THE idea of John Brown enjoying the quiet life sits about as easily as a bottom that's been given a swift boot by the Dundee manager.
It proved an uncomfortable image for the Dens Park club, too, with the chief executive Scot Gardiner last night outlining the lengths to which he went to ensure that his manager has not followed through on his stated intention to walk away from the game in the wake of his punishment from the Scottish Football Association.
Brown claimed he would resign if the governing body's disciplinary panel reprimanded him for comments made about referee Alan Muir, who awarded Aberdeen a controversial penalty at Dens on Sunday which contributed to Dundee being relegated to the Irn-Bru First Division. The Dundee manager called the award "diabolical" and "a disgrace" as he believed Peter Pawlett had dived to get the spot-kick, his ire now appearing to be justified since the Aberdeen winger has accepted the offer of a two-match ban for his actions.
The SFA then notified Dundee that Brown was also to be given a one-match touchline suspension for his comments, a punishment which the club are to appeal. Gardiner then spent Wednesday on the phone with the 51-year-old – who agreed a two-year contract last month – beseeching him not to walk away; the series of talks continuing into the evening, with the chief executive reiterating that Brown's resignation would not be accepted by the board.
"When we got the charge through late on Wednesday afternoon I let John know," said Gardiner. "He was pretty passionate and he did say he intended to resign, but I told him to think about it. I said I wouldn't accept it and it would be the same if he put it in writing. He's got a two-year contract and a lot of people are relying on him now.
"He felt the pain because he knows there are players leaving that we could have kept had we stayed up. He felt the pain for everyone and said what he said. He believed it because he said to me: 'That's me finished'. I told him the board were behind him 100%, which is why they've just given him a two-year deal, and that he has to think about the bigger picture and focus on the club. He accepted that."
It is Brown's passion which enabled Dundee to endure so long as they fought against the threat of relegation, before finally succumbing at the weekend. Gardiner acknowledges that it is such a trait which has got him into trouble with the SFA, but was still willing to defend his manager by appealing the touchline ban.
"He's extremely focused and only knows how to work one way, which is full-on at all times," said Gardiner. "But sometimes straight talking isn't ideal because we're now in a situation where he's on a charge for speaking honestly and openly. We feel that's wrong which is why we've appealed.
"His immediate reaction was 'I'm gone' but we spoke at length – more than one conversation on Wednesday night, in fact – because he felt so strongly about it but once we got to the end of the evening I was more relaxed going to bed. John understood the board's position that people are relying on him, fans and players, to keep doing what he's doing and make sure we come back up with a bullet.
"I've got no fears for the future whatsoever. John understands why he's here, which is to make Dundee win games and he's done a great job of that so far."
The relief that Brown will continue was clear, while the manager yesterday sought to distance himself from talk about quitting. He was no less prickly in his views, though. "It was heat of the moment. I am manager of Dundee but I know that a number of journalists and ex-professionals would love it if I was to walk away," said Brown.
"I got quite a lot of stick when I came in here and I think some of those who dogged me at the time would feel a lot easier if I wasn't on the scene. But I have a duty to Dundee and the fans who have been fantastic to me and I will be here long-term.
"I am going nowhere and we are going to fight this decision and have launched an appeal. I am not going to let down people like Scot Gardiner and the board of directors who have brought me in here.
"If you look at the past history of a lot of managers, they come out with statements in the heat of the moment. It wasn't that long ago that Sir Alex Ferguson was chucking it but he came back to manage. The player has been dealt with by the authorities. I am just surprised by the decision about myself."
Dundee host Kilmarnock in the league tomorrow but Brown has already started to form plans for the next campaign. "I am in the process of putting a squad together for next season," he added. "The boys now know I am here long-term and I hope to have a lot of them with me next season."