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Brown's bridge too far

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Phil McNulty | 12:45 UK time, Monday, 15 March 2010

Phil Brown survived publicly murdering the The Beach Boys classic "Sloop John B" at the KC Stadium - but upsetting the Women's Institute as they marched across the Humber was a bridge too far.

Tony Blair counted the cost of crossing the WI during his time as Prime Minister. So what chance did Brown have after being forced to apologise to this revered organisation when a rally was interrupted by fisticuffs between those two unlikely pugilists, Jimmy Bullard and Nick Barmby?

This, followed by an unfortunate defeat against Arsenal on Saturday, provided an almost surreal conclusion to the eventful, but not exactly unsuccessful, reign of Brown at Hull City.

Brown came through the trauma created by his crooning at the end of last season, but was on borrowed time once former chairman and great ally Paul Duffen departed, to be replaced by Adam Pearson.

Pearson was always going to be a more pragmatic operator and it was no coincidence that Brown's previously high, some critics said too high, profile was drastically reduced following his return to the club. At least it was until he was forced to return to the harsh spotlight with his embarrassing apology for his players last Friday.

Hull's run-in offers hope of survival, and with Pearson recently stating that staying up could be worth around £100m, it is clear to see the logic in acting now to provide fresh impetus as Brown struggled to galvanise his squad, let alone keep them apart during their warmdown.

It brings the curtain down on Brown's turbulent time at Hull - and when examined in isolation, a manager who became a derided figure in many quarters has plenty to be proud of as he takes his "gardening leave".

Brown took Hull City into the top tier of English football for the first time in 104 years then kept them there. And even as he departs, they still have a chance of staying in the Premier League for the second successive season.

Hull are, however, deep in a relegation battle and grasping to find the wins they require. Pearson has felt the need to act before it is too late and Brown has paid the price.

Phil Brown Brown took charge of Hull in December 2006 - Pic: PA

He has not had a great deal of help from Lady Luck latterly, especially with the knee injuries suffered by key signing and midfield inspiration Bullard. This judgement must be shaped, however, by the fact that the player had endured serious fitness problems even before Brown did the deal.

But performances such as those in defeat at Everton, coupled with the training bust-up Brown optimistically passed off as a sign of the spirit inside his squad, were obvious indicators all was not well and left him vulnerable to the decision Pearson took on Monday morning.

Brown has been unable to build on survival last season, failing to entice targets such as Michael Owen in the summer and losing influential defender Michael Turner to Sunderland.

If Hull's fans had been promised survival at the start of last season, Brown would have been afforded hero status. If he was guilty of anything it was by elevating expectations to ludicrous levels with a start to the season that saw Hull win at Spurs and Arsenal and draw at Liverpool.

There were, it must be said, signs that Brown and chairman Duffen had - to put it politely - got carried away with those early successes.

The eventual decline, and some of Brown's management techniques during it, was spectacular and too often played out in public view, not least when Hull were thrashed at Manchester City on Boxing Day 2008.

No matter how much Brown will argue against it, the rot set in on the turf at Eastlands with Hull 4-0 down at half-time. No-one enjoys public humiliation, but this is what Brown effectively chose to inflict on Hull's players by dragging them across to a corner populated by their own supporters, waving briefly before delivering a grandstanding, and very public, dressing down.

Brown insists it had no serious impact on team morale, but a dismal sequence of results since that ill-advised act suggests otherwise. If it was a move designed to inspire, it backfired.

It carried all the appearance of a show put on for the benefit of Brown and Hull's fans, with a group of players who had performed magnificently at Liverpool to get a draw only a fortnight earlier acting as the fall guys. They deserved better.

Brown's extrovert personality also appeared to provoke and antagonise opposition fans rather than inspire the affection Hull's passionate and vociferous following deserved. What was initially viewed as endearing eccentricity eventually came to be regarded as an ego out of control.

In Brown's defence, whenever I encountered him at press conferences he was entertaining, engaging, honest to a fault and never dodged a question - and yet he has caused many to revel in his downfall.

Instead of laughter at his singing or his stated intention of jumping on his Harley-Davidson, tie on a bandana and celebrate his 50th birthday by doing an "Easy Rider" down to the south of France, he became a figure of derision.

This should not have mattered one jot because football's history is littered with maverick and outspoken personalities, but once Hull's form went into meltdown the fact that Brown had pushed himself unashamedly to the forefront made him first in the firing line.

I well recall Hull's game at Chelsea on the opening day of the season, when his trademark headset made him a target for the home supporters, one of whom constantly bellowed a series of imaginary orders while claiming Brown was actually a call centre manager who had wandered into Stamford Bridge in error.

Brown took that on the chin, and there has been a tactical withdrawal from the limelight in recent months.

It was an uncomfortable, embarrassing moment though when a Premier League manager was forced to offer heartfelt apologies to the Women's Institute - he must have felt the credits were rolling on his Hull career as the words passed his lips.

He should go with the best wishes of Hull fans. Brown, whatever his critics might say, has given them some of the times of their lives in the last two seasons.

Brown will be bitterly upset that he has been ousted, but if he wants to call on his experiences to see him through this tough time, he will no doubt remember that his finest hours at Hull came after a brief spell at Derby ended in the sack.

He will no doubt return a wiser - and undoubtedly more low-key - figure when he takes up his next post.

And the fact the he was the man who took Hull to the promised land of the Premier League will not look that shabby on his C.V.

You can follow me throughout this season at and join me on Facebook.


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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    The timing is odd but maybe the reality is that Hull just aren't good enough for the top flight.

    Maybe another manager could keep them there (using the Allardyce method perhaps) but I think they have been perhaps punching above their weight.

