Hull axe manager Brown

HULL: Premier League strugglers Hull announced Monday they had relieved manager Phil Brown of his duties with immediate effect and placed him on gardening leave.

Saturday's 2-1 loss at home to Arsenal left Hull second bottom of the table, three points from safety.

A statement on Hull's website said coaches Brian Horton and Steve Parkin would take charge of the first team until further notice, with the duo's first match since succeeding Brown away to tailenders Portsmouth on Saturday.

Brown still remains under contract with Hull so cannot work for another club.

Hull chairman Adam Pearson, while paying tribute to Brown's role in guiding the Tigers into the top flight for the first time in their history in 2008 and overseeing their Premier League survival on the final day of last season, said the club had to act now if they were to stay among the elite.

"Retention of Premier League status is paramount and the board believes that a change in managerial direction is the correct option at this time," Pearson said.

"The club will keep supporters up-to-date in respect of any managerial appointment but, in the meantime, Brian Horton and Steve Parkin will prepare the team for our important game at Portsmouth next Saturday."

Brown took Hull into the Premier League via the play-offs and they enjoyed an excellent start to their first top flight season only to struggle severely after Christmas, leading to their last day survival act.

Hull have won just five of their 29 league matches so far this season

"We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Phil for the major success achieved during a period of four seasons in charge at the club and wish him every success for the future," said Hull's statement.

"Promotion to the Premier League in 2008 and retention of our status on the last day of the 2009 season are unique events in the history of Hull City AFC and both were achieved under Phil's stewardship during a period which will never be forgotten by all connected with the club."

Brown apologised to a local branch of the Women's Institute on Friday after a group of their members witnessed a fight between Hull players Nick Barmby and Jimmy Bullard.