Hull FC can display Johnny Whiteley pictures at KC Stadium 'for less than £500 a season'
HULL FC would need to pay less than £500 a season to have legend Johnny Whiteley’s pictures back on display at the KC Stadium, sources have claimed.
And the Mail understands the Black and Whites have the option of decking out the entire inside of the KC Stadium in the colours on matchdays, replacing all Hull City images on a rotation system.
Fans have been angered after The Johnny Whiteley Suite was stripped of memorabilia showing the icon and other key chapters of the club’s history.
Ehab Allam, who, with his father, Assem, owns the Stadium Management Company (SMC) and Hull City – joint tenants of the stadium – has claimed the Super League club has chosen not to pay to display its memorabilia.
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A source close to the dispute has now revealed further details of the deal over picture displaying at the KC. They say Hull FC have the option of displaying as few or as many pictures as they want on their own matchday. Individual pictures would cost just a few hundred pounds a season.
It is thought to display the amount of pictures previously used, it would cost the club around £20,000.
The source told the Mail: “Hull FC have been offered the opportunity to have their own club branding throughout the KC on match days but as yet have not taken up any offer.
“The cost could be minimal depending on what was requested. But it is still down to FC to fund that branding.”
As previously reported by the Mail this week, photographs of FC legend Mr Whiteley MBE have been taken down and replaced with images of Hull City’s finest moments.
Mr Whiteley, who made 418 appearances for the Black and Whites, visited the suite named after him last Thursday to find photographs had been replaced with images showing the Tigers hero Dean Windass.
According to the same source, photographs relating to the two clubs could be rotated for match days and other important occasions.
The source said the Allam family, through the SMC, had been forced to invest “significant” sums of money in maintaining the KC Stadium since taking over Hull City and were trying to recoup some of that cash.
“There has to be a commercial reality about this,” said the insider.
“This is a business that benefits all involved when it is operating properly and effectively.”
Hull City Council own the stadium, although SMC – under the terms of its lease – is responsible for its day-to-day running.
In statement issued on Monday afternoon, council leader Councillor Steve Brady appealed to the Allams to respect Mr Whiteley, one of the city’s best-loved sporting heroes.
Pete Allen, chairman of fans group Hull FC Voices, said supporters were eagerly awaiting a response from their club.
He said: “Fans have been up in arms over this.
“It upset a lot of people to read in the Mail how Gentleman Johnny had turned up at his suite to find photos of him had been taken down. We felt for him.”
Mr Allen said FC fans were keen not to become embroiled in a dispute with Hull City supporters.
“This has set City supporters against FC supporters,” he said. “This serves no purpose.
“Hull FC fans have never had any ambition to have sole ownership of the KC Stadium. It is a shared venue.”
Hull FC owner Adam Pearson was unavailable for comment last night.
• This story has been amended to make it clear that the £500 figure relates to displaying Johnny Whiteley's image alone, not the entire collection of memorabilia. We apologise for any confusion caused.