    The record shows that they have one less than 10 games since Christmas 2008 so any hype about their prospects was attached to them overperforming as a group in the first part of the 2008/09 season. The rest just seems to represent a nice gentle fall back to reality.

  • Comment number 3.

    As a supporter of a small team in the Premiership I was always keen to see the likes of Hull do well. However once my team, Portsmouth, was hung out to dry by over-ambitious under-funding owners and Phil Brown and Brian Laws couldn't wait to put the boot in, it at least gave me two other teams whose relegation I could have a sense of contented schadenfreude about. What am I going to do now?

  • Comment number 4.

    Seems a bit daft getting rid of Brown at this stage of the season.

    Makes you wonder if the Bullard/Barmby row was either worse than reported; or was the catalyst for him getting a P45?

    Good luck to Hull in the relegation fight; I for one hope they stay up.

  • Comment number 5.

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  • Comment number 6.

    Another stupid decision to grace the land of football. This has the whiff of Newcastle about it.

    'There's a handful of games left, oh noes, we're in trouble, let's remedy that by ripping apart the dressing room by ousting the gaffer and somehow expecting a new face to come in and gel with the players in a ridiculously short time in a desperate hope to stay up.'

    And the board, like Newcastle's will be duly rewarded when they go traipsing to Watford, QPR et al in the Championship next year.

  • Comment number 7.

    how saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad...the premier league will miss him like a hole in the head - good riddens hachit man!!!!

  • Comment number 8.

    Where were Hull before Brown? Another victim of a bored media inventing stories to protect their own jobs.

  • Comment number 9.

    Understandable decision, but Brown should leave Hull with his head held high. Not only did he take them into the Premiership (a feat which had an entire (predominantly rugby league) city buzzing), but he took over as manager with City in the relegation places in the Championship.
    Say what you like about the man's personality or the Boxing Day half time team talk (the relevance of which i still think is overstated by the media), Brown's achievements speak for themselves. Well done and good luck to him.

  • Comment number 10.

    He was unlucky to lose to a very average arsenal team.

  • Comment number 11.

    Disgusting treatment of a manager who wore his heart on his sleave and has worked wonders on a miniscule budget.

    I agree with Phil in that his downfall has been created by his incredible start last season raising ambitions too high. Who will Hull get to replace Brown now though?

    Gary Megson :(

  • Comment number 12.

    Please hull get relegated and end up playing in the vauxhall conference where you belong. Phil brown takes a club with absolutely no business being in the company of man utd etc. to the premiership and this is how they repay him. and another thing, it always gripes when i hear pundits constantly referring to hull as 'the tigers' as if they are worthy of being known by their nickname. Calling arsenal the gunners or everton the toffees or even west brom as the baggies is fine because these are long standing clubs with credibility. hull wouldnt have any right to be known by their nickname at the best of times but 'the tigers' isnt even befitting of a football team. It sounds like one of those ridiculous names rugby team give themselves, like wasps or bradford bulls or something.

  • Comment number 13.

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  • Comment number 14.

    This is a shocker of a decision. The directors have clearly got nervous, and seem to have rushed into a decision which ironically will condemn them to relegation.

    There best bet was to stick it out with Brown, even if he is a bit annoying. This will put the team into shock, when they need stability. Brown brought this, and I think has been unlucky recently. A few extra players and they would have stayed up.

    I mean who is better than Brown at the level? Me?

  • Comment number 15.

    Someone poke the mod who's blatently asleep instead of running this blog.

  • Comment number 16.

    Sacking the manager and bringing in a new man with 8 games to go didn't work for Newcastle last year - It's not likely to work for Hull either.

  • Comment number 17.

    So Brown has been removed from his position at Hull.

    Does this open the door for him to replace Rafa at Anfield?

  • Comment number 18.

    What on earth is Pearson thinking? with 9 games to go? Certain for relegation now.

  • Comment number 19.

    Brown took a lowly and totally unfashionable club to the PL. And he is a larger than life character.

    In these two key ways, he is like Brian Clough.

    But also - just as with Cloughie - the media dont like it and have often done all they can to gun him down.

    The Media 1 Hull City 0

  • Comment number 20.

    At last, the one thing the premiership has never needed is an idiot with an earpiece. I have no dislike for Hull as a team however their manager always made me want them to lose. So long captain earpiece....good job hunting

  • Comment number 21.

    He was a real character and sacking him with just a few games to go seems a bit mean-spirited. I don't think it will save them - whoever they've got coming in (remember Shearer....)

    Phil Brown should hold his head high. In a few years time, he's going to be a legend at Hull

  • Comment number 22.

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  • Comment number 23.

    I think it's a case of the Hull board looking beyond what they have now.

    As an Arsenal supporter I saw a team that went out to negate the opposition by systematic fouling, there were 2 or 3 that could have been sent off. Truth is Hull could have got a result if they had played fairly, they would have had 11 men on the field.
    Now if Brown is responsible for this heathen footie then he should go.
    Maybe chairman Pearson has a vision of Hull as an entertaining, affluent European team, one would hope he does, and he has realised that Brown is not the man to get them there.
    I believe the players have the ability to avoid the drop, even now; and with the right attitude and a couple of good signings, can improve next year.
    Cloggers belong in the lower leagues!
    ( I am told KC stadium has a great library )

  • Comment number 24.

    "interrupted by fisticuffs between those two unlikely pugilists, Jimmy Bullard and Nick Barmby"

    Why unlikely? Tar all footballers with the same "they're all vile lowlife" brush, it works for me a treat.

  • Comment number 25.

