Phil Brown (footballer, born 1959)

Phil Brown

Brown in 2005
Personal information
Full name Philip Brown
Date of birth (1959-05-30) 30 May 1959
Place of birth South Shields, County Durham, England
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Playing position Right back
Club information
Current team
Southend United (manager)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1978–1985 Hartlepool United 217 (8)
1985–1988 Halifax Town 135 (19)
1988–1994 Bolton Wanderers 256 (14)
1994–1996 Blackpool 44 (5)
Total 652 (46)
Teams managed
1999 Bolton Wanderers (caretaker)
2005–2006 Derby County
2006–2010 Hull City
2011 Preston North End
2013– Southend United

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Philip "Phil" Brown (born 30 May 1959) is an English former professional footballer, coach and manager. He is currently manager of League One club Southend United. As a player, Brown was a right-back who made over six hundred league appearances in an eighteen-year career, but never made it to the top flight. However, as a manager, he became the first to lead Hull City to the top division in their 104-year history, winning the Championship play-offs in 2008 after a 1–0 win against Bristol City at Wembley.

Since 2011, Brown has appeared as a match summariser on BBC Radio 5 Live as well as the station's sport panel show Fighting Talk, winning for the first time on 5 May 2012.

Playing career

Born in South Shields, County Durham and educated in the North East,[1] Brown started his career playing Sunday league football for South Shields side Red Duster in the South Shields Business Houses League, in the same team as Ray Dunbar and Bobby Davison, who went on to play for Derby County and Leeds United.

As a professional, Brown played at full back for many years with Hartlepool United, followed by a spell at Halifax Town (with fellow north easterner Billy Ayre at both clubs and under him at the latter),[2] In 1988 he moved to Bolton Wanderers, winning the Associate Members Cup in 1989.[3]

Brown joined Blackpool in 1994, playing under Sam Allardyce until 1996 while also being his assistant manager.

Managerial career


Brown started taking his coaching badges while playing for Bolton, encouraged by Bruce Rioch.[4] His first coaching role was as assistant to Sam Allardyce at Blackpool.[5] He returned to Bolton Wanderers after his playing career ended and served as assistant manager to Colin Todd. Following Todd's departure in 1999, he took charge of the team as caretaker manager, winning four games out of five, until the appointment of Sam Allardyce. He then served as Allardyce's assistant for six years, before deciding to forge his own career as a manager.

Derby County

Brown's first full-time senior management position was at Derby County, where he succeeded George Burley in June 2005. His time at Derby County proved to be unsuccessful and he was sacked just seven months into his tenure in January 2006, after a 6–1 league defeat against Coventry City, followed by a 3–1 defeat to Colchester in the FA Cup fourth round. Derby were in 19th place when Brown departed.[6]

Hull City

Brown was appointed as first-team coach at Hull City on 27 October 2006 under Phil Parkinson, and took over as joint caretaker manager alongside Colin Murphy on 4 December 2006 after Parkinson's sacking, with Hull in 22nd place in the Football League Championship. After taking Hull out of the relegation zone with three wins and a draw in the six matches as caretaker manager, he was appointed as the permanent manager of the club on 4 January 2007.

Championship and promotion

Brown went on to lead The Tigers to Championship safety and the following season Hull City won promotion to the top level of English football for the first time in the club's 104-year history, by beating Bristol City at Wembley in the Championship play-off final on 24 May 2008. Brown described this as "the best day of my life, without a shadow of a doubt".[7]

Premier League

Brown was rewarded with a new three-year contract, which he signed on the weekend of Hull City's first ever top-flight match, a 2–1 victory over Fulham on 16 August 2008.[8] On 28 September Brown managed Hull to a 2–1 victory at Arsenal. It was only Arsenal's second-ever defeat at the Emirates Stadium and was described by the Hull press as the greatest victory in the club's history. After a 1–0 victory at bottom of the table Tottenham Hotspur the following weekend, and a 3–0 away victory at the also newly promoted West Bromwich Albion, he was awarded the Manager-of-the-Month award for Hull's performances in September.

The first nine games Hull spent as a top division club resulted in six wins as they occupied third place in the Premier League and were only being kept off the top by Liverpool and Arsenal having superior goal difference.

