Clint Hughes/Getty Images
Multi-millionaire Assem Allam has been so generous with his dosh in his adopted city of Hull you’d think he’d almost be revered as a god.
The industrialist stepped in to save in 2010 as it teetered days away from administration after a reckless, failed attempt to stay in the Premier League, clearing debts of over £30m to keep East Yorkshire’s finest (and only) professional club in business.
Last year he pulled off an unexpected stroke of genius, handing Steve Bruce a chance to prove his many, mainly Sunderland-based critics wrong – and a decent enough transfer budget to lead a glorious charge back to the Premier League.
And yet – as supporters should be wearing patronising fezzes in tribute to the Egyptian-born philanthropist who’s delivered only our second spell of top-flight football in 109 years – the talk is of demonstrations and boycotts.
The reason? After weeks of denial that the owners were planning to tinker with the club’s name – despite several signs and badges being amended – .
The plan – to change to ‘Hull City Tigers’ now, though his son and vice-chairman Ehab admits he’d prefer just ‘Hull Tigers’ – is to create a ‘strong international brand’.
Football fans around the world will instantly drop Barcelona, Arsenal or Chelsea for the Hull City Tigers because, hey, who doesn’t like big cats?
How to make any money from this flawless logic is not explained – and something even Manchester United have failed to crack given the spread of counterfeit shirts.
The rest of the footballing world has been united in gleeful ridicule at the latest case of owners getting giddy – see also the Bluebirds of Cardiff City now dyed red.
In Hull, opinion is split – mainly on whether boycotts of games or protests at them will be more effective. Sales of bed sheets and paint are going through the roof.
A tiny proportion – around 5% if online fan polls are to be believed – are in favour of the name change, though no doubt the anger of many others will subside when the season begins and Sone Aluko and Robbie Brady tear Premier League defences to shreds.
However, a handful of fans are insistent they’re simply walking away from modern football altogether – that £50 seats in soulless stadiums supporting a renamed club that sounds like they’re playing American Football is not for them.
It is Mr Allam’s club, he can and will do what he likes, and it’s hard to paint him as an ogre given the fortune he’s lavished on the club – and rugby league side Hull Kingston Rovers and the University of Hull are greatly in his debt too.
But he doesn’t understand the things I care about when it comes to a football club – summed up to perfection by the late Sir Bobby Robson: "What is a club in any case?
"Not the buildings or the directors or the people who are paid to represent it.
"It’s not the television contracts, get-out clauses, marketing departments or executive boxes.
"It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city.
"It’s a small boy clambering up stadium steps for the very first time, gripping his father’s hand, gawping at that hallowed stretch of turf beneath him and, without being able to do a thing about it, falling in love."
And now we’re not even the only football team whose name has no letters you can colour in.
• Paul Cockerton has been a Hull City supporter since the age of three and was one of 38 City fans to travel to Dynamo Dresden to watch a hastily-arranged friendly last week.