense atmosphere and this isn't just about the team's precarious position in the bottom three. Not only has the dubious 'membership scheme' led to further pricing out and absenteeism it's also hard to see it has any business focus, so inevitably it will always be perceived as a tool of revenge from the Allams following their FA name change snub. Many older fans are staying away and the opportunity to entice youngsters to be football fans and 'piggyback' our time in the Premier League is hampered by the impact of the scheme.
I'm afraid whatever fans' views on the Allams the KCOM is likely to be in poor shape until they depart. We desperately need a total overhaul of all aspects of the Club's marketing and PR. It needs to be re-energised with proper dialogue between Club and supporters, and a clear vision for the future, with owners, fans, manager and players alike all pulling in the same direction for the long term good of the Club. Sadly at the moment, this seems further away than ever as each day passes. All this at a time when ironically we have seen the emergence of the modern, forward thinking Hull City Supporters Trust (HCST) who have been poised to work with the Club throughout this deadlock, but their continuing overtures to move on and work with the Club are greeted with silence and a brick wall.
Our time in the top tier should be one where we celebrate, to expand and enthuse the core fanbase. We are missing a massive opportunity and as we progress through our special year as UK City of Culture our football club is flying in the face of all this represents and undermining it's influence, alienating it's local community rather than binding the two together as one.
I suspect years from now people will ask how the hell was it allowed to happen?
On the pitch Marco Silva is inspiring us to do well and has provided some memorable home wins to give hope of top tier survival. He shows top quality as a Premier League manager. He deserves better from the owners as he has achieved a lot within a further season of fan discontent and bubbling anger. He could have achieved even more with peace and stability behind the scenes. Hull is in danger of being crowned UK City of conflict and missed opportunity.
With our current owners so inflexible there's no clear solution so inevitably thousands of Hull City fans are just waiting patiently for their departure, even if it means not watching great wins like yesterday from afar. The caged Tigers will one day return, they are desperate to be released
Peter Johnson (Tigerlink) also blogs on www.tigerlink.co.uk.