The KCOM seems to have been a part of our lives for some time. Opened in 2002, it was the beginning of a new chapter for Hull FC. Leaving behind a wealth of memories at the Boulevard, it seemed like a great opportunity to build up a similar atmosphere. That said, despite periods of success on the pitch, it remains to be seen whether the KCOM has truly captured the hearts of the fans. I remember having a look around at the KC Stadium (as most will probably still know it) and I was impressed at the step-up in facilities as well its aesthetic quality. Nonethless, I also had the privilege of going to the Boulevard on a regular basis as a youngster and there was no atmosphere like it. Perhaps its my memory but watching youngsters develop such as Horney, Cooke, King & Co. on a chilly Sunday afternoon were a great Rugby League apprenticeship. The Threepenny Stand’s reputation presided itself and I only wish I had a Tardis sometimes to watch some of Hull’s great teams of yesteryear at our spiritual home. Consigned to the archives now, we’ve been settled at the KCOM for some time. The feeling still wrangles with me that we’ve yet to seize on capturing a great match-day vibe. Perhaps I’m stumbling on another argument regarding the often sterile environment all-seater stadiums bring but are there any incentives we could suggest that might take our support to the next level?
Under 23 Involvement: It seems a simple phrase but some of today’s youth will be tomorrow’s stars, why not showcase this wealth of wonderful talent FC has within its ranks? It’s great to see the Under 23 system in action but various postponements, shifting of fixtures and general poor scheduling have seen it falter. Why not schedule Under 23 & academy games prior to first-team fixtures if possible? In doing so you’re offering the opportunity to fans to watch two games, getting numbers through the turnstiles and gradually building a match-day atmosphere for youngsters to play in front of? Logistics may prove an issue but keeping our teams under one roof makes the experience more accessible for all.
Sunday Games: I’m a purist in this sense, Sundays were a traditional day for kick offs. Naturally Sky Sports have had their input as Friday games have gradually become the norm but do the majority matches have to fall on Thursdays and Fridays? I’d suggest not. Commuting straight after work for a long-distance fixture is an obvious issue for most. While Friday nights generate good viewing figures, they simultaneously reduce gate-figures for clubs too. The thought of revolving my Sunday around a game seems more appealing. A traditionally quieter day for most, fans are able to arrive at their own time, perhaps grab a drink at the pub etc. You can see with just a quick demonstration how a good atmosphere can be built. What’s to say Sunday games couldn’t be aired by Sky too?
Season-pass incentives: We’ve seen the club successfully incorporate the: ‘Friend for a Fiver’ scheme as well as others; strike while the iron’s hot and get more people involved. Potential new Black & Whites are more likely to come and see a successful club and FC are a team on the up right now. We talk about the 18th man on a regular basis in our game, it might feel like a bit of a cliche but in those fixtures with smaller attendances, good support is vital. The KCOM is a big stadium to fill and those moments when a hush falls over the pitch can be the toughest for players to find some inspiration. Initially allowing a friend to come in for free (for instance) would help generate a more intimate atmosphere, whilst from a business perspective, opening the door to new pass-holders for the future.
Adam Pearson’s impact: This man could make a huge difference if he makes progress with our footballing counterparts. Pearson has been linked with a takeover of Hull City in recent weeks and if that happens then it can only mean good things for FC. No disrespect to the Allam regime but it’s blindingly obvious that they treat Hull as tenants and nothing more. Several examples of ill-thought decisions have left some fans wondering how long before FC may have to find their own home. Thankfully if Pearson is able to assume control of both teams, you would no doubt see a more streamlined, family-friendly approach. This would no doubt offer exciting opportunities for the club.