Come Hull or high water
A frankly bizarre story yesterday, with Hull City, and their colourful (that colour predominantly being orange) manager Phil Brown, playing their part in some sort of Samaritian-esque fable.
Brown decided that he would take his players for a walk, as part of his efforts to turn around what has been a poor start to the season. I’ll let Phil himself take up the story:
“I have been up on the Humber Bridge many times. I walk over the Humber on many nights in the week. I was born on the river [Tyne] and I get strength from the river.
“We were looking for clarity up there. Did we find it? Absolutely. When you are jogging you cannot speak, when you are walking you can.”
But clarity was not all they found.
“We walked across the Humber Bridge on Wednesday and saved a girl actually.
“She was considering her future, shall we say, but you never know whether somebody is just standing there until they jump. But there was no need to be up there unless you were a football team looking for inspiration. Maybe she must have seen us and thought ‘at least it’s not that bad’. Well for me in particular – not the players.
“She was claiming she was 40-plus, but she looked a lot younger I tell you. Nobody said she was going to jump. She was contemplating her future, but so was I. In the end she tootled off back to wherever she had come from. I’d sweet-talked her out of it.”
Brown then completed his fable with a lesson. I can’t tell if he is mad, some sort of benevolent genius or a modern-day Confucius.
“The bridge was built with modern-day engineering so that when an ill-wind blows, it gets stronger. The weight bears down harder and it becomes a sturdier structure.”
I have something of a soft spot for Hull and hope they stay up, and hope that Phil Brown sticks around. He certainly makes the Premier League a more interesting place, and it’s good to see that eccentricity can still survive in sport. And after this week’s events, he’s a bit of a hero, really.
Please though, if they stay up, no more singing from Phil Brown. For some reason this reminds me of the dreadful joke about Malcolm Allison and Clough in their heyday. Big Mal is taking a walk along the River Trent the evening before Manchester City’s big match at Nottingham Forest. He slips and falls into the river and starts to drown. Quite by chance Cloughie is walking nearby and hears Mal’s cries for help. he dives in, pulls him to the bank and drags him out of the water. When he’s recovered Mal is extremely grateful but has a favour to ask of Clough. ‘Please don’t tell my players I can’t swim. They might lose respect for me.’ ‘Of course not, Mal,’ says Cloughie, ‘As long as you don’t tell my players that I can’t walk on water.’
As for Phil Brown’s singing, I’m a big fan of embarassing sporting moments. Delia Smith at Norwich was an absolute classic – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_8JLkwzpd0
David Pleat’s ‘dance’ is probably the king of embarrassing football moments.