    He seemed to be a manager that wanted to be a 'bit of a character' before being a manager. I still think they would have stayed up above with the likes of Wolves and Burnley with Bullard in the side.

  • Comment number 26.

    Phil your hard at work today.

    Two blogs in a day, that's unknown from a bbc blogger isn't it? Anyway your efforts are appreciated.

    On the other hand I don't think you'll be as popular with the mods. On your earlier blog ther is a 1 hour 5 mins (or 57 user) waiting list, and already there is a 21 user waiting list on here!

    Back to football matters. I think this decision will result in Hull losing a few admirers (among neutrals). Where is the loyalty. he got them there, kept them there, and he had a decent chance of keeping them up this year with it being so tight at the bottom, but the way football is these days won't get the opportunity.


  • Comment number 27.

    Busy day for you Phil!
    I really don't see Brown as the problem for Hull. At the end of the day, he got them to the Prem and kept them there for a second season. Offer that to Hull fans 4 years ago and they would have bitten your hand off!
    It's not that he has squandered resources, they don't have deep pockets. Back room events dominate this one!

  • Comment number 28.

    its wrong he got them up and kept them up he should at least been given the chance to keap them up this seasen

  • Comment number 29.

    This news has made me happy!! And it only makes it sweeter, that a defeat by Arsenal caused it!!

    His interview on MOTD was a joke, and only proved he wasnt handling the presure very well.

    I wonder if he will lose his fake tan sponsorship deal, now hes out of a job.

  • Comment number 30.

    but Brown should leave Hull with his head held high.


    I imagine it's near impossible to hold a head high when it is so weighted with ego and arrogance.

  • Comment number 31.

    Give it two weeks and he could be at QPR - he could be the man to take them up to the Premier League.

    If Colin at QPR manages to keep his job, I think the best Brown will get is Peterborough when they get relegated.

  • Comment number 32.

    I hated his kick them off the park style of football, but given the resources at Hull, and current refs, it was probably the most effective form.

    I will be very surprised if someone else does better, and I think that he has done the best he could with the resources available.

    West Brom tried playing football, and as Porto and AC Milan showed. You can get ripped to bits by the best in the premier league if you try to out play them at football.

    The refs need to look hard at intent. Phil Brown's view that you should tackle hard enough that if you miss the ball you will come out with the man, and ideally take both man and ball, is a short trip to the best players getting injured.

    People do not watch the premier league to see people being kicked, it is for great bits of skill and the sooner the refs start interpreting things in the same way as the World Cup or Champions league the better.

  • Comment number 33.

    Who exactly are they going to bring in? Phil Brown isn't the best manager in the world but I can't see Mourinho and Wenger queuing up to manage Hull City. And what is the point of doing it so close to the end of the season? No new manager can sign anyone now.

  • Comment number 34.

    Should have been sacked last year. Everyone knew there was no chance he could keep Hull up this season.

  • Comment number 35.

    Brown did a good job getting Hull to the premiership, but never had the tactical nous or the positivity to keep Hull there. For that reason folks Brown or Sam Allardyce are better fits in the championship where they can use their skills at building tight defensive units that grind out victories to specialize in getting teams to the playoffs. From there-on they are better off handing the baton on to guys like Steve Bruce and Owen Coyle who can take the clubs to the next level

  • Comment number 36.

    After following Hull City for 45 years I never thought I would see us in the Premier League and so Phil Brown has my eternal thanks. Timing of his departure is odd but Adam Pearson is no fool. The Boxing Day lecture never affected the players, and that comes personally from a senior member of the squad, and the team has changed much since then anyway. Still many points to play for, the sacking will either galvanise or sink us.

  • Comment number 37.

    The sacking of Phil Brown is ridiculous... with so few games left to play the timing is very questionable.

    To say he ‘hasn’t exactly been unsuccessful’ is not doing him justice Phil. Brown got the team promoted to the top flight – and kept them up. That is an unbelievable achievement – more so than perhaps any of the big four managers in the last two seasons.

    The public dressing down may well have been a publicity stunt for the fans – but if it meant the fans were more vocal over the course of the season then it was worth it. Saying the players deserved better is one argument, perhaps over the course of the first half Brown and his management team deserved better? It is very easy to criticise – and his Manchester City outdoor team-talk has received lots of bad press... but in actual fact it served it’s purpose. The management techniques used kept Hull in the Premier League... so it did work. Or are we assuming this has had a long lasting effect and that players still think about it now and that is why they are in the position they are this season?

    ‘It came to be seen an ego out of control’ – by whom??? Being a huge personality is a management technique used by successful coaches from Brian Clough to Jose Mourinho. If it doesn’t endear itself to opposition fans... who cares? If it achieves the goals – and Hulls achievements over the last two years undoubtedly mean it did for Phil Brown – that is all that matters.

    The apology to the WI was only embarrassing in so much as it was a manager let down by his players who are supposed to be professional. Player’s behaviour has been the subject of much debate recently. Terry’s personal life has cost him the England captaincy, the spat at Hull has cost Brown his job.

    Just to clarify then Phil, do you think Brown would have been manager until the end of the season had the WI event not occurred?

  • Comment number 38.

    Hull could really use a couple of games against Liverpool, they would soon be safe. Indeed if they could play against Liverpool for the last ten games, they might even qualify for Europe!

  • Comment number 39.

    This should have happened a long time ago. Not now. Not with 8 games left to play. Hull are doomed.

    The only sense i can make out of this is that Hull are actually preparing for relegation and so it doesnt matter, Brown might as well go now and if they stay up with their new manager - well it will have been seen as a master stroke wont it?

  • Comment number 40.

