Why We Should All Support Hull City, Part II

Last year, in a fit of mad admiration for the improbable success story that was early-season Hull City FC, I wrote a post about how we should all admire the Tigers because of how well they were doing – even beating Arsenal, the uppity buggers – without the brand appeal, star power or financial clout of bigger clubs. Naturally that all fell right to shit very quickly after I wrote that post, and Hull had to scrape through to escape relegation. But still, they had impressed me, and I felt it needed to be said.

And now, for some ungodly reason, I feel the need to say it again.

(Now, again, just for the record – I’m an Arsenal fan through and through. Having some respect for Hull is merely academic, and on game day, when the Gunners line up against them, I’ll be baying for Hull’s blood like they were anyone else.)

Mostly, I just can’t get enough of Phil Brown. A Scottish man with a hugely unnatural tan (I have Scottish blood in me, and, as with pretty much every other Scottish person, you can see all that blood through my ghostly pale skin

Photo: nicksarebi

), he’s just got some kind of odd charm that makes him at once sleazy and engaging. Maybe it’s his facial hair, and its various states of unrest (lots! less! none! what?!). Maybe it’s the fact that he looks like a gigolo. Certainly it has something to do with his unorthodox management style. He may get no end of crap for sitting his players down for an on-field bollocking at halftime last year against Man City, but quite frankly I respect that move. Hull played like children and so – this is the refreshing bit – they were treated like children, no matter how many tens of thousands of dollars they were making each week.

The public chat didn’t really help, sadly, and Hull couldn’t shake its poor form. They’ve suffered into this year, too,  the troubles coming to an agonizing peak in a 6-1 trouncing by Liverpool.  Brown’s job was on the line after that massacre, and so he went back to his wacky bag of zany tricks to win a solution. He closed the cafeteria at Hull’s training ground (almost literally sending his players to their rooms without dinner), confiscated a dart board from the player’s lounge and, it seems, broke the coffee machine. I don’t know if this got the players’ attention, really. It’s hard to tell, mostly because Brown’s next act couldn’t but overshadow everything else.

Digging deep, he pulled out the most improbable of solutions to rally the troops to victory: he saved a woman’s life. In front of the whole team.

Sounds ridiculous, I know, but by god it’s true. Brown had taken he whole team on what was meant to be a collective head-clearing stroll through Hull when they happened upon a poor soul about to toss herself and her problems off of the Humber Bridge. Brown managed, with the whole squad presumably standing awkwardly behind him, to talk the woman off the edge, saving her life. Talk about perspective. Suddenly a 0-4-1 record ain’t such a huge problem, in the grand scheme of things.

Did it work? Well, Hull got their first victory that week, beating a Wigan side that would go on to beat league-leaders Chelsea. So, yeah, it seems to have. They face Fulham on the 19th, so we’ll have to see. But I can’t think of anything a manager can do, short of vaporizing opposition defenders with lasers from his eyes, that could better earn him the respect and trust of his players.

So, I guess that’s it. Last year I had all kinds of reasons for why we should support Hull City. This year there’s just one: Phil Brown. He’s utterly ridiculous, in a tanned and creepily mustachioed kind of way.

But he’s saved a woman’s life, and possibly Hull’s season. You be hard-pressed to not admire that.

3 Responses to “Why We Should All Support Hull City, Part II”

  1. Wenger would have let her jump and then blamed Sir Alex.

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