Hull. Dark, brooding, miserable wet Hull. In the beautiful wet North. The North. Where we do what we want. My North. My Hull. But it isn't. The Hull that used to be my Hull, but has been snatched away. Kidnapped, held hostage. Tortured. Abducted and slain.
He's there. There. In my old office. The office that was mine. Behind my old desk. The desk that was mine. Reading my old, yellowing, well thumbed, dog-eared copy of 'Football Tactics for The Northern Gent', that copy of 'Football Tactics for The Northern Gent' signed by t'auther. T'auther who's my hero. Big Sam. Big Sam Allardyce. The man. The moustache. The legend. That was all mine. Mine until that Frenchman. That tall, all knowing Frenchman denied me. Denied my Hull. Denied me a result.
And he's there. Dowie. Ian bloody Dowie. The Trouble Shooter. The learned Southerner. The Southerner who left a palace to go North, but went South instead, to a valley. Here. In my chair. My players. Geovanni. Geovanni, the most British Brazillian you've ever met. Jimmy. Nicky. Jimmy and Nicky, my two warriors. My two park fighters. Fighting for me. My pride. My Hull. Boaz. George. Jozey. My lads. My fighters. And now he's here. The Trouble Shooter. Face like a Cleethorpes morning. A Cleethorpes morning in the drizzle. Sat there, reading, absorbing.
"'Gardening Leave.' Bollocks. Bollocks to that. I'll be down t'tanning salon. Top up. Orange top-up. Like a mobile phone, me."
Absorbing the chapters. The chapters he wrote. Big Sam. The Walrus. Chapter 1; Long Ball. Chapter 2; Kick 'em High. Chapter 3; Buy 'em low. Chapter 4; Sell 'em High. Chapter 5; Wait for t'England Job. Chapters 6 through 8; Keep Waiting for t'England Job. Chapter 9; Go to Newcastle and Chapter 9.5; Leave Newcastle. And finally, Chapter 10; Stay up North. A Bible. A Gospel. A Vision, A Dream. My Dream. My wet Dream. No his. His with a face like a Grimsby curb. A voice like a Cockney drain. Northern Irish?! No way. No way is he. A thief mind. A Southern thief. Stealing my Hull. My office. My Players. And that Frenchman. His cheating, diving, ball playing Southern team of foreigners. Cost me my job. My life. My Hull. My beautiful, brooding, blinding Hull. Bastard!
The letter box squeaks it's eerie tune. P45. P45 flopping like a North sea herring onto my 'Please Wipe Your Feet' mat. 'Gardening Leave.' Bollocks. Bollocks to that. I'll be down t'tanning salon. Top up. Orange top-up. Like a mobile phone, me.
I'll be back. Can't keep Phil Brown down. Can't keep a winner down. I'll be watching Dowie, watching and waiting.
And as for you Arsene. You can stick your Arsenal. Stick your plaudits. Stick your yob captain with his leather jacket, jeans and hoody. Stick your Champions League. Stick your Canal+ punditry. I'm Phil Brown. I am Hull. I'll be watching you too."
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