11 November 2009 ~ If Bob Cass from the Mail on Sunday is to be believed, Phil Brown will be unemployed by the end of the week. The back page story confidently predicted that Brown would not last, regardless of Sunday's result against Stoke City. The article has gained more substance with news that one of the supposed candidates, Darren Ferguson, has left his job at Peterborough. Combine that with the sight of Hull City's assistant manager taking the press conference after Sunday's win and you can begin to understand why the rumours are persisting over Brown's future.
Yet Hull are not in as much peril as the press will have you believe. They currently sit outside the relegation zone in a very congested Premier League table. A quick glance at the Hull City forums shows that Brown enjoys a majority of the fans support. Considering there are other managers and teams that are not performing to the best of their abilities, it seems strange that Brown has been singled out as a manager in serious trouble – only Rafa Benítez appears to be taking the same criticism in the national press. Given that the club also face all sort of financial problems, reported by David Conn in Wednesday's Guardian, it seems a little harsh that Brown should take all the blame.
Aside from the Mail on Sunday's story other reports have suggested that Steve Coppell has been lined up as Brown's replacement in much the same way that Gordon Strachan was pencilled in for the Middlesbrough job before the incumbent Gareth Southgate was dismissed. But Hull have three winnable games coming up – at home to West Ham, Everton and Blackburn – while the newly returned chairman Adam Pearson was the man who appointed Brown in the first place.
With regards to Ferguson, Pearson will know that Hull's last experiment with a young inexperienced manager, Phil Parkinson, ended in December 2006 with the club second from bottom in the Championship. If Phil Brown is turfed out before his club's next League fixture it it will be harsh on a man who deserves to be remembered for more then having a fake tan. Sean Bower