One of Iain Dowie's favourite films is Patch Adams, a true-life story of a doctor who used unconventional methods to provide patients joy through difficult times. "Treat the disease and you win or lose. You treat the person and you win every time." It is a line from the movie that connects with Dowie and has been one of the philosophies he has tried to adopt in management since he started at Oldham eight years ago.
"I love that film because it shows what good you can achieve by getting closer to people," he said. "You always have to look for the positive, no matter what you do or where you are." Passion, motivation and self-belief are qualities that Dowie has never lacked. Nor energy or enthusiasm as he often showed on visits to Dubai when he was involved in coaching clinics with youngsters at the International Football Academy. These characteristics are something Hull City will require should he be confirmed as their new manager today.
Three points from safety, they have nine games in which to avoid relegation from the Premier League. Adam Pearson, the Hull chairman, is expected to name Dowie as the replacement for Phil Brown, who was sacked on Monday, despite attempts to lure Mark Hughes, Terry Venables and Gary Megson to the KC Stadium. Like any appointment, it will be a risk. But even more so given Dowie's recent record. After impressing during a three-year spell at Crystal Palace, it all turned sour when he decided to join their south London rivals Charlton in 2006. A difficult start to the campaign left him under pressure and then out of work after just seven months. That hurt.
Alan Curbishley, his Charlton predecessor had 15 years; Dowie got 15 games, including just 12 in the Premier League. A year at Coventry followed, but differences with the board saw him depart acrimoniously, and another 15 games of the 2008-09 season was all he got at Queens Park Rangers. But in a pressure situation similar to that at Hull, he joined Alan Shearer at Newcastle last April to help try to keep them in the top flight. It proved unsuccessful.
Dowie, 45, has been desperate to prove himself again and Hull are a challenge he will relish. Ironically he was approached by Pearson back in 2006 after he left Charlton. But he was reported to have said it would be a "slap in the face to his family" if he joined Hull and Brown took over instead. But times change and so do people. Pearson said the club needed someone to "create an impact" with an initial contract until the end of the season. "Our intention is to have somebody in place for the weekend game at Portsmouth," he added. "We're looking for experience, presence, someone who can create an impact."
Pearson said a run of four successive defeats proved the downfall for Brown, not a much-publicised row between players Nick Barmby and Jimmy Bullard that was witnessed by members of the Women's Institute. "I read those reports with staggering incredulity," Pearson said. "The situation is that we weren't accumulating enough points and that was purely and simply the reason. We feel that we're best served by making the change now. That will bring a fresh face in, some new impetus and some new focus to get those 14 or 15 points that we're going to need." @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org