Dave Brown

Dave Brown

Player Information

Name Dave Brown
Sponsor Officially a Legend - Left click to link to website
Position Defender
Date of birth 06-09-1972
Place of birth Bury
Previous clubs Manchester Utd, Salford City, Radcliffe, Leftbridge Bulldogs
Favourite club Manchester United

Current Season

Appearances 16 (10)
Goals 4
Yellow cards 4
Red cards 0

With defensive stalwart Dave Brown entering the closing stages of his career he admits he is acting out many a 33-year-old player�€trade;s dream, but if one or two things had gone ever so slightly differently, the Bury-born father of two could now be the subject of FC United�€trade;s �€�I Don’t Care About...�€trade; song instead of a certain Manchester United centre back. The self-proclaimed United fanatic signed schoolboy terms at Old Trafford at the age of 14 �€“ he was the last youngster to do so under the reign of Ron Atkinson �€“ but when Alex Ferguson took the hot seat Brown�€trade;s hopes of eventually joining his hero Bryan Robson in the first team were wrecked.

�€�When I was nine, a scout from Arsenal wanted me to go down there, but things were different back then and you had to wait until you were 14 before you could sign schoolboy forms. In fact, my dad didn�€trade;t actually tell me about Arsenal’s interest until I was about 13 or so. By then United had come in for me and there was only one place I was ever going to go.

�€�Atkinson left and then Ferguson came in as boss in November. One of the first things he said was he would not be keeping any of the schoolboys brought in before his arrival, so it meant I had to leave. If Ferguson had arrived earlier or if I�€trade;d have signed later, then maybe I would�€trade;ve started my career at United. Needless to say it wrecked my dream of playing for the club. I was crushed.

�€�I have lived all my life in Heywood and first got into football when I was about seven. I used to play with my primary school side [Harwood Park Primary School] with lads who were three or four years older than me, so that brought on my game well. Then I started playing for Clarence Athletic, who were a local team. I�€trade;d been having a kick about one day when a bloke asked my dad if I would play for his team, so I got involved. At that point I was playing in midfield."

His performances with Clarence Athletic and school team (Siddall Moor High) were what attracted the attention of United�€trade;s scouts.

�€�Life at school and United were so different. They supplied all the young lads with all the kit and boots so I got all that gear. I would tell my school friends that I had been stood next to Bryan Robson at training the day before and they never believed me. But when you’re 13 and playing for United you feel like the best thing since sliced bread.�€�

Following Ferguson�€trade;s arrival he was offered a chance to get an apprenticeship with Rochdale but turned it down, instead opting for a place at his local college.

�€�With all due to respect to Rochdale, it wasn’t United so I put my focus on something else. I had done my exams and had to think about getting some more qualifications, so I studied a leisure course at Hopwood Hall College, in Rochdale."

The course led to Brown studying leisure management at Leeds University where he largely ignored football until after his graduation.

�€�I had moved back to Manchester at that point and was enthusiastic about playing again, but it never really happened. I never got a good crack of the whip anywhere. I was at Horwich RMI [now Leigh RMI] for a while and also other clubs like Accrington Stanley, Trafford, Mossley and Castleton Gabriels.�€�

Brown also spent an enjoyable summer playing in Alberta, Canada for the Leftbridge Bulldogs after being spotted turning out for a pub team in Heywood.

�€�I didn’t settle anywhere. Any player will tell you that you have to feel valued within a team and you have to be enjoying it. If I�€trade;d have got that at any of those clubs I probably would’ve stayed.

�€�Around that time I was working as a warehouse worker for a firm that supplied to companies like McDonalds. I had hoped to get a leisure-related job but they were hard to find and often meant working weekends so it was disappointing not to be working in that field.�€�

Whilst at Castleton Gabriels, aged 25, Brown got a call from Dave Gardner, who had just moved over from his position as Gabriel’s reserve team manager to join Salford City as manager. Almost a decade after being turned away from Old Trafford, Brown was discovering what it was like to play regular football while earning a reputation as a respected first-team player.

