Pearson's Prerogative

Last updated : 25 November 2009 By Carolina Tiger

It's been three weeks now since Paul Duffen resigned from his position as chairman of Hull City, following the release of the club's finances. In his place came Adam Pearson, seen as a returning messiah by many fans.

Pearson is the man who turned around the Tigers' fortunes and dragged the club into the 21st Century with its head held high. Prior to his arrival, the club had languished as perennial underachievers for much of its long history, lurching from one disastrous situation to another with few high spots along the way.

Pearson bought the club for next to nothing in 2001 and helped orchestrate the move from the crumbling and dilapidated Boothferry Park to the shiny new all-seater Kingston Communications Stadium.

Pearson wasn't afraid to wield the axe if he thought a manager wasn't working out right, as Brian Little found out after he was sacked despite taking the Tigers to the Third Division playoffs - an action Pearson would go on record to say he regretted.

However, after some faltering steps in the early days, Pearson found his way, and so did the Tigers under manager Peter Taylor. Pearson was loyal and hard-working, helping to forge an excellent working relationship with Taylor that allowed the club to win back-to-back promotions, taking the Tigers into the Championship.

However, despite this, Taylor expressed interest in leaving. Pearson felt betrayed and let Taylor know this, ultimately leading to Taylor leaving the club that had restored his reputation in the game.

After another failed managerial appointment in the form of Phil Parkinson, Pearson appointed Phil Brown as a coach to give him some experience to help guide him.

During this period Pearson saw that he had taken the Tigers as far as he could. He didn't have the financial backing to make a real and sustainable push from Championship relegation battlers unless he could get more money into the club.
He managed to do this in the form of Russell Bartlett, who had looked at buying West Ham but had found the asking price too high. So it was that Pearson sold Hull City to Bartlett for £10 million.

His last act before handing over the reigns to new Chairman Paul Duffen was to promote Brown from caretaker to permanent manager. The new regime helped to bring about the unthinkable for Hull City fans: promotion to the Premiership, and survival for another season.

However, after all of Pearson's prudence and emphasis on financial sustainability, that soon disappeared under Duffen's tenure. So after a fantastic 2008, the year 2009 was a complete disaster, culminating in the return of Pearson this month. But where does that leave Brown?

Pearson was in discussions with Bartlett about taking the executive chairman's position prior to the away fixture at Turf Moor, Burnley, and was in the director's box watching the display. Unfortunately for the Tigers, despite a valiant and spirited performance, they were undone by a shocking display form the ref.

However, it was enough for Pearson to let Brown keep his job, at least for another week. Stoke City travelled to the KC the following week, and Brown's players did not disappoint. An emphatic display from the team, led by fit again Jimmy Bullard, saw Hull control the game for almost all of the 90 minutes, beating the Potters 2-1.
The last two performances have left Pearson with a reasonably easy scenario to handle. Brown's handling of the team and the performances have meant that Pearson can leave well alone and concentrate on getting the club back on the right financial track.

It also appears that he has told Brown to control his media appearances. Prior to Pearson's return, Brown has had a number of foot-in-mouth situations that have left the club as the hunting ground for the story-hungry media. The handling of the media after the Stoke City victory by the club's assistant manager, Brian Horton, would appear to be the result of Pearson's direct interjection. This will allow Brown to focus his attention on the team and take the target off his back that the media have firmly attached.

If the result of the Stoke game had been different, or at least the display had been as lacklustre as some of the club's recent outings, then Pearson would had to have addressed Brown's recent failings.

There have been rumours circulating that Darren Ferguson left Peterborough because of interest from the Tigers. This rumour seems hard to believe. When Pearson appointed Parkinson after the debacle of Peter Taylor's switch to Crystal Palace, Pearson set his standard to a new up-and-coming manager that was supposed to be the one to take the club to the next level. That didn't happen, and it would seem quite hard to believe that he would let lightning strike twice.

Pearson has not been in charge very long, and it is still too soon to say whether he will stick with Brown as manager in the long term, but the Tigers have an overbloated roster either way. However, the players are more than capable of keeping the club in the Premiership, and Pearson knows this.

He also knows that you don't become a bad manager overnight. By making Brown take more of a back seat at press conferences and post-match interviews, he can concentrate on the team's on-field actions. It will once again allow the name of Hull City to be on the forefront, not Phil Brown's.

Ultimately, it does not matter what happens behind the scenes with the new regime. For Brown and Hull City's survival, it is vitally important that the players remain fully fit and the performances on the field remain 100 percent committed. If that happens, Adam Pearson, Phil Brown, and Hull City fans will be happy.