The remainder of the season was not so easy for Brown, as the team struggled to pick up the remaining points necessary to avoid relegation, and he was involved in several controversial incidents. In November 2008 he was fined £1,000 and warned about his future conduct by the FA after he admitted a charge of improper conduct. The charge related to a game against Wigan in August which Hull lost 5–0.[9] On 26 December 2008, following a poor first half performance by Hull in a league match against Manchester City, Brown conducted his half-time team-talk on the pitch, in full view of the crowd and at the end of the pitch where the Hull supporters had been sitting.[10][11] Brown was again charged with misconduct for his behaviour in an FA Cup tie against Newcastle United in January. During the match Brown and Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear were both sent to the stands after a confrontation in which Brown verbally abused Newcastle's assistant manager Chris Hughton.[12] Brown admitted the charge and was subsequently fined £2,500 and warned as to his future conduct by the Football Association.[13]

On 17 March 2009, Brown claimed that he saw Arsenal midfielder and captain Cesc Fàbregas spit at the feet of his assistant manager Brian Horton following Hull's 2–1 FA Cup defeat and elimination at the Emirates Stadium. Fabregas was cleared of the accusation on 22 May 2009.[14] After the game Brown also falsely claimed that Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger had refused to shake his hand at one of their two previous meetings that season.[15][16][17] Brown faced his third improper conduct charge of the season in relation to comments he made about referee Mike Riley after the Arsenal match. He denied the offence but was found guilty in a June hearing and once again fined £2,500 and warned about his future conduct.[18]

On 24 May 2009, despite suffering a 1–0 loss to a second-string Manchester United side, Brown led Hull City to survival in the Premier League due to Newcastle United losing to Aston Villa.[19] Hull finished in 17th place, one point above Newcastle, who also lost. Brown stated that this was the greatest achievement in his managerial career and the club's history. At the end of the game, Brown went onto the pitch with a microphone and started singing (a modified version of) "Sloop John B" to the crowd.[20]

In the summer of 2009, Brown looked to strengthen his side. He attempted to sign former England international striker Michael Owen and former Tiger Fraizer Campbell, but was unsuccessful. Brown did manage to sign Seyi Olofinjana, Jozy Altidore (on loan from Villarreal), Kamel Ghilas, Stephen Hunt, Paul McShane, and he also signed Ibrahima Sonko on transfer deadline day on loan from Stoke City – after the departure of Michael Turner to Sunderland. Steven Mouyokolo also joined after he was initially purchased on 30 January 2009. Free agent Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink signed for the Tigers on 3 September 2009.

Brown's position as Hull manager was thought to be under threat in November 2009 following a poor start to the season, however a run of eight points from four games dampened such speculation.[21] The team's disciplinary problems also continued, with a £40,000 fine levied following a fracas in a 3–0 defeat at Arsenal and Hull also occupying last place in the Fair Play League.[22] On 15 March 2010 Brown was put on gardening leave at Hull after a run of four defeats left the team in the relegation zone.[23] Hull achieved one win in the last fifteen games under Brown, and a total of five in the 2009–10 league season. His final match was a home defeat to Arsenal.[24] His contract as manager was confirmed ended on 7 June 2010, by which time the Tigers had been relegated under new manager Iain Dowie.[25]

Preston North End

On 6 January 2011, it was announced that Brown would become the new manager of Preston North End,[26] replacing the sacked Darren Ferguson.[27] In his first season at Preston, he was unable to save the club from relegation. He stated that "I nearly broke down in front of the supporters. I hold myself responsible for relegation, end of story" however "Next season we will hit the ground running – one thing is for sure, we'll be able to run".[28]

Brown oversaw a loss in the first game of the 2011–12 season, a 4–2 loss to Colchester, but after this the club went on a winning streak, with strikers Iain Hume, Neil Mellor and Jamie Proctor in top form. However, all 3 strikers got injured, and then the club went from 2nd in the league, with one game in hand to go top, to 10th in the league. This led to a club announcement on 14 December 2011, informing the fans that Brown and assistant Brian Horton had left the club with immediate effect, after a run of bad results.

Southend United

On 25 March 2013 it was announced that Brown would succeed Paul Sturrock as manager of Southend United, 24 hours after Sturrock's dismissal.[29] Having reached the 2013 Football League Trophy Final under Sturrock, Southend lost 2-0 at Wembley on 7 April 2013 under Brown.

In the next two seasons, Brown led Southend United to consecutive play-off competitions, eventually seeing the club promoted to League One in May 2015.

