For years now the sin of sins in educational and management orthodoxy has been humiliation. Low self-esteem was seen as the root of all evil. Teachers, managers and others in positions of authority were instructed on no account to do anything that would make those who already felt bad about themselves feel worse. Enter Phil Brown, successful manager of Hull City, who played away yesterday at Manchester City.
The first half was not a happy experience for the visitors. "Rubbish" was at the mild end of the invective hurled in their direction. So did Brown then give them a pep talk about how wonderful they were, just unappreciated and misunderstood? Not a bit of it. At half-time he sat his lads down at the Hull supporters' end and gave them a very public dressing-down. Back for the second half, reborn, they couldn't recoup the goals already lost, but they held their own. When next bidden to respect self-esteem, remember the gospel according to Phil Brown.