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Page last updated at 08:32 GMT, Saturday, 24 May 2008 09:32 UK

Hull relish Wembley showdown

Phil Brown (Getty Images)
Even at the toughest moments of the season we've seen the character of the team come out

Hull boss Phil Brown

Phil Brown is determined to enjoy the occasion when he leads out his Hull City side at Wembley on Saturday for one of the biggest games of his life.

Brown has been there before in his days at Bolton - both as a player and later as assistant manager to Sam Allardyce.

And he told BBC Look North: "You cannot get tense and nervous just because of the size and the enormity of the game.

"With everyone patting you on the back it is difficult to remain calm. But you've got to enjoy these times."

Saturday's Championship play-off final against Bristol City at last gives the Tigers the chance to tread where only two sides from Hull have previously trod before (the city's two rugby league teams).

And it will be a particularly proud day for the Tigers' two old stagers, 34-year-old Nick Barmby and the grand old man, Dean Windass, now in his 40th year after turning 39 on April Fool's Day.

Interview: Hull midfielder Nick Barmby

"It will be one of the proudest days of my life," said Windass, who has added 14 more goals this season to take his career tally to 226.

"From those days on the South Stand at Boothferry Park with my old man watching Hull City play and always wanting to play for them, to walk out at Wembley will be a very proud day."


But there will be none prouder than Brown, for whom it would cap a remarkable transformation, given the state Hull were in this time just a year ago.

Having arrived in October 2006 as coach to a struggling Phil Parkinson, Brown found himself in sole charge within two months.

Hull were 23rd in the Championship, having won just four times in 21 league games when the end came for Parkinson in early December.

Brown took over, a daunting task given not only Hull's position but the fact that his only previous spell in a managerial hot seat had ended in failure after just seven months at Derby County.

Initially appointed as caretaker, back-to-back wins over New Year earned him the job until the end of the season. And his sole mission was to keep Hull up - something he managed in the end with two games to spare.

Phil Brown scored 53 goals in 788 career appearances for Hartlepool, Halifax, Bolton Wanderers and Blackpool
Brown's best month as a boss was at Bolton in 1999 when, following Colin Todd's departure and prior to Sam Allardyce's appointment, he won four of his five games
Brown initially turned down his first offer of a contract at Hartlepool to complete his apprenticeship as an electrician

But ensuring safety was enough to reward him with a rolling 12-month contract. And he then continued to receive the backing he needed from the Hull board following a summer of change at the KC Stadium - which also included the appointment of vastly experienced former Tigers boss Brian Horton as his number two.

Now Brown, a Wembley winner himself with Bolton in the 1989 Sherpa Van Trophy final, is just one game away from getting his due reward.

And he backs his team to show the character they have shown all season long just one last time.

"Even at the toughest moments of the season we've seen the character of the team come out," said Brown. "And if we can take that to Wembley I'll be a happy manager."

see also
Hull City hit the road to Wembley
22 May 08 |  Hull City
Myhill hopes to make Hull history
21 May 08 |  Hull City
Windass emotional about Wembley
15 May 08 |  Hull City
Barmby hails impact of Hull boss
14 May 08 |  Championship
Hull 4-1 Watford (agg 6-1)
14 May 08 |  Championship
We need winning mentality - Brown
13 May 08 |  Hull City
Horton will assist Brown at Hull
23 May 07 |  Hull City
New contract for Hull boss Brown
21 May 07 |  Hull City
Hull unveil Brown as new manager
04 Jan 07 |  Hull City
Hull put duo in temporary charge
04 Dec 06 |  Hull City
Hull part company with Parkinson
04 Dec 06 |  Hull City
Manager Brown given sack by Derby
30 Jan 06 |  Derby County

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