On the face of it there is no real reason why I should dislike Hull – they are a club from an unfashionable area, who like Stoke have fallen foul of the Location Location bods in being shortlisted as some of the worst places to live.
Stoke have had more success over the years, but as a 30-year-old I have only ever known old second and third division monotony and failure, not dissimilar to Hull’s recent history.
I remember when Peter Taylor brought Hull a bit higher profile and then came the stadium move and soon enough we both found ourselves in the Championship. But we never rivals – we’re miles away.
Then something happened last year – an unassuming and professional Stoke had spent most of the season in the top 3 and were working towards automatic promotion, when a team from left field started an impressive run up the league in the final third of the season.
This run was exciting for the league, they started to get a bit close to Stoke towards the top , and along with Bristol, WBA and Watford, started to become an automatic promotion rival.
Two weeks before the end of the season, Stoke went away to Colchester and could clinch automatic promotion with a win as long as Hull didn’t win in their game against Crystal Palace; Stoke held up their end of the bargain and Hull grabbed a last-minute winner which meant Stoke would have to wait until the final game against Leicester.
As I read the Sunday reviews of the game my eyes were drawn to an outspoken Phil Brown who seemed to think he had scored a psychological victory over Stoke and was quoted as saying that our kit man would have to pour the champagne away and that Hull had spoiled the party.
Many Stoke fans wondered where the outburst came from – it wasn’t as if Hull had a massive chance of overtaking us. I think it was 1 possible permutation of results in 9 would take them ahead of Stoke on the final day, yet this tanned fella from Hull saw fit to speak out?
Of course Stoke went up automatically and Hull lost that last game, having to make do with the play offs. This was the first example of Tango Man’s words putting unneccesary pressure on his players.
I have a couple of Hull fans for friends, and when Hull got promoted, one was quite grounded and pragmatic and the other full of mass optimism and fully bought into the Phil Brown quest for world domination, making bets with everyone on how Hull would trounce all laid before them.
A couple of Hull fans made the short virtual trip to our fanzine, the Oatcake, to continue this theme and build on the negative view Phil Brown had so randomly attracted to his club. Needless to say much banter ensued.
Throughout the season, the Premier League and indeed Stoke were to witness many more Tango moments that I feel have contributed more than he would like to admit to Hull’s spectacular slide down the league.
The loud clothes, the perma tan, the Madonna mic and eagerness to run to every camera, microphone and TV show he could…were soon a regular feature of the Orange one.
He revelled in Hull’s early success – as well he should – but his attitude was one of ‘this is what Phil Brown deserves’ as opposed to ‘what a great start we have had surprising teams and the more points we get on the board the better come the end of the season which will no doubt be a scrap.’
The Chairman also came out to form a sickly double act saying that Hull should be aiming for Europe. Tongue in cheek it may have been but the spotlight such comments placed on the team and club were to prove to be detrimental as the season went on.
Form began to dip and on Boxing Day Hull were on the end of a thumping first half 4-0 deficit at the hands of Man City. Instead of privately chastising his team in the dressing room, Brown led them out like naughty schoolboys onto the pitch in full view of the stadium and the world’s media to dress them down publicly.
It seems this was the beginning of the end for Phil Brown. Things started to go from bad to worse and Brown started to whinge and complain. He seemingly hasn’t stopped since.
Then in the loss at home to Blackburn Rovers, having incurred the wrath of his own fans for booing his decision to substitute Geovanni, he bizarrely said he hoped Geo failed a drug’s test.
Whatever his reasons for saying this, whatever hurt he was feeling, Phil Brown once again aired his dirty linen in public and once more brought unneccesary attention and focus on his club at a time when he should be knuckling down behind closed doors to stop what was becoming a worrying slide down the league.
What happened next, though, put the cherry on top of the madness cake. Following a loss to Arsenal in the cup, Brown seemed to completely lose the plot and started throwing accusations around, mostly in Fabregas’ direction for reasons including wearing inappropriate clothes.
He then went to draw even more attention to himself and Hull focus by claiming the player spat at assistant manager Horton, then it was on his feet, then it was near his feet.
Brown then again rushed to the phone to speak to a radio station where he sounded like a man broken. He truly sounded like he wanted to cry and contradicted himself a number of times before patronising the female presenter by calling her darling.
The clip increased the radio station’s click count considerably as fans from across the world wanted to hear the apparent breakdown of Brown.
Throughout this season Brown has made life for Hull City very difficult indeed. Unneccesary pressure and focus on the team, like it did in the promotion race, has affected the team for the worse and now Hull City look to be falling faster than Phil Brown’s stock.
I see many anti-Hull threads on the Oatcake but when you read into the reasons people dislike Hull it is a dislike for Phil Brown, not of Hull City the football club.
The main message being if it wasn’t for Phil Brown, 90% of Stoke fans would love Hull to survive at the cost of a more established team to further bloody the noses of Fleet Street’s finest.
It is a real shame that Phil Brown has sullied the club which should have been most people’s second team along with ‘plucky’ Stoke, instead he has attracted derision and mockery, something that Hull City, the club perhaps do not deserve.
If Hull City get relegated it will be largely down to the failings of Phil Brown, however, you could also argue that Phil Brown was the man who got Hull promoted.
I guess the question is, was the Premier League a step too far for him?