Jozy Altidore versus Phil Brown: Lousy boss or lazy employee?
Brown has gone out of his way to embarrass American national team striker Jozy Altidore after the teenager showed up only 50 minutes before Hull's game against Portsmouth on Saturday rather than the 90 minutes that Brown demanded.
Altidore, 19, was dropped from the squad for the game and, when he used his Twitter account to apologize to Hull fans--"Apologize to you all. I showed up late. Made a big mistake. I'm very, very sorry"--Brown again lashed into him and fined him.
Here's what Brown said:
"It's unacceptable behavior, full stop. You prepare all week for a match day, mentally and physically. To ask a player to arrive an hour and a half before a game is not too much, is it?"
The tweeted apology also enraged Brown.
"It's going to cost him a lot of money, unfortunately. That, for me, is information that stays in-house. The reason he wasn't on the bench is our business."
Today, the Hull Daily Mail reported that Brown was feeling only slightly more forgiving.
"He'll be back in contention for the weekend, but it's up to him now to prove that he's deserving of a place. He's 19, he's at the beginning of his career, but Jozy is being paid an awful lot of money to play professional football and it's part and parcel of his working life to be professional.
"You can cut people some slack in given situations, but not on a match day."
Overreaction from a manager whose team is struggling in the lower reaches of the league with a 2-2-6 record and who sees the ax hovering over his head? Or stupidity on the part of Altidore, who has been given the chance to play Premier League soccer and is taking it too casually?
Or perhaps its the fault of Major League Soccer and the U.S. national team, neither of which seems to demand the discipline required of players in Europe.
-- Grahame L. Jones
Photo: Jozy Altidore. Credit: Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images