I PUT FULHAM ON CANVAS; BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE Hull's No Oil Painting but Art Freak Folan Calls It Picture Perfect

Article excerpt

Byline: BY JAMES NURSEY

HULL 2

FULHAM 1

BUDDING artist Caleb Folan says his paintings are not masterpieces but reckons his fairytale winner for Hull on their long awaited top-flight debut could prove priceless.

Hit-man Folan will go down in Hull history as the player who ensured their first appearance in the big time in 104 years ended perfectly.

Despite his flair for art and design, the striker did not picture such a dream scenario after starting on the bench.

But Folan's winner nine minutes from time capped a memorable fight back from the promoted Tigers, who came from behind to triumph at a packed KC Stadium.

And he insists they have the resolve and confidence to make a real fist of life in the Premier League - unlike Derby, who won the play-offs the previous year before sinking with just 11 points.

Folan also hopes the city's image will improve if they maintain their Premier League status after Hull's troubled history, which includes bombing in the Second World War, industrial decline, and recent floods.

Hull is traditionally a rugby league stronghold but the locals have rallied behind Phil Brown's team after they shed their tag of being the largest city in England never to have hosted top-flight football.

And tattooed Folan is desperate to make his mark in Hull's revival as boss Brown looks to emulate his feats in keeping Bolton up as Sam Allardyce's No.2.

"It was always the aim to play in the Premier League with Hull," said Folan, signed from Wigan in August 2007 for pounds 1million.

"To achieve that in my first year with Hull was massive and, to be honest, it took a while for it to sink in.

"But we are here now and I think all our players have to believe they are Premier League players."

Hull City's transformation is remarkable given they almost dropped into the Conference in 1999 at their old Boothferry Park ground.

They didn't panic after falling behind to Seol Ki-Hyeon's eighth minute header and Brazilian striker Geovanni levelled before half-time with a superb curling shot round Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer.

After the break Brown introduced Folan at the expense of the club's veteran striker Dean Windass, who scored their play-off winner against Bristol City in May.

And while the pre-match script may have demanded another Windass winner, it was Folan who side-footed home nine minutes from time after Craig Fagan caught Fulham defender Paul Konchesky in possession.

Folan then revealed how he handles the pressures of life in the top flight.

"I do a bit of art and design - I have done it since school," he said.

"I started off doing fashion design, graphic design and painting. It kind of brings me to a calm place when I am not playing and takes my mind off football. …