Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sing When You're Losing


Has there ever been a more embarrassing reaction to a defeat than Phil Brown strutting onto the pitch microphone in hand for a spot of impromptu karaoke ?

Let’s not forget that he was celebrating losing at home to a reserve team, thus reaching the giddy heights of fourth worst team in the league. In terms of buttock-clenching television, Brown’s determined attempt to “sing when you’re losing” is right up there with Cliff serenading the ladies at Wimbledon with “Living Doll” and Delia’s half-time howl of “let’s be having you”.

Brown’s bizarre response completely ignored a dreadful run of form during which his team recorded 15 defeats in their last 22 games. It’s hardly cause for celebration that Hull survived in the Premier League only thanks to the staggering ineptitude of their north east neighbours, Newcastle and Middlesbrough, though there would have been dancing in the streets of Zurich if somehow Hull had managed to stay up, while relegating the South Shields messiah.

Brown, of course, has previous in what could most kindly be described as an eventful first season in the top tier. His whole approach has positively screamed out for attention. “That’s enough about me, let’s talk about me”. Even when he was being interviewed following the Great Escape, you could see the irritation in his eyes when his chairman muscled in on his moment. He described narrowly evading the drop as “my greatest achievement”. Note the considered use of the personal pronoun. No thanks due to the players, fans, backroom staff, chairman ? Nope – any success is all down to the perma-tanned buffoon, the loud-mouthed loser with the headset. “Hello, it’s me. I’m in the technical area”.

We had already been given some idea of Brown’s approach to man management on Boxing Day, when he single-handedly demonstrated how to lose a dressing room in 15 minutes by keeping his players on the pitch like naughty schoolboys for the half-time team talk against Manchester City. An altercation with Geovanni then followed after he substituted his Brazilian striker to the displeasure of the fans. Brown's reaction ? When informed that Geovanni was undergoing a drugs test, he informed the press conference, "hopefully, they'll find that positive". Laugh ? I thought I'd never start.

Still, at least it's clear who's in charge at Hull. Or maybe not if you consider the behaviour of some of his players last season. Marlon King developed an impressive rap sheet: driving ban, fighting with Dean Windass in a local casino and then getting arrested for assault in a London strip club. His judgment in the transfer market can also be called into question following the acquisition of the perennially crocked Jimmy Bullard from a delighted Fulham for a record £5 million. Bullard duly got injured in his very first game.

He also proved to be on shaky ground after the FA Cup defeat to Arsenal, when he accused Cesc Fabregas of spitting, first at his assistant manager, then at the ground, as well as other major crimes such as “being on the pitch after the game” and “being dressed in the manner in which he was dressed”.

This is curiously reminiscent of the classic “Constable Savage” sketch from “Not The Nine O’Clock News” in the early 80s, featuring Rowan Atkinson and Griff Rhys Jones. This was a swipe at racism in the police force in which a white policeman repeatedly arrests a black man for offences such as “loitering with intent to use a pedestrian crossing”, “smelling of foreign food”, “urinating in a public convenience”, “looking at me in a funny way” and “possession of curly black hair and thick lips”.

Brown’s comments smack of xenophobia and those parts of the media that immediately took his side against the foreign player should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. The gormless goatee’s hasty post-match rant was somewhat undermined when the FA subsequently cleared Cesc of the spitting charges, maybe because video evidence reportedly showed Cesc still on the pitch while the Hull staff were in the tunnel.

The best thing to come out of this spat (see what I did there ?) is a BBC 5 Live interview which showed the whole world that Phil Brown is not only a complete tool, but demonstrably a liar, as he claimed that Arsene Wenger would not shake his hand after either the Hull victory at The Emirates, nor after Arsenal’s win at the KC, only for photos and videos of said handshakes to appear on the web the very same day.

Could this be the same Phil Brown who penned an article in November’s Daily Telegraph entitled “How can you criticise Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger ?” It’s funny how defeat can affect your point of view. Come on, mate, it’s clear that you’ve been tangoed.

I don’t suppose we should be too shocked at Brown’s shameful displays this season, as his mentor and “mate” is our old friend, “Big” Sam Allardyce, a man responsible for some of the most negative, one dimensional, cheating, time-wasting, dirty football that this country has ever seen. Hardly surprising that this season’s Fair Play League had Hull City (manager P Brown) in last position, only just below Blackburn Rovers (Manager S Allardyce). Truly, Phil Brown is the Son of Sam.

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