Hull manager Phil Brown will copy Bolton’s survival blueprint to ensure his side’s first experience of the Premier League doesn’t turn sour.
Brown barely had time to digest the full magnitude of Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Bristol City in the Championship play-off final before he turned his attention to the harsh realities of life among English football’s elite.
While Hull’s joyous players were still spraying champagne around their Wembley changing room in celebration of Dean Windass’s sublime first-half winner, Brown outlined his plan to avoid a repeat of Derby’s dismal performance this year.
Success in the play-offs can be a poisoned chalice if the team that goes up aren’t properly prepared, as Derby proved by setting a new record low points total this season as they crashed back into the Championship.
Brown believes his club’s first top-flight campaign in their 104-year history can be more productive because he has first hand knowledge of how to win a relegation battle from his time at Bolton.
The Tigers boss was Sam Allardyce’s assistant at the Reebok Stadium and helped them defy the odds time and again.
“I believe that survival is achievable. I am planning meticulously for survival in the Premier League and I have a ready-made model in place from my time at Bolton. That is the model that we will copy,” Brown said.
“Bolton went up in 2001 with Blackburn and Fulham and all three stayed up and are still there. Do I think that’s possible for Hull? Absolutely.
“Sam Allardyce was here and came into the changing room after the match. Now I know how he felt the day we went up with Bolton at Preston.
“He is coming to our after-match party and I will speak to him an awful lot next season.”
Brown has promised his promotion winners a chance to prove they belong alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Fernando Torres and company, but he is realistic enough to know he must spend big in the close-season.
He will be given at least half of the 60 million pounds windfall that comes with promotion to the richest league in world and his first task is to try to sign Fraizer Campbell on a permanent basis.
The on-loan Manchester United striker scored 15 times as well as providing the assist for Windass’s Wembley winner and Brown wants to keep him if the price is right.
“I don’t know if Fraizer will stay, that is for the manager of the European Champions to decide,” Brown said.
“It is obvious that he is a talent and we are keen to keep him. For me he could grace the Premier League and I would have thought we’ve got the money to buy him now – unless he’s more than 60 million pounds.”
While Campbell may not return to the KC Stadium, Hull-born Windass, 39, will never have to buy a drink in his hometown after his 38th minute volley. And Brown has told the veteran forward he can still cut it in the top-flight.
“Everybody say at 39 will he be able to play another season in the Championship let alone the Premier League. But with Dean Windass’s attitude it would be foolish of me to dismiss him now after what he’s done this season,” Brown said.
Bristol City’s fairytale season ended on a low note as the chance to secure a second successive promotion faded despite a determined display. Gary Johnson has no doubt his side can go one step further next season.
“It’s not the time for any recriminations. I have told my players that they are so close to being Premier League players at a Premier League club because there was not a lot in the match,” he said.
“We have only been in the Championship for one season so we will enjoy it again next year and not see it as a chore. We stayed out there and watched the presentation because we believe that we will come back again.”
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