Phil Brown and Sam Allardyce coached together at Blackpool and Bolton
By Chris Bevan
Anyone unsure of the style of management that newly-promoted Hull boss Phil Brown will bring to the Premier League should be warned - he is not just a follower of the Sam Allardyce coaching manual, he helped write it.
Brown spent over a decade as Big Sam's right-hand man at Blackpool and Bolton before striking out on his own at Derby in 2005.
Not only does his Hull team play in the same direct manner as Allardyce's successful Bolton side, but Brown also relies on the same modern principles of science and statistics that helped establish Wanderers in the top flight.
Close your eyes and it could easily have been Big Sam sat in front of the assembled press in the bowels of Wembley Stadium after Hull's play-off final win over Bristol City on Saturday.
"I will have to check what the pro-zone stats said," was Brown's response to the charge his side's tactics were less refined than the Robins'.
And when asked what was behind Hull's triumph, we got an answer straight out of the Allardyce opus.
"Dean Windass was the matchwinner but it was not just about his goal or his performance - more what we have tried to install into the club since day one, which is clean-sheet mentality," Brown explained.
"Our players put their bodies in the line from one to 11 all the way through the team in the searing heat.
"Twenty-seven times this season we have gone in front and only once have we not won the game, so it was always going to be important to get the first goal at Wembley."
Allardyce, still a good friend of Brown's, was actually stood only a few yards away.
Unemployed since his short stint at Newcastle ended in January, he gave advice to Brown before kick-off and celebrated with the Tigers players in the dressing-room after the match.
Not that his influence is a bad thing - ask any Bolton fan.
And Brown, who was with Allardyce at Wanderers when they were last promoted to the top flight in 2001 and helped them stay up the following year, knows exactly who he will be going to for tips when it comes to keeping Hull in the Premier League next season.
"Sam is a perfect model to use as far as I am concerned, because he has been there and done it," Brown added.
"He is my role model and I will be talking to him a lot in the coming weeks because I am determined to survive in the Premier League."
You can see why Allardyce and Brown worked so well together for so long - they share the same work ethic.
Brown, who uses the same 'war room' tactical centre to prepare for matches with Hull that Allardyce introduced at the Reebok Stadium, gave himself a whole 48 hours to enjoy winning promotion before looking towards the new season.
The 48-year-old Geordie regularly works 14-plus-hour days during the season and is not about to take a rest despite just having secured his place in Tigers' history.
Phil Brown celebrates his side's Wembley play-off win over Bristol City
"I will still have time to enjoy the civic reception and the open-top bus ride around Hull on Monday but preparation for next season starts now," he explained.
"| am going to be planning meticulously for survival - we already have things in place for this moment and I believe it is achievable.
"I think we have a nucleus of good players and a great team spirit that needs to be nurtured and maintained next year.
"We need to add to the squad as well but only with players who will improve us in terms of ability and add to the spirit already here."
Hull have had to wait 104 years to join the elite but it has taken Brown barely 18 months in the job to take them there.
And promotion, which he describes as his 'proudest moment', was not on the agenda when he replaced Phil Parkinson in December 2006.
Brown, initially a caretaker boss, was handed the job permanently a month later and kept Hull in the Championship by the skin of his teeth last season - they finished one place above the drop zone.
In the summer a new consortium headed by chairman Paul Duffen bought the club from Adam Pearson for £10m.
With former Hull boss Brian Horton installed as his new assistant, Brown was set a modest target of finishing in the top half of the table, with a view to winning promotion within three seasons.
He was not given much to spend either, forking out less than £1.5m to sign forward Caleb Folan from Wigan and defender Wayne Brown from Colchester, whiile crucially bringing in striker Fraizer Campbell on loan from Manchester United.
The Tigers were midway in the table at Christmas but a superb run form in the New Year catapulted them into promotion contention - and the rest is history.
Going up is a remarkable turnaround for Brown, considering his failure at Derby when he first struck out to try to become a successful manager in his own right rather than just a very good number two.
He was sacked after barely seven months at Pride Park with the Rams spiralling towards relegation.
But at the KC Stadium he has been given more time to make his mark and the Tigers have reaped the rewards.
Brown has used Allardyce's template to introduce his players to sports psychology and nutritional advice as well as vastly improving their fitness and using statistics to add to their game.
His relationship with his chairman is excellent, and Duffen has pledged to give him as much to spend as possible of the club's estimated £60m promotion bonanza to strengthen his squad.
Despite that influx of cash, many observers had written off Hull's hopes of beating relegation next year even before the champagne at Wembley had gone flat.
As Brown is fully aware, any newly-promoted club faces a struggle to stay in the Premier League but, with him in charge, you can bet that Hull will not go down without a fight.
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