    Oh, come on, Phil Brown's sacking was not unexpected. Perhaps not at this particular moment but it's been on cards for a while now. Sure he had some success but also proved himself to be of little integrity and his coaching methods and tactics are limited to sat the least. IMHO Hull football club can only benefit from that.

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm going to have to say this at the risk of getting beaten down but i can see why Brown gave them that dressing down. How do you think the fans felt having paid to see their team trail at half time by four goals? sure it probably was ill-advised but the motives behind it were commendable.

    I think the case of Newcastle was different Shearer is a club legend and could have arguably inspired the players to go and out perform better. I can't see why Brown has been sacked. I think the chairman has an elevated view of the club (no offense to Hull fans) but Newcastle was in a state on and off the pitch, Middlesborough wasn't fantastic either and West Brom are a yo-yo team. It could be argued Hull escaped last season due to many teams not knowing their tactics and the medocrity of other teams. I'm not saying Hull didn't deserve to stay up but often clubs stay up and do well in their first season because they are underestimated in terms of players and tactically. Another thing is Hull isn't exactly a "desireable" club much like Stoke they probably had a lot of trouble bringing in proven players who would rather go to other clubs in the same position e.g. Bolton or Sunderland who are established Premier League teams.

    I think he shouldn't have been sacked mainly because there is no opportunity to bring in new players now the transfer window is closed so the new manager will have to make do with what he has already got and Hull's team is best known by Brown both personally and tactically of course if he lost the dressing room it would be a different case. I just don't see how a new manager will help them to survive relegation when there is so few little games left to shake up the squad.

  • Comment number 42.

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  • Comment number 43.

    So Hull sack Phill Brown after losing to Arsenal . What do they expect !
    Brown is definately not top class but then nor is Adam Pearson nor the stadium nor the supporters ...the list goes on .
    They have punched above their weight for two seasons .... enjoy that experience .......a new manager will not save Hull City.
    Go back to the championship ( where you belong ) and fight for a play off place and see if you can live the dream again.....for a short while !
    Good luck to you ........but don't behave as if you have some divine right to stay in the premiership is the premier league for a reason.

  • Comment number 44.

    Good luck to Phil Brown in the future, he gave us Hull fans a lot of happy moments and saved us from relegation twice aswell as the promotion to the Premier League, Pearson will be surely acting in the best interests of the club now by implementing a new manager and there is probably a lot more to this story than has been reported in the media.

  • Comment number 45.

    Phil Brown talked big but delivered very little and Hull are yet another club whose only ambition is to try and stay in the premiership.

    He got what he deserved and I don't think that many people will shed many tears if the club get relegated. Can't seeing them getting promoted back up very soon either.

  • Comment number 46.

    No away win in the Premier league for over a year says it all.

    He had to go, at least we now have 9 games to fight for a chance to stay in the league with someone coming in with fresh ideas.

    Just hope it doesn't come down to goal difference as we've had some heavy defeats this season.

    On the other hand relegation will be good for me, as I hate everything the premier league stands for and is.

    Your never going to get a decision against the Big 4, and the players are all overpaid and out of touch with the supporters who contribute to their wages, but see little for it.

    It needs a reality check, like the goings on at Portsmouth to show how out of control the Premier machine is.

  • Comment number 47.

    @12 'Please hull get relegated and end up playing in the vauxhall conference where you belong. Phil brown takes a club with absolutely no business being in the company of man utd etc. to the premiership and this is how they repay him. and another thing, it always gripes when i hear pundits constantly referring to hull as 'the tigers' as if they are worthy of being known by their nickname. Calling arsenal the gunners or everton the toffees or even west brom as the baggies is fine because these are long standing clubs with credibility. hull wouldnt have any right to be known by their nickname at the best of times but 'the tigers' isnt even befitting of a football team. It sounds like one of those ridiculous names rugby team give themselves, like wasps or bradford bulls or something.'

    Chill out. If we got the points and won the relegation then we deserve to be there. Yes Man Utd will always be a far better team than Hull but we still earnt the right to compete.

    Vauxhall conference?

  • Comment number 48.

    bye bye brown, thanks for the memories.

    .........this is the best trip ive ever been on!

  • Comment number 49.

    I am not shocked at this latest sacking - i am totally disgusted.
    This guy has taked a mediocre team in to the promised land and kept them there but because 2 of his players have a slapping contest in front of someone's gran and her friends and his team then lose to an average Arsenal team its see ya later.He isn't the first and wont be the last manager (Rafa has this set aside for himself) to be sacked.

  • Comment number 50.

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  • Comment number 51.

    I can't say that I'm not glad to see the back of him. Nasty little man. Hopefully, another Brown will follow him to the exit within the next few months and Westminster will have a new manager.

  • Comment number 52.

    I don't like the bloke but this is a poor decision at this time for Hull-who are they going to get to replace him?

  • Comment number 53.

    Sacking a manager with eight games left is just a roll of the dice, the reality is Hull are very small fish in a big pond, they have actually looked a lot stronger this season and have had some good performances.

    Be interesting to see who they bring in next, Alan Shearer maybe or what about self styled football expert Phil McNulty? You always profess to know much more than the current batch of Premiership managers (his Lordship Sir Alex of Stretford we are not worthy accepted) lol

  • Comment number 54.

