It’s all about the money, money, money !

I know, terrible title. I can only apologise for inflicting Jessie J’s lyrics on you on a Sunday afternoon. Only its the afternoon after the “Worlds richest football game” – an absurd title from the masters of hype at Sky Sports – and the feel good factor in and around Hull has been restored, after months, if not years of being down-trodden by the owners of Hull City AFC.  Yesterdays Play Off Final win over Sheffield Wednesday, courtesy of a superb finish from Mo Diame, saw the Tigers promoted back into the Premier League, a place where even the most optimistic City fan couldn’t deny they needed to be in, certainly from a financial point of view. Less than 24 hours after the Wembley win, a story broke on local radio that a consortium from America, allegedly headed by former owner Adam Pearson, was keen to push through a deal to buy City from the current owners, the Allam’s. I won’t bore you all with the Allam’s crime sheet – it’s a list the length of my arm – but the empty seats at Wembley on Saturday are indication of the levels of dislike that exists between the fans and owners. It remains to be seen if this carries on into next season, both the owners disdain to the fans, and the fans insistence on staying away whilst the Allam’s are in charge. Obviously if the rumours of a takeover are true, then perhaps now is the best time for all parties to get what they want from the situation. Certainly City’s value will now be sky-high ( pardon the pun ) on the back of the guaranteed TV money for next season. It’s a huge incentive to any new owners, but I can only imagine that from a selling point of view, the club is far more attractive now than it would be for another year in the money abyss of the Championship. For those stay-away fans, mostly the hardcore from years back when City were in the doldrums compared to today, the thought of seeing their team next season under new ownership, is better than the other alternative, walking away and refusing to be part of the Membership scheme the Allam’s are looking to implement. It will remain to be seen if anything comes of the latest rumours, the club is up for sale, but even those waters were muddied by a comment from Ehab Allam – son of Owner Assem, and the man in charge of day to day running – quoting on Sky Sports that the family still need time to decide “Whether they are still motivated to sell the club”. Now if that’s not sales talk to drag another few million out of any potential buyers then I don’t know what is. More worryingly for City fans, perhaps the current owners genuinely think they are doing the right thing, on and off the pitch, and now is the time NOT to sell, in view of the money and prestige to come in the next 12 months. Premier League football is a massive carrot to dangle in front of any future City fans, as happened last time in 2009, when 10,000 new fans jumped onboard. It wouldn’t take much of a “sell” from the owners to attract more “new” spectators this time round.

Any knock on effect from all this may well be felt a few miles down the road at North Ferriby United. Most City fans “2nd team”, Ferriby have recently been promoted to the National League ( formerly the Conference ) the highest level in the clubs history. Many close links exist between City and Ferriby, not least in the boardroom, as Steve and Eman Forster – Son in law & daughter of Tigers owner Assem Allam – are the current owners of The Villagers. Since the clubs promotion, much has been made of the owners desire to sell, and their ability to fund the team should they still be in charge come August. A recent email from the club painted a gloomy picture, at a time when the fans were still celebrating the Play Off victory. It’s almost history repeating itself, as last seasons FA Trophy victory was quickly followed by news that the owners were looking to sell. Fast forward 12 months, and things are no clearer at the countries highest placed village football club. A minimum capacity of 4000 is required for the National League, and at present Church Road holds around 2300. Quite where the other 1700 spaces are coming from is uncertain on two fronts. The ground is built on and surrounded by a lot of protected land, and would therefore require dialogue with the local council and residents. Secondly, and probably more importantly, do the current owners have the desire or indeed the financial flexibility to build up the ground to the required standard ? Certainly that wouldn’t be the actions of anyone looking to sell the club, never mind invest in its infrastructure. So as much as uncertainty grips their professional neighbours down the road, so it does at Ferriby too. Their ability to survive in the National League or be demoted back to the National North, this could well be the deciding factor, above all else.

Now let me paint you a scenario. It’s one I touted on Twitter site @VFTAE, a new North Ferriby United fanzine launching for the start of the 16/17 season. It was shouted down by a few of it’s followers, probably rightly so, but stranger things have happened ! I’m a lover of conspiracy theories, so let me run you through mine. The Allam’s sell up at Hull City, and more than likely make a tidy profit into the bargain. Never ones to not be involved with something on the sport front, they then take that money and invest it in Ferriby – a club remember in the 5th tier of English football – building a purpose built 4/5000 capacity stadium out at Welton ( a site the Allam’s long considered for a new ground, during their run ins with Hull City Council over the ownership of the KC Stadium ). This includes scaled down versions of their original plans, perhaps a casino or sports facility, hotel etc. This would enable the football club ( Ferriby ) to become self funding, with little investment from the owners, other than the initial cost of the build, which would be a fraction of what they were prepared to spend on renovating the KC. The cost of running a club at this level would be a fraction of the cost of running a club in the Premier League, something that would certainly appeal to the Allam’s and the Forster’s , should they stay involved with Ferriby in some capacity, and would also guarantee the required ground grading to meet FA requirements, for any future participation at this level.

I started with a music lyric, so let me end with one. To quote John Lennon…” You may say I’m a dreamer “……….



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s