LONDON (Reuters Life!) - High up on one of the world’s biggest suspension bridges, Hull City manager Phil Brown came across someone with even weightier problems than his own.
Standing there, contemplating the chilly waters of the River Humber, was a woman who seemed about to end it all.
Brown, who was leading his team on a contemplative walk over the bridge after last weekend’s 6-1 thrashing by Liverpool, spoke to woman, who eventually thought better of it and walked away.
“Maybe she must have seen us and thought ‘at least it’s not that bad’. Well for me in particular — not the players,” Brown, whose side lie second-bottom in the Premier League, told reporters this week.
“She was contemplating her future, but so was I. In the end she tootled off back to wherever she had come from. I’d sweet-talked her out of it.”
The world’s fifth-largest suspension bridge, in Kingston upon Hull, northern England, has seen nearly 200 suicide attempts since it was opened in 1981.
“...You never know whether somebody is just standing there until they jump,” said Brown. “But there was no need to be up there unless you were a football team looking for inspiration.”
That is certainly what Brown’s Hull side require.
The 50-year-old manager canceled training on Wednesday in favor of the bridge walk which he still hopes will culminate in just a second league win of the season in Saturday’s home match with Wigan Athletic.
Brown has tried similar unconventional tactics in the past, including a trip to the Lake District, a walk through the town and a halftime team-talk conducted out on the pitch.
“We were looking for clarity up there,” he said. “Did we find it? Absolutely. When you are jogging you cannot speak, when you are walking you can.
“There are analogies if you want them. The bridge was built with engineering based on the fact that when an ill wind blows, it becomes stronger, a sturdier sculpture.
As far as we were concerned, we just went for a walk.” he said.
Editing by Steve Addison