    As a Hull City fan, I have mixed feelings, although the balance is heavily tipped in favour of the decision that was made today.
    Phil Brown did a magnificent job of getting Hull City into the top flight for the first time in the club's 104-year history. However, perhaps the reality of the situation is that Brown is a good manager for the Championship and lower leagues, where he is under less scrutiny, and not a great manager for the Premier League.
    The initial run the Tigers went on was a left over form the momentum of being promoted. A few great - and unexpected - results put them above the radar in a way other promoted teams haven't had to enure. The season they went up, Phil Brown stated he'd be happy if the team finished 17th. They did, but somehow people expected more after the good start to the season.
    So far that, Brown should be applauded. And perhaps his media attention was, in part, to allow the team to be simply that while he took the flak.
    This season was an opportunity to build on the achievement of being a Premier League team. I envisaged Hull taking a similar approach to Sunderland after they stayed in the league following promotion: build a team for survival and grow slowly.
    The transfers made in the wake of a team that last season didn't defend well were ominous. Defenders left (although there's not always a lot a club can do about that), and forwards came in. While an inspiration, Bullard hasn't playe enough games to have made a difference. And although Altidore, VoH (his name's too long even for his shirt), Zaki, Ghilas and others were brought in, it didn't address the leaky defence. With a team like Manchester United's, you can have defensive wobbles or struggles and those ahead of you can compensate. Hull are not in that position.
    So, when the Bullard-Barmby incident took place, it was simply the last straw, which began with the Manchester Sit-in.
    Perhaps, rather than bad timing, it could be far from terrible. If the club is, indeed, relegated, at least the chairman can say he tried and that the club was already doomed. Also, players will want to not only impress the new person, but also shop themselves to potential 2010-11 clubs, if relegation happens.
    Hull can still stay up. Burnley haven't looked great, and Wolves are still catchable with a couple of timely wins. Perhaps that's the gamble - a new face making a difference at a rejuvenated Portsmouth on Saturday. As for the speculation over a new manager, sadly it will likely be a tried and tested name. But with few of those actually available, and bigger names wary of the prospect of Championship football next season, maybe it's time to take a chance on someone untried and untested.
    And, if Hull does return to Championship football next season, at least Hull will no longer be the biggest city in Europe never to have had a football team in its top league. Other great teams have had their ups and downs, and almost all of them are finance-related.
    Rather than worry about a new manager, perhaps it is time to start talking to the new richest man in the world, from Mexico.
    Is it just coincidence that some English people set up a football team in Puebla, Mexico, in 1904, the very same year Hull City came into existence?

  • Comment number 55.

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  • Comment number 56.

    Some sympathy for Phil Brown and understandably so, but Adam Pearson is shrewd and he is taking a gamble on a fresh approach revitalising Hull City in the closing weeks of the season so I can see the logic.

    Brown will be hurting now, and I do sense some are enjoying his downfall, but he has achieved things at Hull he can be rightly proud of. History should be kind to him.

    Talk of lots of bets on Gary Megson? Just talk though. Who would Hull fans like to see in, even on a short-term basis?

  • Comment number 57.

    I don't think Mr. Brown's interview after Saturday's game did him any favours either. It made him look like a bit of a fool. Also either he sent out his team to play in an aggressive manner on Saturday (nothing wrong with that as long as it's within the laws of the game!) or he'd lost the players. The way Boateng was acting it looks more to me like he'd lost the respect of the players, how else could you explain such idiotic behaviour. Same goes for the Bullard, Barmby handbags. That doesn't happen unless there is division and tension within the squad, something Brown should have been on top of. All in all, Hull were heading out of the Premiership under his leadership, so why not change it. As long as Hull can afford to get rid of him then there is nothing to lose. Good luck for the rest of the season Tigers.

  • Comment number 58.

    Hull seemed to just want to kick people, particularly their midfielder, Boateng.

    At Everton he could have been sent off after about n15 munutes last week.

    Then against Arsenal he goes and both fouls could have been straight reds. This is the sort of game Brown used toplay when he weas a player.

    Enjoy your retirement until another Chairman wants a team of kickers.

  • Comment number 59.

    Sometimes you have to judge on levels, in the CCC his record has tow extremes, bad at Derby, decent at Hull (not great, decent). In the PL, even taking into account the first 4 months of last season, its very poor and based on that he was lucky to survive this far IMHO.

    I suspect if Hull City wern't so reliant on the PL monies for survivial (as expressed by their auditors) Brown might have kept his job regardless of relegation but then that's what is so wrong with the PL, clubs spending idiot money to be the next Bolton Wanderers.

  • Comment number 60.

    Can any manager come in with so few games left and save Hull from the drop.
    Pearson bottled this decision when he first came in and has shown further poor decision making by the timing of this sacking.
    It would be a miracle if someone could come in now and save Hull.
    They are averaging 0.82 points a game which, with 9 games to go, will take Hull onto 32 points.
    The minimum required is at least 36 points (could be more) so it's a big ask.
    The one saving grace is the run-in is against some of the lesser teams although their last game of the season is against LIverpool which should be a fun fixture!

  • Comment number 61.

    When the dust settles, I don't think anyone outside the Hull minority who follow football really cares. Goodbye Orange Man, on to the next Championship club.

    Btw Philip, it looks like you are really proud of your Women's Institute quip, you repeat it twice and it's on you Twitter too. Bless.

  • Comment number 62.

    Somebody wake up the moderator!

  • Comment number 63.

    I am disappointed at all the 'go back to the Championship where you belong' type comments. No team belongs in any division unless they get the points to stay there. Hull are in the premiership because they got more points than Newcastle, Boro and WBA. Football is a true meritocracy and the day it stops being one I will stop being interested.

    As for Brown, he made lots of enemies when Hull had their good run last season, he gave the impression of thinking he was the world's best manager, and more importantly that everyone else was rubbish. Folk don't forget that kind of thing, and that is part of why there is no outporing of support now, when what he has achieved would normally get one.

    Presumably he must now go and manage Wolves, otherwise he will clash with the strip...

  • Comment number 64.

