Phil Brown sacked by Preston North End: Exclusive Interview
Phil Brown’s been sacked. His cheeks wear the tearstains that make it painfully clear that this has been a long morning. His protective wife opened the door to me with the words, “You can’t imagine the day we’ve had, he’s just repeating this phrase like crazy…”
“Ian Ashbee’s put down his violin and I’ve had my baton taken away.”
I have to find out more. Without thinking, I embrace Phil Brown in his wicker chair, expertly matched to his summer panama hat – he wears it religiously at Lord’s – and ask him what’s going on. He looks at me with those determined but lost eyes. I can see the friendly flicker of recognition in his soul. A man-manager at heart, he instantly sees my suffering and can’t help but try to give me succour, (“He’s always been a gentleman first,” his good friend Maxi Jazz will attest) but inside he’s still so desolate he can’t quite break free of his gruesome catatonia.
‘Wednesday. Wednesday 14th. Wednesday 14th December. Wednesday 14th December 2011. That’s the day, what I like to call ‘The Music’ died.
“But I want my baton back. I want it back.”
I’ve not been in regular contact with Brown since we stopped messaging each other on Twitter, where he made manifest “The three Fs: Football, Fashion and Philosophy. And soul music.”
I ask him to talk me through just what happened, to put to bed the haze of internet forum gossip swirling around the football globe.
“It’s still a bit of a blur, all told. I remember finding out when the usual Sky Sports instant message bleeped up on my iPhone. When I saw my name, at first I’d thought I’d got Manager of the Month, but then I realised it was the 14th. Had they started doing a Manager of the Fortnight? I didn’t want believe it to be honest. But what hurt me most, as a man of dignity, is that I knew deep down it was true when the Blackberry didn’t follow with the news. It’d already been disconnected by Preston North End. I couldn’t help but shed a tear, and then crack a smile, at the symbolism.
“When I texted Garth Crooks to give him the news, he’d gone off the rails instantly. I remember waking up this morning as my mobile bleeped, and it was Crooksy. At first I was pleased, just glad to know he was alright, as he’s a sensitive soul like yours truly. But I couldn’t help feel empathy when I saw what he’d sent. It was just a photo of a beach, at dawn.
“He’d trailed the words ‘Fuck existence’ into the sand with his big toe.”
So what’s next for PB?
“New media, definitely. Phil Brown Digital. Phil Brown 2.0. I proved it with Twitter. My tactics blog has been in development for a while now, and that’ll very much come to the fore. It’s Andy Gray’s Bootroom mixed with a human rights twist. It’s called For-Free-Free.”
With this joke, we both realise what’s happening. When will Phil Brown be back? He already is.
A version of this interview appeared on Who Ate All The Pies when Phil Brown was last sacked, and will be recycled when he’s sacked next.