Saturday, 31 October 2009

We've had our Phil

Everyone thinks Phil Brown is a dead man walking, and the only reason he is in charge of Hull City as we travel to Burnley today is because there isn't yet a chairman in power to sack him.

Should this be the case, Brown will know this better than anyone. His slightly uppity press conference two days ago, brought forward by 24 hours to coincide with Paul Duffen's departure from the boardroom, claimed he had the support of the players to "one million per cent" and that football wasn't the reason for Duffen's departure.

We'll leave aside the bald contradiction with Duffen's own post-resignation blarney. What is more interesting is Brown's claim that the players are "one million per cent" behind him. Assuming he is claiming this of every player in his squad, as opposed to just the ones featuring currently on his teamsheet, then it's impossible, implausible and misleading. If he thinks for a minute that the likes of Daniel Cousin and Craig Fagan support him, as well as a couple of others out on loan, he is quite mad.

Were Cousin and Fagan, however, incongruously behind their troubled gaffer, then that would presumably give him no hesitation in re-introducing them to the squad at Turf Moor after a few weeks each of exile prompted by a row with Brown. But from a purely selfish viewpoint, I'd rather he didn't bring them back. Fagan is not a favourite of this blog anyway, despite the odd 90 minutes of industry that makes all his daftness forgiveable, but Cousin has been a crazy omission of late. That said, with the Tigers needing a win desperately, the last thing Brown should do is hand a desperate olive branch to two players who would rather see the back of him.

I really don't know how many players are behind Brown to the full percentage (let's revert to the traditional one hundred rather than Brown's panicky hyperbole) but the ones of whose backing he can be certain need to be the ones he picks today. The professionalism of the others would be called into question if they played poorly in the public knowledge that a boss they can't bear will be packing his bags if they lose, but while Brown's departure is a necessity, we still need points urgently and no player should put his personal feelings before those of any supporter paying in both financial and emotional terms to be there.

And whatever happens today and on Monday, one hopes Brown will come to the Tiger Nation and offer some applause. The only set of supporters in football that has not turned on him is the set that watches his team every week. He has to go, but we can remain proud of ourselves for not once using the acoustics of a football ground to say so, and hopefully Brown will realise this.