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Hull fans pledge to fight name change from City to Tigers

LONDON (Reuters) - Angry Hull City fans are hoping the Football Association will block any attempt by chairman Assem Allam to change the name of the 109-year-old club to Hull Tigers.

The 74-year-old Egypt-born businessman, who arrived in Hull as a 29-year-old student in 1968, changed the name of the club's holding company from Hull City Association Football Club to Hull City Tigers in August.

Now in a move, deeply unpopular with fans, Allam, who rescued the club from the brink of bankruptcy and has invested around 35.0 million pounds ($55.90 million) in it, wants to change the name of the Premier League club itself.

However, Hull fans' group City Til We Die hope that could lead to an intervention by the FA who have to approve any name change.

A statement on its website (www.ambernectar.org) reads: "Our group has already had extensive contact with key figures at the FA, and we anticipate they will take a dim view... of this announcement.

"We remain puzzled that Dr Allam cannot distinguish between the name of his holding company and the football name of the club he owns.

"Until he registers a new name with the Football Association, the club remains Hull City AFC. His belief that we are already called Hull City Tigers, a name ripe for shortening, is therefore spectacularly ill-judged and erroneous.

"Let us be clear - Dr Allam cannot change the football name of the club without approval of the FA, who in turn require consultation with fans."

Allam said on the club website (www.hullcityafc.net) he has to find other revenue streams for the club, whose colors are amber and black, as the KC Stadium is owned by the council.

He believes a 'Tigers' brand would have more of a "global marketing impact" having previously said he considered the word 'City' to be "lousy" and "common".

The situation has echoes of the unpopular changes at Cardiff City where Malayasian owner Vincent Tan changed the club's shirt color from blue to red last year believing it would expand "the club's appeal in international markets."

The change has not been welcomed by the fans, most of whom still wear blue replica shirts at their matches.

($1 = 0.6261 British pounds)

(Reporting by Mike Collett, editing by Justin Palmer)

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