It was a victory for the ordinary Hull City fan. The idea of owner Assem Allam to change the name of a football club that has been established for 110 years was in effect dismissed by the FA as its membership committee recently advised the FA to reject the application to rename Hull City to Hull Tigers. Initially, this might seem fairly small time, after all, the basic story here is that the Hull City chairman has been thwarted in his attempts to change the club’s name.
However, there is something significant about this victory. It is an example of how the fans have stopped their chairman from interfering with the identity of their club. It is an example of how an interfering chairman has been stopped in his tracks. This type of chairman, someone who comes in and looks to majorly change an aspect of a club that is steeped in history without any prior knowledge of the footballing world or the club he owns, is a chairman that is not welcome in the game.
Vincent Tan is the perfect example of this type of interfering chairman and in my opinion he is no good for Cardiff City. Despite the obvious financial benefits he gives to the club, on the surface, he appears to be a chairman desperate to make Cardiff City ‘his’ club. This is wrong, at the heart of the matter Cardiff City belongs to the fans, not to the bloke who strolled into the boardroom waving a big wad of cash about. Now I’m not suggesting that the fans should run the club, I personally think that would spell disaster. However, the history, the traditions and the identity of football clubs are things that mean something to the fans and should therefore be left alone.
Tan has already made some controversial changes, notably, the change from the colour of the home kit from blue to red and the change of the club’s badge from the Bluebird to the dragon. Furthermore, Tan’s desire to increase his hold over the club extended to making a very controversial decision to sack Malky Mackay, a manager who had put everything into improving Cardiff City and in my opinion he looked able to save them from the drop. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have looked like a good replacement, but the fact is Cardiff City now have to entertain the real possibility of relegation from the Premier League.
Now whilst Tan and Allam have both ploughed funds into their respective clubs, their influence on their respective clubs’ traditions is unwanted. Furthermore, with the case of Cardiff City and Tan, poor footballing decisions seem to have hurt the club. It is this interference, the interference in the traditions of the football club and the interference in footballing decisions that makes these chairmen a hindrance.
The way in which chairmen can help their club is by avoiding any major footballing decisions, especially if (like many chairmen these days) they have no prior experience or knowledge of the footballing world. The way in which a chairman can help his club the most is through balancing the books, generating sponsorship deals and providing money for investing in players, the facilities and the stadium.
I would argue that if a chairman wants his club to be success then he should leave the traditions and the identity of his club alone, he should let the manager make the footballing decisions in terms of signings, tactics and backroom staff. In fact a chairman’s only real footballing decision should be whether or not to sack a manager and this should be a carefully considered one, not a knee jerk reaction like Tan’s dismissal of Mackay.
So if your club has this type of chairman, take my advice, cause a stir, generate a backlash to his decisions and make sure that the decisions he makes are in line with what the club needs. Let’s leave the football to the men who know most about the game, the managers, not the men that are the richest in the game.