Hull City A.F.C.’s embattled manager Phil Brown is said to face immediate dismissal if his side can’t defeat Burnley tomorrow, a circumstance that has When Saturday Comes Daily’s Chris Donkin recalling the scene outside KC Stadium shortly after the Tigers secured promotion in 2008. “In the big league everyone knows your team,” sighs Donkin, “and unfortunately that also means everyone knows when they lose 5-0, too.”
A ridiculous queue formed quickly outside the ground. Some of the new army of fans were seen wearing Liverpool and Manchester United shirts. One of the overnight queuers summed up the attitude of the glory supporters perfectly when asked by BBC Radio Humberside: “So, what are you looking forward to seeing next season?” He replied, with little thought: “I can’t wait to see Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney in action.”
Seeing your club’s popularity grow should be a good thing. The problem is that the new fans have hopelessly unrealistic expectations. For most, City only entered their consciousness when Dean Windass powered home the winner in the play-off final against Bristol City, after a season where the team won far more games than they lost. As a result they expect the side to win every week and if they don’t the manager gets the blame and has to go.
Longer-term fans have better memories and you will hear few true supporters calling for Phil Brown’s head. Were it not for Brown the club would have certainly been relegated from the Championship in 2007. Then by the end of his first full season he’d rebuilt the team and achieved promotion to the top tier for the first time in the club’s history. Of course, when the inevitable happens and City’s tenure among the elite expires, these new fans are the ones most likely to not renew their tickets and go back to their armchairs to watch Man Utd rather than trek to watch a rainy Tuesday evening match against Blackpool.