Acun Ilicali took control of Hull City in 2022 and has set about trying to build the Tigers up and gradually progress towards the Premier League. The Turkish businessman is alive to opportunities to invest in other clubs too and has been linked with Greek giants Panathinaikos. We went to speak to Ilicali about that link, his plans for Hull and investing in a Slovenian side.



On the rumoured interest in taking over Panathinaikos….


Acun Ilicali (AC): I don’t need to be Yannis Alafouzοs’ partner at Panathinaikos because my heart is with him.


We have been close friends for about six years and his presence is a good opportunity for Greek football, since he always approaches life in a positive way. He is a gentleman we need in world football.


We need people like him. Being a partner, or not, I don’t think is a problem, because of Mr. Alafouzos, I am Panathinaikos and I support the club. So for the last six years that we have been working together and I have been watching Panathinaikos, I declare myself as a fan of the club.



His intention to acquire a Slovenian club…


AC: For us, Slovenia, I won’t say is a better choice than Greece, but it is a good move. Basically we want to have a team which can take part in a European competition.


Of course this is not easy, but in Slovenia if we have a strong team we can compete in Europe. This will be a great advantage.



We are focused on Slovenia, but I can’t guarantee anything.




His ultimate goal with Hull City…


AC: At the moment I don’t set a goal, because many times this doesn’t lead to the right path. Goals can lead to wrong decisions.



Instead of setting goals, I prefer to say, I wish. I wish, for example, to represent England with Hull City AFC in the Premier League, to compete in a European competition, possibly with a Slovenian team.


These are the things I want to achieve, but I avoid setting goals. See what happens every year.




We have 24 teams in the Championship. In our first year we finished 16th and now we are 7th.


What I want in all areas in life is improvement. Improvement will lead you to success, but you have to wait, be patient and let God give you what you deserve.


Nothing happens too quickly and even if it does it might not be for the best. It needs patience.