Brown suffers wrath of fans after dire City stalemate

Hull City 0 Portsmouth

By Richard Rae
Monday 26 October 2009 01:00

It is during and after an utterly joyless match like this that even the most fanatical supporter must wonder whether staying in the Premier League is worth it. Not the clubs themselves, obviously, where many people, are earning fortunes, but when the result is an occasion so lacking in creativity, skill and vision, then from the fan's point of view: what's the point?

It was only to be expected that the City crowd would let Phil Brown know how miserable they were, but their manager's reaction – pointing out how far the club has come – was equally predictable. "When you're playing 20th versus 18th, both sides suffer from nerves," he said.

With almost nothing to talk about in terms of action, the post-match focus quickly moved to matters off field. In Portsmouth's case, that meant the glowering presence of former Chelsea manager Avram Grant, as from today the club's new Director of Football.

Pompey manager Paul Hart's insistence that he will remain in charge of team affairs carried a plaintive quality. "Avram is here to assist me and is the buffer or the communicator between me and the board," said Hart.

Well, maybe, although the latest revelations about the new owner Ali al-Faraj, whose brother appears to have told a Saudi newspaper purchasing the club was "purely an investment", will do nothing to end the uncertainty surrounding the South-Coast club.

Up on the East Coast, things are not much happier. The absence of record-signing Jimmy Bullard, whose home debut after almost a year injured was widely expected, was put down to an injury picked up playing for the reserves only 24 hours after coming on for the first team at Fulham last Monday. "It's the same leg, but it's his shin, fingers crossed," said Brown.

He also found himself talking about American striker Jozy Altidore twittering the news that he'd been left out for turning up late. "Has he put the twit in twitter?" asked one hack, sensing a headline. "I would have put an 'a' in it," responded Brown.

The manager said he had been to a fans' forum in the week. "There was a lot of criticism, but at the end they were standing on chairs applauding," Brown said. Not on Saturday they weren't.

Hull City (4-4-1-1): Myhill; McShane, Gardner, Zayatte, Dawson; Mendy (Barmby, 70), Marney (Ghilas, 89), Olofinjana, Hunt (Garcia, 74); Geovanni; Vennegoor of Hesselink. Substitutes not used: Duke (gk), Kilbane, Mouyokolo, Atkinson.

Portsmouth (4-3-1-2): James; Finnan, Kaboul, Wilson, Ben Haim; Yebda, O'Hara, Mokoena; Boateng ; Smith (Piquionne, 64), Dindane. Substitutes not used: Ashdown (gk), Mullins, Van den Borre, Webber, Kanu, Belhadj.

Referee: S Atwell (Warwickshire).

Booked: Hull Marney, Mokoena, Myhill.

Man of the match: Myhill.

Attendance: 23,720.

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