As an outsider looking in, having a multi-millionaire chairman who has a passion for the area that ‘adopted’ him and who helped get the team to an FA Cup final and delivered Premier League football seems a perfect fit for a football club and its fans.
Yet for fans of Hull City, the departure of Steve Bruce is the latest in a long line of incidents at their beloved football club the blame for which some fans lay directly at the feet of owner Assem Allam and his family.
Initial speculation was that Bruce was heading up the A19 to retake control at the Stadium of Light following the departure of Sunderland’s Sam Allardyce – the man who beat him to the England job. The subsequent appointment of David Moyes put paid to that idea.
So why exactly did Bruce leave the team he guided back into the Premier League less than a month before the start of the 2016/17 season?
A reported breakdown in the relationship between the former Manchester United captain and vice-chairman Ehab Allam is one rumoured part of the puzzle. But whilst another promoted club Middlesbrough have been the busiest Premier League club to date during the transfer window, the Tigers are yet to make a summer signing.
The club remains up for sale but recently talks to formalise a takeover have been put on hold by the Allams, strangely, until September. Assem Allam himself has previously said that he will pull out of the club unless he can change the name to Hull Tigers, a plan that has divided the fanbase. His comment regarding what those who support the ‘City Til I Die’ can do did nothing to repair the broken relationship.
Some fans have not seen a match in over two years stating that they will never cross the threshhold of the KC Stadium again until Allam leaves the club for good. And they are passionate about that.
Allam is first and foremost a businessman. He sees a deal; he makes it. He sees the opportunity to make some money; he takes it. There is an undertone on the Humber that may end very well or very badly for Hull City depending on the outcome or the point of view of the fan.
The Premier League means one thing – money. So far this summer, Allam has not allowed Bruce to spend any. Having put takeover talks on hold, a speculator could think that Allam has a plan.
A year in the Premier League is worth in excess of £100m to the club. Accounts vary as to how much Allam is ‘into the club’ for in terms of monetary investment and or loans. He has tried and failed on two occasions to change the name against the wishes of a large number of fans who were there before he came in and will be there after he leaves. He has clearly stated an intention to dispose of the club no matter what that means, including simply letting it go the wall.
If Hull City survive in the Premier League without spending an awful lot (or anything at all), Allam could have his money back and an attractive investment to a potential buyer.
If they go down, Allam could have his money back and then let the club go for a song irrespective of what that means to the Tigers.
A chairman who tells fans who disagree with him that they ‘can die as soon as they like’ is capable of anything.
This is, of course, pure speculation and simply a thought process followed to its ultimate conclusion. There is no proof nor rumour that this has even been considered by the owners. But if the writer is capable of this thought process, then who knows who else is, including the Allams?
Assem Allam is a divisive figure in Hull; very much a Marmite man. It is still in his hands as to whether the club becomes flavour of the month or comes to a sticky end. And possibly that more than anything else meant that Steve Bruce saw the writing on the wall and decided that enough was enough.
The truth will come out someday… possibly.
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