Friday, 19 March 2010

The Brown Stuff

Just sometimes, Hull City fans really p___ me off…

It’s been one “Hull” of a week for supporters of The Tigers, a group I still number myself among even though my other commitments render me somewhat detached from the club these days.
First there was the departure of Phil Brown on “Gardening Leave”, just a day or so after one of the Tigers’ grittiest performances of the season.
Then, following much speculation about his possible successor in the media – Megson, Hughes, Curbishley, Coppell, Venables and Grant all commanding air time and column inches – the man eventually unveiled as Adam Pearson’s chosen one turns out to be somebody who allegedly once described a move to Hull as “a slap in the face” for his family (a quote that has since been strenuously denied I may add).
As the City Chairman has since acknowledged, Iain Dowie’s appointment at the KC Stadium may not possess the “Wow!” factor so craved by many fans (although looking at the earlier list, how many do?) but is it really deserving of some of the vitriol it has provoked? I don’t think so.
It is at times like this that I ought to steer clear of message boards, forums and radio phone-ins. I get wound-up too easily. Some of the stuff I’ve read and heard in the wake of Browny’s departure and Dowie’s arrival has been little short of pathetic.
Wednesday night was a case in point. First caller to Radio Humberside’s Sports Talk was Gavin, a “long-time Hull City supporter”.
Now I’ll admit, I’ve got issues with the Gavin in question (for if I’m not mistaken - and forgive me if I am - I’m almost certain from the sound of his voice that it was Gavin Kenny, one-time manager of Hedon United during their Humber Premier League days).
For a start I never did like the way he belittled our style of play during the time it was customary for The Eastenders to give his side a good whipping. However, that’s a side issue. More pertinent here is the fact that up until, ooh let me see, about 2008, this very same “long-time Hull City supporter” had had a funny way of showing his allegiance; which, every time I saw him, involved wearing at least one item of clothing bearing the logo of Newcastle United!
But even allowing for this second source of irritation – and let’s remember dear reader that my formative years were built around support for the Leeds team that Don built so perhaps I should cast no stones – the caller then further reinforced my suspicions that he’s a typical “KC-come-lately” (as Marcus Dysch refers to his ilk in his fine Daring To Dream blog ) by talking complete b______s about how his “fellow” City fans should receive their new boss at Pompey this weekend. He then went on to say he knew “many” supporters who had already decided to rip-up their 2010/11 season pass renewal forms in protest, showing just how strongly they all felt (although if they were existing pass-holders these forms would have already had to be returned.  Hmm).

Sadly Gavin wasn’t the only one and as the show went on I became more and more dismayed by the prevailing negativity. Whether it was the respective merits and/or timing of Brown’s sacking or the choice of his replacement, Adam Pearson received a caning from those who only months earlier had labelled him a “saviour”. Indeed at one point somebody texted in to label the Tigers Chairman “a total disgrace”. In fairness this was in response to the unfortunate dismissal of Brian Horton that followed the arrival of Dowie’s own backroom staff but even so…
Not surprisingly the national media were also at it. This piece by Louise Taylor in The Guardian in the immediate wake of Brown’s demise was typical of some of the crap spouted over the course of the week.
Thankfully, articles like the above can always be counter-balanced by the likes of Matthew Rudd’s in When Saturday Comes. And when Sports Talk really gets me down I now know I can rely on the aforementioned Mr Dysch and others to put a more balanced and often better-informed slant on proceedings. In similar vein I urge you to read the excellent Boyhood Dreams and equally enjoyable Three O’Clock At Kempton blogs. You might just achieve a much-needed sense of perspective.
Don’t get me wrong. I too was underwhelmed by Dowie’s appointment. However, I must also add that in the days since, the things I’ve heard and read both the new manager and his chairman say have given me renewed optimism.
Phil Brown helped provide me with certainly the greatest sporting day of my life and for that he will never be forgotten. But it should also be remembered that when first appointed, the reaction among many City fans was not too dissimilar to that which has greeted the arrival of Dowie. Who’s to say the new man can’t take The Tiger Nation on another memorable journey?
And at least give the guy a chance before turning into Gavin.

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