Many in the London-based media delighted in speculating today that Hull City were rejected by several targets before settling for tenth best Iain Dowie. But, while I am not exactly enraptured by his appointment, I am convinced that Dowie was always Adam Pearson’s number choice as the new City manager.
Let’s turn it round. Is anyone seriously suggesting that an experienced football administrator like Pearson, in charge of a club teetering on the brink of both relegation and severe financial problems, would make such a momentous decision without having a replacement lined up already?
Even assuming he was that naive, Pearson still must have worked phenomenally fast given that there were only 36 hours between the announcement of Phil Brown’s departure and the confirmation Dowie had been appointed.
In that time, if Pearson had no one already in the can, he would have had to sound out managers’ agents, field dozens of calls from interested parties, review CVs, interview a selection of candidates, then agree pay, terms and conditions with Dowie – all in the space of about 14 working hours.
Throw in a few supposed ‘rejections’ from several managers, which presumably would put the process back a few hours, and you’re stretching credibility to its very limit.
Then let’s look at the names who are supposed to have snubbed us, like Gary Megson, who is in hospital having a minor operation and is yet to negotiate his full settlement of Bolton Wanderers, so is unavailable for the time being.
Are the national media really suggesting Pearson turned up at his bedside with a bunch of grapes, a contract and an offer of a million-pound bonus, and Megson turned him away?
Then there’s Terry Venables, whose name appeared very prominently in the Daily Telegraph and virtually nowhere else. Did the Torygraph know something that the rest of the media didn’t? Perhaps there’s a mole at The Circle leaking information to this newspaper, even though it sells about 7 copies in the city?
Much more likely is that Venables’ advisor tipped off the paper that he was interested. Because that’s what agents do – they try to find work for their client of which they take a cut. Those transfer gossip columns you see in all the tabloids? The majority of the rumours have been phoned in by a player’s or manager’s agent looking to spark some interest from a club.
Interestingly, the Hull Daily Mail backs my theory up, reporting that Mark Hughes et al contacted City about the vacancy – not the other way round.
The only intrigue left me is what looked like a firm approach for Portsmouth’s Avram Grant. Presumably this was the ‘left-field’ candidate that Pearson discussed – but did he really want to spend days or even weeks trying to negiotate his release from Pompey, or just disrupt their planning for our clash on Saturday?
I don’t agree with Pearson’s choice of manager, because I truly believe Phil Brown would have had a better chance of keeping us up, and Dowie’s record hasn’t hit as many heights. But he’s had some good spells, including Premier League experience, so he’s hardly a joke appointment on the same level of Brian Laws.
In the end, whether we like it or not, Pearson saw enough in Dowie to boot out Hull City’s greatest ever manager to make way for him. And Pearson has more than enough credit in the bank for City fans to back him on this call.