SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown could well have been in the Hartlepool United dugout tomorrow afternoon.
The 54-year-old was in advanced talks with the club following Neale Cooper’s resignation last October.
Brown, though, says the demands he made regarding his backroom team proved to be an 11th-hour stumbling block and John Hughes was subsequently installed.
“I was offered the opportunity to be their manager before John Hughes got the job in late 2012,” he explained, “But I wanted to be able to bring in my own backroom team and it all became quite expensive for them so it didn’t happen in the end.”
Brown, after more than 18 months away from management, was eventually unveiled at Roots Hall in March.
He enjoyed a winning start to the season with a 1-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle and, given what he admits is a decent record at Victoria Park, is hoping to follow up that success against the club where he began his playing career in 1978.
“I spent seven years there as a player and made more than 200 appearances for the club as well, so it’s always nice to go back there.” Brown said.
“When I first joined I was still finishing my apprenticeship to become an electrician and I played on a non-contract basis.
“But, once I’d finished that, Hartlepool handed me a five-year professional contract which I was very grateful for.”
He went on: “I’m South Shields born and bred, which is 30 miles from Hartlepool, so it’s not far from home, but I was actually a Sunderland supporter as a kid.
“It’s a cold place at the best of times but going there in August is better than going from October onwards and there’s always been a good pitch there too, so hopefully that will also help us to get a good result.
“I’m looking forward to getting back up north and it’s always been quite a happy hunting ground for me, so touch wood that can continue.”