    Out of the frying pan, into the fire. Still I suppose after Mark Hughes @ Man City and Gareth Southgate at the Boro, Phil Brown's gardening leave comes as no big surprise. Big thanks to him for reaching the Prem and keeping us there last season.
    Hang on a minute, did I inadvertantly mention 2 potential candidates!

  • Comment number 65.

    My money is on David O'Dreary, and has been for about 6 months now.
    Whoever we get will have a tough job, either getting us back into the premiership or keeping the status the players will have fought so hard to keep over the coming weeks. I think that this action will galvanise the squad and push them to make the effort required to stay up.
    Brown will always have a place in City folklore, but sometimes, you have to also realise that you can go no further.
    I wish him all the best in the future as I am sure most true Hull City fans will.

  • Comment number 66.

    I don't particularly like Brown, as a man or as a manager, but I think he should have been given until the end of the season. Or at the very least, until the game against Portsmouth.

  • Comment number 67.

    29. At 3:18pm on 15 Mar 2010, Carl Harris wrote:
    This news has made me happy!! And it only makes it sweeter, that a defeat by Arsenal caused it!!

    Like most of the Gooners on here gloating, this was the result of a combination of things, not just Saturday.
    ..Talk about having an over inflated sense of self worth...

  • Comment number 68.

    Glad he's been sacked. He's an embarrassment to football and, if you're a Hull fan, he's an embarrassment to you. The timing, I concede, is, ill-judged; and I do concur with Phil Brown that he did indeed bring Hull up ahead of the Board's schedule. But there are qualitative not quantitative reasons for sacking him. The defense over the midweek bust-up was pathetic, and before that he was just outright risible. He's not good for the game and I am therefore happy he's gone.

    I hope Hull get relegated. Brown will surely chalk that up to his sacking, such is his ego. But perhaps my impression of Hull, and my general ill-will (I support Arsenal) toward them, will be dulled now that Brown is gone. I suppose that is what one calls a paradox: I loathed Hull while Brown was in charge; yet it would be interesting to see how many football fans respond to Hull with Brown not there. The situation is not quite comparable to Newcastle last year. Newcastle were in a right mess on a variety of fronts. This seems to be an issue of man-management and restraint. Perhaps Hull could have waited until the summer; but I think the Board wants to send out a message here (I know this smacks of PR): We are no longer going to tolerate this man's behaviour.

  • Comment number 69.

    I dislike Brown since the Man City half time incident. But one thing is one and another is another.

    I can't comprehend the application of the 'gardening leave' employment law(?). This is not a £20-50k a year job. If you want to get rid of your manager, you sack him and compensate him. You don't destroy his immediate career (and I am writing it, without liking Brown).

    Why doesn't the Premier League intervene to ensure Brown gets his compensation and becomes free to join another club?
    Isn't there ground for a lawsuit against Hull City?

    Remembering how Owen Coyle left Burnley (which I didn't like as a football fan), now I can see the other view point.

    Pearson realises that the premiership status is worth £100m, but they sold the club's best defender behind Brown's back. If they wanted to stay in the premiership shouldn't they strengthen their squad rather than depleting it?

    This is comical.
    Wait courts to deal with the situation and further embarrassment for this club.
    It's ridiculous. Disgraceful. Disgusting.
    If Pearson wants another manager because Brown is 'the other man's friend', then he can get rid of him, but in the proper way and not with farcical methods like this joke.

  • Comment number 70.

    'This, followed by an unfortunate defeat against Arsenal on Saturday'

    What's unfortunate about Boateng getting 3 yellows when both warranted a straight red and the penalty that was given when the Hull player was clearly offside ?

  • Comment number 71.

    So that's two relegation places sorted out so far

  • Comment number 72.

    Shame on the Hull City . If Brown cant keep them in the PL , then no one else cant . What did Brown do wrong ? I think bringing them to the PL was wrong , they dont deserve his services . After bringing them to the PL for the first time , and keeping them on top for the 2nd year , this is how they treat him ...... SAD

  • Comment number 73.

    To be honest I think sacking someon at this point of the season does no good. Their next game against Portsmouth is one that Brown would have targeted for 3 points, there are several other fixtures remaining that Brown could have won and got Hull out of relegation trouble.

    What is a new guy going to do? He won't be able to buy new players.
    He'll probably have to play the same system because of the above.
    Some of the players bought by Brown may not support him furthering divisions in the squad.

    Personally I won't miss him, I won't miss Hull if they go down either, I'd much rather have seen West Brom stay up, at least they tried to play football, it is a sport and as such should be entertaining. Hull quite simply are not (although Brown is), however that aside and looking at the example of Newcastle last year who bought Shearer in, in a similar position it smacks of the chairman covering himself so at the end of the season he can say "I tried, I even got a new man in, nothing else I could do, it was the previous regiemes fault" and then get someone in who he trusts to spend his money.

    Sacks at this time of the year smack of resignation to relagation. If it's going to be done it should be done in by the end of Jan at the latest to give the new guy a decent shot!

  • Comment number 74.

    As you say Phil big gamble by Pearson but Hull are stagnant at the moment so I think its a gamble he needed to take really. As an Arsenal fan, I thought apart from the silly tackles, they played well on Saturday and didn't really deserve to lose, but Bullard excepting theres so little creative spark. Wheres Geovanni these days? he might be a brazilian, and so inherently lazy, but hes a matchwinner. Fans tell me Brown took a dislike so doesn't play him. As we all saw last year the guy has pedigree and can turn games for them, and the premier league is so tight theres no place for sentiment and favourites.

    And with this latest spat between 2 of the most laid back footballers about, I think his man management has come up short and ultimately done for him.

