When Pune City FC announced Phil Brown as their head coach, mid-way through the Indian Super league season 2018-19, it was confirmed that the ISL would be treated to another high pedigree addition from the football verse.

Having made a name for himself in England by helping Hull City gain promotion into the premier league for the first time in their then, 104 year long existence and keeping them up in the year that followed. Hull’s “Great Escape” is still fondly remembered by most at the KC Stadium, when they avoided the drop by just a point to Newcastle United on the final day.

With the now 60 year old set to take charge of Hyderabad FC, in what would be his Second stint in the Indian Super League, we caught up with him to talk about his expectations for the coming season, his time in India.

1. A New team, in a relatively new league. With your first preseason under your belt and your experience last year with Pune City, what are your objectives for the new season and whom would you say are the favourites in your eyes.

Answer: I wouldn’t commentate on favourites but by the time we play our first game vs ATK, most of the teams would have be playing their second, so I would have had a good look at the opposition and at least seen them play to begin to form an idea.

In my 40 seasons as a coach, this is my first season in my whole career working under this intense heat and humidity, usually we would fly back to a cooler climate and reap the benefits of training in this intense heat but 4 games in a 11 days will test us and our fitness and our conditioning, at the moment are aim is to finish our pre season strong and try and have the full squad up and running before our season start.

2. In a view to develop Indian talent, the ISL restricts the number of foreign players to 5, How important is it to promote youngsters through the ranks?

Answer: Its vitality important to any coach. I’ve given around 36 players their debuts, and once you have that, that is you off and running, if you’re good enough. (one being Barnes who is with us at the moment at Hyderabad FC after I gave him his debut at Derby County) . When you give a young lad his first chance and he grabs it, and so does his family, his coaches and his teammates that is something that you never forget.

Bringing in foreign Players with the right Personalities is what is most important for the younger boys so that they can learn from them.

Marcelino and rafa lopes are examples of this, showcasing the work ethic behind the scenes is what can help the Indian players understand what it takes to make it.

I would say I have 5-6 young indian boys who could really shine in the season to come, and hopefully the Indian NT will get the benefit of that.

3. Having worked with clubs that usually promote Youth players, what would he say is most important, Hard work, Talent or Mentality? What does a Premier league manager hold most weight too, when he must decide on whom to promote from the Youth teams to the Seniors.

Answer: Attitutude a 100 Percent, You got to have the talent and most players are in that position because of that talent, its how you produce that talent on a regular basis is what’s most important, and if your attitude is right, you have a great chance of having a great career and if it is wrong, it doesn’t matter how much talent you have, you will waste it and that’s where the training complex, the right mentality of a group of players, the environment in the dressing room and training facility come into picture and with the right kind of attitude a young player can only blossom.

4. His views on the need of in India for developing technically sound players and the progress, if any that he has seen in the last 2 seasons.

Answer: It’s of utmost importance, we always start our training sessions with basic football, passing drills that should never be underestimated. The ISL in only a short span of time has managed to help the NT in the right direction, so the continuous process of foreign coaches/managers coming in and the perspective and experience they bring in with the continuous focus on getting the basics right will mean in the near future India starts producing talented players. It will not happen overnight and that’s what Hyderabad FC are looking to do, trying to investigate all such avenues, and trying to put in infrastructure that will only see us reap the rewards in the long run.

5. His opinion about the Dempo Academy and how does it fair to facilities he may Have come across in the nation?

Answer: For sure, for me it’s going in the absolute right direction and it is an academy we would want to emulate at Hyderabad, Right from the pitch, to the way the academy boys are catered too, the dormitories, the way the kids train, the way the coaches educate them, the smile on their faces, all these conditions at DEMPOS are what we will try to emulate at Hyderabad, so all they need to do is keep up the work, cause if they do, they will produce players for the ISL, I league and the National team.


Phil Brown – DSC Media