Managerial statistics

As of match played 26 November 2016
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record Ref
Bolton Wanderers (caretaker) 22 September 1999 19 October 1999 6 4 1 1 66.7 [30][31]
Derby County 24 June 2005 30 January 2006 33 7 14 12 21.2 [31]
Hull City 4 December 2006 15 March 2010 157 52 40 65 33.1 [31]
Preston North End 6 January 2011 14 December 2011 51 15 15 21 29.4 [31]
Southend United 25 March 2013 Present 190 75 52 63 39.5 [31]
Total 437 153 122 162 35.0



Bolton Wanderers


Hull City

Southend United


Personal life

Brown is married to Karen, his third wife, and they have two children, Jamie (born 1985) and Sophie (born 2001).[4]

In September 2009, Brown claimed to have saved a suicidal woman from jumping off the Humber Bridge,[34] however The Humber Bridge Board, who operate the bridge, were unaware of the incident.[35]

Brown is a trained electrician, and put his trade to use by carrying out electrical work at Southend's training ground.[36]


  1. "Hull boss Phil Brown takes on Great North Run challenge". Daily Mirror. 16 September 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2009.
  2. "Preece tribute to Billy". Manchester Evening News. 20 April 2002. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
  4. 1 2 Howard, Steven (9 October 2008). "Brown: I worry it will go t*ts up". The Sun. London: News Group Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
  5. "You're a disgrace Brown, says Burgess". Blackpool Gazette. 11 February 2008. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
  6. "Manager Brown given sack by Derby". BBC News. 30 January 2006. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  7. "Managing the Next Step". City magazine. Hull City AFC (34): 20. June 2008.
  8. "Duffen's pride in Tigers". Hull Daily Mail. 18 August 2008. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
  9. Wilson, Steve (19 November 2008). "Hull City manager Phil Brown fined and warned over future conduct by FA". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  10. "Brown makes exhibition of Hull". 27 December 2008. Archived from the original on 27 May 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
  11. Brett, Oliver (26 December 2008). "Man City 5–1 Hull". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
  12. Stewart, Rob (14 January 2009). "Joe Kinnear and Phil Brown see red as Newcastle exit FA Cup". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 26 May 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  13. "FA fines Brown for touchline row". BBC Sport. BBC. 19 March 2009. Retrieved 15 March 2010.
  14. "Football in brief Cesc Fbregas cleared in spitting dispute". The Times. London. 22 May 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  15. "FA probes Fabregas 'spitting' row". BBC Sport. BBC. 18 March 2009. Retrieved 15 March 2010.
  16. Norrish, Mike; Wilson, Steve (18 March 2009). "Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas accused of spitting – Phil Brown has a spat with Arsene Wenger". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  18. Wilson, Steve (24 June 2009). "Phil Brown fined over Arsenal referee comments". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 27 June 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  19. "All The News | Football News". Football365. Archived from the original on 22 March 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  20. "Hull boss Brown leads the singing". BBC Sport. BBC. 24 May 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2009.
  21. Kempson, Russell (15 March 2010). "Rollercoaster ride at Hull for Phil Brown". The Times. London. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  22. "Hull City Bottom of Fair Play League". Hull City Online. 19 January 2010. Archived from the original on 22 January 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  23. "Hull City relieve manager Phil Brown of his duties". BBC Sport. BBC. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2010.
  24. "Phil Brown sacked: Borrowed time finally runs out for Hull boss - News". 15 March 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  25. "Club Statement". Hull City Website. Hull City AFC. 7 June 2010. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  26. "Phil Brown appointed Preston North End's new manager". BBC Sport. 6 January 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  27. "Darren Ferguson sacked as Preston North End boss". BBC. 29 December 2010.
  28. "We can bounce back says Brown". Lancashire Evening Post. 26 April 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  29. "Phil Brown to be new Southend United boss". BBC Sport. 25 March 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  30. "Phil Brown". League Managers Association. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  31. 1 2 3 4 5 "Managers: Phil Brown". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  32. "Brown wins manager of month prize". BBC Sport. 10 October 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2008.
  33. "News | League 2 | League 2 news | Brown named Manager of the Month". The Football League. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  34. Adetunji, Jo (2 October 2009). "Hull City team in high spirits after saving suicidal woman from bridge". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
  35. "Humber Bridge Board unaware of Phil Brown talking down suicide jumper". This is Hull and East Riding. 2 October 2009.
  36. "FA Cup: Phil Brown's journey from Hull City to Southend United". BBC Sport. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2014.

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