Phil Brown - The Hull City Years (part 3)

Last updated : 16 March 2010 By Carolina Tiger

The last day Houdini act meant that the Brown and Hull City seriously needed to find new blood to bolster a team that had the Premier League's second worst defence, and one of the worst home records ever recorded in Premiership history. Hull City's Championship goal-scoring hero Fraizer Campbell was a major target for Brown, from Manchester United and a fee of around £6 million was accepted but Campbell was away on England Under-21 at the European Championship, and he stalled until the point that he joined Sunderland.

Michael Owen was also a summer target after getting relegated with Newcastle, but when Manchester United came calling, Brown lost out again. Marc-Antoine Fortune was targeted but he chose to team up with his former manager at Celtic rather than signing with the Tigers.

It was looking like Brown was the bridesmaid never the bride in his attempts to sign a much-needed striker. The tabloid press and some of the Tiger-nation blamed the second half of the season on Brown's on-field dressing down of the players at Eastlands.

Then came the signatures of Stephen Hunt from Reading for £3.5million, Seyi Olofinjana for £3m from Stoke City, Kamel Ghilas from Celta Vigo for £1.7m and Jozy Altidore the young American striker on loan from Villareal, leaving the club and its fans feeling better about the club and Brown's squad.

Brown also managed to captured the signature of the Dutch international Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink who was out of contract after leaving Celtic during the summer.

However, during this period the experienced Sam Ricketts was sold to rivals Bolton Wanderers with no replacement immediately on the horizon, which seemed to be a very bizarre turn of events. This was to look even stranger when at the start of the season Michael Turner, arguably the Tigers' best player, was sold to Sunderland for an undisclosed fee, with Paul McShane going in the opposite direction.

The new season continued as the last one ended with the team playing backs-to-the-wall football and conceding goals like the Titanic taking in water, and the strikers failing to find the net.

The new signings brought with them huge wages with the club allegedly having an annual wage bill in the region of £40 million, which puts the club as the seventh highest in the Premiership. Add to this the £5 million that the club paid out to player agents involved in the transfers and it is not looking rosy for the club.

The financial mess ultimately lead to Duffen leaving his post as the Club Chairman, and with the late filing of the Club's taxes and his inability to get any of the high profile signings that the Club targeted it was proving harder for Duffen to have any credibility.

Duffen's staunch faith in Brown did not help him keep his position. Duffen backed his manager and friend on a number of occasions, even insulting Hull City fans in the process.

With the appointment of Adam Pearson the Club looked like it was stabalising after a turbulent couple of years. Pearson said he would give Brown some time to sort out the club's on-field woes. He attempted to offload some of the club's bloated playing list with only a modicum of success.

Pearson's tenure is tied very closely with the affairs of Brown and the team on the playing field but it appears that the sporadic performances have blotted his copy book.

Immediately after the arrival of Pearson and Brown's stay of execution the team went on a mini-revival, gaining eight points from a possible 12 that coincided with the return of record signing Jimmy Bullard, but it didn't last as Bullard sustained another injury and the club's form dipped yet again.

Since Pearson's return the club have only gained 16 points out of a possible 54, with Brown's side not wining any matches away from home and only drawing two. This has culminated in the Tigers going on a losing streak since early February, when the team beat Manchester City at the KC Stadium in one of Hull City's finest ever performances.

Despite the club languishing in the relegation zone three points adrift of safety, the tenure of Phil Brown has had its highs and lows. Would the club have ever played at Wembley without him? Would we have won promotion to the top flight without him? Would we have had such a fantastic first season without him? Whatever your answers, without a doubt it has never been boring with Brown at the helm.