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Opinion: Is Phil Brown the man to save PNE?

Posted on - 28th January, 2011 - 12:30pm | Author - | Posted in - Preston North End, Sport

There’s no doubt that Phil Brown has a big job to save Preston North End from relegation.

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But he’s no stranger to the current situation the Whites find themselves in.

As Hull manager, his reputation took a battering after the infamous half-time team talk he conducted on the pitch. It left football fans around the country shocked and amazed by such a strange move.

After that game, Hull went into freefall and Brown became a laughing stock.

Constant media appearances, improper conduct charges and a poor run of results saw Brown go from hero to zero for many onlookers.

What they forget is that in his first season at Hull, Brown saved them from relegation to League One, then earned promotion to the Premier League the very next season.

Hull had an amazing honeymoon period in the top flight, memorably winning at White Hart Lane and the Emirates.

Amazingly, they sat in the top six at Christmas, but after that team talk on Boxing Day, the wheels came off spectacularly.

The fact is that Hull still survived the season and had a second season in the Premier League. Relegation followed, but Brown had left before the drop.

He certainly left a lasting impression on Hull, with some Tigers fans adopting North End as their favourite second team after his appointment.

And Brown’s time at Hull has shown he can win a relegation fight against all odds.

During last week’s fans forum at Deepdale, Brown displayed the enthusiasm, confidence and self-belief that won over many Hull supporters.

Former manager Darren Ferguson had repeatedly said he was the right man for the job, but many Preston fans were left waiting to find out how he intended to get out of the relegation mess.

Brown has already made it clear that to stay up, Preston need to stop the opposition playing.

Salvaging last minute points against Leicester and Middlesborough demonstrates battling qualities, and a belief that lady luck will eventually change her ways.

And North End will need this and much more to beat the drop.

Under Ferguson, Preston won just 11 times in 45 matches, with one of the worst home records in the country.

While there was no shortage of goals, Preston conceded far too many. As great a night as it was at Elland Road in September, you can’t come from 4-1 down and win 6-4 every week.

Brown believes this is a new chapter for him and Preston will one day see the Premier League.

This may be a pipe-dream given the current predicament, but who envisaged Hull getting promotion and staying up in 2009?

And just look what Blackpool achieved against the odds in 2010.

Brown may not be the man to bring beautiful football to the table and has courted controversy many times during his managerial career.

Preston’s survival chances this season may be slim, but if there’s a man who knows what it takes to beat the drop, it’s Phil Brown.

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