Hull City: How It All Went Right
In the aftermath of Hull City's battling draw at Eastlands against Manchester City, the football world is starting to ask just how did the Tigers season get the much needed kick up the backside?
There may be no one single reason why, but many have seen the Tigers gain eight points from a possible 12 in the past four games with two very good wins and two well deserved draws. This is in stark contrast to the meagre three wins in 30 previous games.
The Hull City revival looks to have been sparked by the return of Adam Pearson, but this would be a very simplistic view just as the media pinpointed the half time team talk at Eastlands last season as the point were Hull City's demise began.
Jimmy Bullard's equalising goal celebration at the behest of Paul McShane and Stephen Hunt was a mock up of Phil Brown's half time team talk. This helped to disprove the misconception that Phil Brown lost his dressing room and was still looking for it somewhere in the vicinity of the KC Stadium car park.
However, the return of Adam Pearson can't be ruled out as one of the major turning points in Hull City's season. His arrival made Phil Brown focus his energy. Brown's relationship with the previous Chairman Paul Duffen was far too much as one of friends on a journey. Pearson has returned the Manager-Chairman relationship to the tiered nature it demands. Brown had previously been on family vacations with Duffen and that is something that is never going to happen with Pearson.
Pearson has the club's best interests at heart after the journey he took the club on when he took over the failing Tigers way back in 2001. He won't let his heart lead his head and I feel he has let Brown realise that if he wants to remain in charge he needs to put Hull City first not Phil Brown.
It is an interesting point that under Sam Alladyce's tutelage Brown learnt that if he was publicising Phil Brown, he was publicising Hull City, as Alladyce did at Bolton Wanderers for so many years. Although, this worked well for Alladyce at Bolton because they grew slowly and steadily. At Hull City, Brown was thrust front and centre into the media spotlight because of the meteoric rise for the club in it's debut Premier League season.
Brown tried to play the same sort of role as Aladyce, but as anyone who knows the British media, they can turn on you for looking the wrong way, and that is what they decided at Eastlands last year. Brown had over stepped his welcome and the media put a huge target on his back.
Pearson has made him take more of a back seat in the PR stakes in order to get his very talented manager back on track. So far this seems to be working.
Another point that needs to be addressed is the return to fitness of key players. Yes, the major talking point has been Jimmy Bullard because of the record fee paid for him by the Club but just as important if not more so is the return to fitness of Anthony Gardner in the centre of defence.
Gardner's career has been blighted by injuries. He was picked for England whilst at Tottenham Hotspurs but due to injury was sidelined then struggled to win his place back. He went to Everton on loan and got another injury, which helped the Tigers to sign him but yet again he has suffered by long term injuries.
The team has looked more solid at the back whenever he has pulled on the Amber and Black of the Tigers but so far in his Hull City career it has been on too few occasions. Coupled with this the loss of Michael Turner to Sunderland for a bargain basement price his return to full fitness could not have come at a better time.
Another string to the Tiger's resurgent bow is the gelling of a team that has had to swap and change due to new players, and international fixtures. The players brought in to the fold this season have been playing all over the world in vital World Cup clashes.
Jozy Altidore was playing for the US National team in Mexico, Honduras, and Costa Rica. For a young player with undoubted talent, the challenge of getting to know your new team mates and international travel, it can leave you jetlagged and fatigued. It has been an uphill struggle for the young man.
Yet, despite this, we are starting to see the players full potential. His strength, pace and energy are making the Hull City forward line a formidable force, and a definate handful for defenders.
Kamel Ghilas was away playing for Algeria in the hot bed of Egypt then the sudden death play-off in the Sudan to qualify for the World Cup. Stephen Hunt, Kevin Kilbane and Paul McShane have all been involved in a little match with no small amount of controversy.
The Republic of Ireland's recent playoff against France could have distracted them but if anything it has made them more focused and determined to demonstrate their abilities.
As a fan of football and Hull City in general, I find the thought that Hull City's season was destroyed by the half time team talk at Eastlands ludicrous. Football isn't that simple. The players on the field that day knew they had let down their manager, their fans and their team mates. Brown didn't loose the dressing room that day, he lost the media that day, the PR battle was lost.
Pearson's return has made Brown, the players, and the fans get realistic about the Hull City again. Paul Duffen, for all of his media background, was not very good at the public relations game. After the club's fine start to last season telling the world that we would be qualifying for Europe was naive in the extreme.
Pearson is more level headed and grounded. he knows that we need time to grow. We need to get our football boot truly in the door of the Premiership and get established as a team and that doesn't come over night.
Brown isn't without fault but if he had had good leadership form his chairman then he would not have been put in the situations that he has by the media. Brown has made some very good signings and if they can remain fit and healthy, his team will flourish in the Premiership.
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