    However, bash him we may, but stats say he's the most successful Hull manager ever.

    Good luck to Hulls next manager, it isn't going to be easy. Its a shame Neil Warnock wasnt available, he'd be a classic Hull manager

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    Another stupid decision to grace the land of football. This has the whiff of Newcastle about it.

    'There's a handful of games left, oh noes, we're in trouble, let's remedy that by ripping apart the dressing room by ousting the gaffer and somehow expecting a new face to come in and gel with the players in a ridiculously short time in a desperate hope to stay up.'

    And the board, like Newcastle's will be duly rewarded when they go traipsing to Watford, QPR et al in the Championship next year.


    Actually our manager suffered from a heart condition and couldn't manage us for the rest of the season so there is not a lot we could have done,now we are paying the price for appointing shearer according to you,but I think we was going down before Shearer anyway and don't think anyone could have saved us and it may the same in Hull's case.

  • Comment number 77.

    People who are saying that this is a bad decision with only 9 games left clearly haven't been watching the team recently.

    What is the point of leaving a manager in when you know that the results aren't going to come? I think the way West Ham pulled us apart 3-0 gives a pretty clear indication that PB doesn't know what he's doing. 9 games left or not, there is no point leaving a manager in when you know he's not going to do the job. Giving someone new 9 games to turn the club around might just do the job. Trust me, leaving PB in place was a guaranteed relegation. No harm has come from removing him.

    It's all well and good saying that Phil Brown got us promoted, which he did, and everyone in Hull is grateful, but the results since January 2009 have been shocking. We beat Arsenal 16 months ago; no manager can expect to retain his position based on the results in a good month in 2008.

    We have been poor for well over a year, and no-one can be suprised at this result. Brown's record in the transfer window has been awful, and most of the better players at the club were here before he joined. However, the list of his frankly poor purchases is long and distinguished.

    His tactical nouse is non-existant, and there is certainly no Plan B when things aren't going to plan. He's a poor man's Alardyce, and Alardyce is a terrible manager. At least Steve Coppell came into the Premiership to play football. I think everyone in Hull would be overjoyed if Brown had the same outlook.

  • Comment number 78.


    "Pearson was always going to be a more pragmatic operator and it was no coincidence that Brown's previously high, some critics said too high, profile was drastically reduced following his return to the club."

    Is that a fact? And you know this how...? What a delightful example of fictional journalism (this seems to be). Personally I think you're probably right, but unless you have proof of this, in which case you should have put it in your blog, please don't claim it to be gospel truth.

    And don't even get me started on the nonsense from The Midland 20 comparing Brown to Clough.... No way in hell.

    Overall, Brown did do a good job at Hull, despite giving off the impression of being a most odious individual indeed, but the bottom line is that he's made some high profile strategic errors in both public and player relations since January or so last season (The public dressing down at City away being the main one), and Hull were, ultimately, extremely fortunate to stay up. They were the best of a very bad bunch (the bottom four), and the main reason they finished in that position was an unbelievably fortunate victory at Fulham.

  • Comment number 79.

    Who will Hull turn to now?
    It is obvious, they need a masterclass. Put me in charge now, but they'll have to play my way!
    Give us a ring, Adam.

  • Comment number 80.

    Hull's issues are larger than Brown.
    They have large debts, they don't own the stadium. Their training ground is antiquated and in an area that wouldn't get planning permission to build on should their plans to move ever come to fruition. They also have a tendancy to lose a lot of fans attending when they are up and down the divisions. They are a club without any real tangible assets and have over reached incredibly to be in the Premier League. It would be sad to see yet another club stumble and falter because of their desire to be in the Premier League coming second to prudent financial planning, but it seems they could be another Portsmouth, Leeds, Leicester or Swindon.

  • Comment number 81.

    In this day and age with things going fron bad to worse ,why would anyone be ''happy'' when a person loses his job.?Mr Brown was on his way out the door when the new chairman came in, why didn't the chairman sack Brown then.I personally believe that Hull actually have players than ''play '' football the correct way , but they weren't allowed.It's do or die now for them, a new manager might just see their potential and let them play football for the last few games of the season,and I think they can stay up.

  • Comment number 82.

    I am still available. Small fee to buy me out of my current contract.

  • Comment number 83.

    I am no Phil Brown fan, but he has had an impossible job since Adam Pearson came in as Chairman.

    Adam Pearson has been talking the club down since day one. Saying the finances are a mess, and he has a big hole to plug, whilst that might be good for his ego as the person turning things around it is rubbish for confidence in the club.

    He should have been explaining what a great club it was and how he was looking to improve profitability and ensure that the club stayed with in its means.

    Instead it sounded like the club would have gone bust if he had not turned up as a white knight. I can not see what he has done since turning up to turn it around, but I am sure Hull fans will know if he has actually done anything or put any money in.

    What player in their right mind would have joined Hull in the last transfer window, and why did any of the players stay given the we are skint and doomed atmosphere.

    Look at Avram down at Portsmouth, he has finally got the team playing now they know that they are playing to get a move away in the summer, but it was impossible to motivate them whilst the board was in chaos.

    Players need some hope and a vision of how the club is going to improve.

  • Comment number 84.

    I don't see why there is all this mention of an 'average Arsenal side'. Arsenal strolled effortlessly through Hull's defence time after time but were collectively unable to find the finish. The previously sublime Arshavin was the main culprit, though his approach play was as brilliant as ever. Luckily (for there was no way Hull deserved a draw), Bendtner proved once again why he is the world's finest striker by scoring at the death!

  • Comment number 85.

