English football appeared to lose another chunk of its soul this week as the Hull City chairman confirmed that he plans to change the club’s name.
Assem Allam has already dropped the letters AFC from the club’s title and registered the company as Hull City Tigers, ending 109 years of history.
Now Mr Allam says he wants to drop the word “City” and promote the club as the punchier-sounding “Hull Tigers”, despite vocal opposition from some fans.
“Nobody in the world will decide for me how I run my companies,” he said in a bullish radio interview, “certainly not a few hundred people.”
He may have a point.
Nowadays it is often hard to tell if a pressure group really speaks for all fans or is simply a well-organised and media-savvy minority.
For all we know, some Hull fans may be looking forward to the re-brand. Yes, they may be newer to football than the old-school diehards. But is Hull City not their team, too?
Other Hull fans may be undecided on this complex issue. Are they “City Til I Die”, or could they fancy themselves as a “Tiger”? As always, there is only one sensible way to discover the truth: a multiple choice quiz.
You chose to come to a Hull City Tigers match because:
A. It is a great way to regularly watch the team I supported not just as a boy but as a teenager, a student, a young graduate and the man I am today. Specifically: Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, and now Arsenal again.
B. You don’t choose Hull. Hull chooses you. Also, the rugby league season is over so I was at a loose end.
C. Hello? Do I look like I choose to go anywhere? This cage is not a fashion accessory.
It is match day and the weather is freezing. What do you wear?
A. Nothing fancy. Just a Merino wool base, a couple of insulating layers in synthetic fleece, a goose-down gilet, a Gore-Tex storm shell and a fur hat.
B. What do you mean by freezing? If you’re talking zero Celsius I’ll turn the collar up on my Hull shirt. If it’s absolute zero, I might smear my torso with chip fat.
C. I remain as naked as the day I was born.
Look at your right hand and tell me what you see.
A. A giant foam novelty hand with one finger extended, ready to point with derision at any offensive player who gets blocked in the end zone.
B. Anchors and mermaids. The telltale tattoos of a man who has spent his life at sea. Which is odd because I work in a call centre just outside Beverley.
Have you ever made a Mexican wave?
A. Yes, but only during the boring parts of the match. You know, those two 45-minute chunks in between the fireworks and cheerleaders.
B. No. And I never would.
C. No, but I once made a Bangladeshi chap run the 100m in less than 10 seconds.
When did you last eat prawns?
A. During our 0-1 defeat against Tottenham. I remember it well because it was a woeful performance by the team: dry bread, too much mayo and a wilting salad. You really do expect better at home.
B. Same as every other year: Christmas.
C. The same day I made that Bangladeshi chap run the 100m. He must have had them for lunch.
Who do you consider to be your fiercest rivals?
A. Any other club who wants to keep any of my teams out of the top four.
B. Leeds United, but we don’t see too much of them nowadays.
C. Commercial hunters, novelty rug manufacturers, Rudyard Kipling.
What do you think of singing areas?
A. Marvellous. They create a great atmosphere but I can still take a work call on my Blackberry.
B. Ridiculous. The whole ground should be a singing area.
C. I prefer to go for the throat area.
Repeat after me: Go Tigers!
A. Go Tigers!
B. Ger Tigers? Er ner!
C. Grrr, Tigers!
Do you know your species?
A. Homo sapiens. Not to brag, but it means “wise man”.
B. Pence and pounds, mate.
C. Panthera tigris. Confusing, eh?
Mostly As: You are an arriviste football fan and therefore not the slightest bit bothered about tradition. You don’t mind what the team is called as long as the seats are comfy, the meat pies are responsibly sourced and you get to watch some proper teams, occasionally.
Mostly Bs: You are a traditional football fan, not some Johnny Come Lately glory hunter. You are City Til You Die, which means you have actually been calling yourself a “tiger” for years, in terrace chants. You just don’t like it when a foreigner tells you to do it.
Mostly Cs: Congratulations! You are an actual tiger, and probably the only one to emerge from this debate with any sort of dignity.