Hull City have an excellent track record in defending fans’ rights over the years. While there’s been controversy this season due to the attempted name change - which was opposed by the FSF and rejected by the FA - we hope the club and its fans can put that behind them and work together again.
The Tigers supported the FSF’s Safe Standing Campaign as far back as February 2012. Players had also shown their solidarity with supporters by donning Watching Football Is Not A Crime! t-shirts following fan protests against a “bubble” match at Huddersfield Town last season.
The latest example to hit the FSF’s inbox came from Newcastle United fan Phil Newton, who was ejected from the KC Stadium during his team’s game on Saturday 1st March. A Hull City steward said Phil had stood persistently through the opening 10 minutes of the game.
Phil, who lives locally, admitted standing at the back of stand but claimed he wasn’t blocking anyone’s view and was ejected before he’d even been asked to sit. It’s quite a common occurrence and doesn’t usually have a satisfactory outcome for the fan.
From this point clubs often just disregard the complaint or argue that, since the fan was standing, he (or she) had breached ticketing T&Cs anyway. From there a fan has to complain to the league and Independent Football Ombudsman. Most can’t be bothered and put it down to experience.
So imagine our surprise when Hull City Safety Officer John Rose contacted Phil to offer “sincere apologies in the way and manner that you were treated on the day”. Phil was also offered a free ticket for a future fixture at the KC.
Mr Rose said: “I have come to the conclusion that there were insufficient grounds for your ejection. I’ve found that certain questions were not asked, procedures were not followed correctly and the decision made by the supervisor at the time was wrong.”
This might seem small beer to many but believe us, getting an apology and some financial compensation (in the form of free tickets) from a football club is pretty damn unusual.
Let’s hope more clubs take note, sorry doesn’t have to be the hardest word…