    Even though I am a gooner, and he knew how to wind up fans, I really thought the man deserved better. He has been working on a small budget in a big league and whenever I saw him in interviews or during games, thought there's a man that cares for his club.

    I just don't understand this obsession with chairmen thinking they can run a football team better then their own manager. At the end of the day this was his team and he should have at least been given to the end of the season as they still had a chance of staying up. All premiership managers and players are constantly under pressure to deliver - I mean did the chairman or fans really expect them to beat us on the weekend?

  • Comment number 86.

    This is hard on Brown who should be remembered for his achievement in getting Hull City to the top division rather than any of his personal antics. He'll be missed by those of us bored by the hypocritical, humourless and po-faced attitude of 90% of the other managers that operate in this league. It is these guys that are the embarrassment to football today not the likes of Phil Brown.

  • Comment number 87.

    Modded because I dared to suggest that Brown's leave was not entirely down to Arsenal.
    Makes a change from being modded for daring to criticise Liverpool I suppose.
    And how long are the mods taking to look at each comment on here today?
    Are they now paid by the comment?

  • Comment number 88.

    I think Hull did have a chance of staying in the PL with Brown. With 9 games left and only 4 points seperating them from 15th placed Wigan, many losses are still guarateed to the bottom teams, so Hull could do it. They did it last season in the final day, don't they realize that only Brown has the real fire to stay and would work hardest to do so. Anybody they bring will get a free ride, thus if he does it, great a hero, if not, too bad they were far too gone because of Brown to save.

    This decision should have been taken 10 games ago if they were not happy with Brown, not now.

    Might as well bring in Shearer to try and save them.

  • Comment number 89.

    Phil- tend to agree with the sentiments expressed in your blogg; although recently Phil Brown has always seemed to be just one step away from disaster.
    For the Club however I cannot help feeling his departure (if that's what it is?) will make no difference to what happens at the end of the season. Brown's personal energy and his willingness to take risks is what raised Hull to the dizzy heights of Premiership football in the first place and whilst the recent signs i.e. of player's individual and collective behaviour (both on and off the pitch) suggested he was 'losing it' as a manager, the only hope was with Brown - without him they are surely doomed, unless the next manager ' can walk on water'.

  • Comment number 90.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 91.

    You read it first from me.

    Avram Grant has been lined up for the Hull position. His mandate will be (1) to keep them up this year and (2) to keep them up, and at mid-table, next year. He will be given money to spend which, obviously, he does not have at Pompey.

    Now that's real journalism.

    PS, Shine on, Gunners.

  • Comment number 92.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 93.

    At 2:35pm on 15 Mar 2010, Big4r_a_bore wrote:

    "Sacking the manager and bringing in a new man with 8 games to go didn't work for Newcastle last year - It's not likely to work for Hull either."

    correct me if i'm wrong, but wasn't newcastle's manager (joe kinnear) in hospital recovering from a heart operation, and unlikely to return before the end of the season?

    slightly different situation methinks

  • Comment number 94.

    It does seem strange because after flirting wi relegation last season to give him the boot now.

    But maybe, wi so few games left they are looking at the old dead cat bounce to give them a boost, which could see them cling on in the top league.

  • Comment number 95.

    When will the money men learn?

    Don't appoint a football manager and expect financial bonanza.

    The guy needed time. Sack him for footballing reasons not money reasons.

    Brown has had a rare deal.

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    The real problem was Brown handicapped the team with his constant selection of his favourites Fagan (possibly the worse PL player ever) and Garcia (the second worse)
    Saturday was a prime example going against one of the quickest fastest passing teams in Europe he included an unmatch fit Jimmy Bullard, who at least can change a game with a pass or shot, but also George Boateng whose legs went 4 or 5 years ago.
    Subsequently GB was late again for a tackle and off he went.
    Now we battled like troopers but then Brown sabotaged our chances first he pulled off Jan V of H, who was at least playing up on their defence and stretching them, then Jozy who was playing midfield and then when Jan went off logically he should have had him playing up top. But no Brown puts on Garcia and tries a 4-5-0.
    Then to cap it all his favourite Fagan late in injury time, had a chance to take the ball into the corner and waste time, but no he tries to beat the defender, which for him would be a first, loses possesion they waltz down the field and after Myhills idiotic punch score the winner.
    Brown has also publically humiliated players like Geovanni, questioned the commitment of others and blacklisted others like Ghilas, Mendy and Cooper. Last week he publically questioned our best young player Tom Cairneys commitment, that and not the WI fiasco was probably the reason Adam Pearsons patience finally ran out.
    I hope Steve Coppell is the one brought in as he plays 4-4-2 attacking football with 2 wingers, has a good relationship with Steve Hunt, our best player this season and is intelligent and most important for Adam Pearson low key, anyway regardless of what happens I know the Tigers will survive and kick on to mid table mediocrity next year.
    Thanks for all you did Phil and good luck for the future !

  • Comment number 98.

    Why, they had a tough run of games which caused this. Phil Brown did a good job, they should have waited until the end of the season.

  • Comment number 99.

    My feelings about Hull City are entirely neutral as I live in Scotland, but history and common sense says that nobody turns a club round with nine matches to go (not even Alan Shearer).
    Everyone knows that Phil's big mistake was the half-time at Man City last season, but if he was to pay for this he should have been sacked at the end of that season or at Christmas this season. Personally I didn't mind his headphones or his interview style. Certainly a classier dresser than the Stoke City guy.

  • Comment number 100.

    As if, Phil Brown the most arrogant egotistical manager in the Premiership, good ridance I say. Stick the knife in on Beckham and praise Phil Brown, I suppose it's you're job to get people replying to blogs but it's so transparent, at least try and be subtle.


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