�€�My days at Salford were very satisfying. The first couple of years took a while for the side to settle. We had a lot of players coming and going. But then in our third season we had a really good side. Tony Cullen was there and Phil Melville and then Billy McCartney and Margy came in. Andy Brown got the manager’s job and really made the players push on. Karl and I got on well and it was good to play in the same team as him.

�€�I earned a player of the year award there and was made captain. I was still playing in midfield, but the most I ever scored was 10 or 11 goals a season. We played in a cup final at Oldham, which we lost to Ashton Town, but it was still my best occasion in football, playing in front of a fair-sized crowd."

At the age of 30 Brown got his first taste of football politics.

�€�There was a falling out between Andy Brown and the chairman. Things weren’t as good as they should have been, even though we were in second place. In the end Andy came into the dressing room one night and said he would be leaving because of it. He asked us to follow. Then the club secretary came in and asked us if we would be turning up the following Tuesday. Half of us went out of loyalty to Andy."

Brown made the move to Radcliffe Borough for the last few months of the 2002/3 season joining current team mate Simon Carden who had just arrived from Accrington Stanley. Borough were already in top form, but Brown�€trade;s arrival helped seal promotion to the Unibond Premier Division after beating Chorley 4-2 on penalties in a nail-biting play-off.

�€�It was a great place to go. Kevin Glendon was the manager at the time. I was only there for a few months but to earn promotion was brilliant. The play-off game was an amazing experience - I think a couple of thousand people came to watch us, which was phenomenal for me at the time, though that was before FC United. It is strange to think that it was my first experience of winning something as a player, but it was worth the wait."

But the high spirits weren’t to last.

�€�I played in a pre-season game against Rochdale’s first team and we got a real pasting. I�€trade;d started working as a site manager for a construction firm and the demands of football and work were starting to get to me so I joined Mossley and they finished runners-up in the North West Counties League [2004] gaining promotion to the Unibond.

"But I stopped playing for a while and then came back later on in the season to play bits and bats, but the away trips were sometimes far and on the way back from a match at Bridlington I was on the coach and looked at all the young lads sat around me and thought ’this isn’t for me anymore’."

By now married to Anne with two children - Robson, aged six, and Megan, aged four - and working away in Newcastle, Brown was happy to put all his efforts in to his day job and family life. That was until last July, when he got a phone call from his brother Richard.

�€�He told me about this new football club set up after Glazer’s takeover and said Karl was the new manager. So I called Margy and I was pretty impressed with the idea. But my first thought was ’don’t even think about starting to play again’.

Despite that initial reluctance, Brown was persuaded to train with the FC squad and after returning to Manchester from working in Newcastle in September, was ready to see what all the fuss at Gigg Lane was about .

"Karl told me how the club had been doing and about the attendances. The next game was against Norton and he invited me down. Robson and I sat in the main stand and we were blown away. The atmosphere was unbelievable and I wanted to be a part of it, no question."

Training proved to be a challenge, as Brown had been on the sidelines for the best part of a year, but by the time FC travelled to Darwen in the league he was ready to make his debut - and he scored with a superb right-footed volley.

�€�It was a great start for me. To score a goal in front of all those fans. I had seen them at Gigg Lane but didn’t know what to expect away but I think the crowd was still about 2,000. This is the kind of football every player dreams about and I am proud to be a part of it.

�€�All these years I have supported United and my dad took me on the Stretford End to watch as a boy. When Glazer took over it bothered me like it did every other supporter. Glazer is only interested in what he can put in his pocket and that�€trade;s not right. Football has been going that way for the last ten years though and is being taken away from the average man on the street.

�€�As far as the future goes for me, I am realistic about it. I know I am coming up to the end of my career, but hopefully I will be able to at least keep up my fitness to see me through until the end of next season if the manager wants me to stick around.�€�

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UniBond League - 1st Div North
1 Curzon Ashton 7 7 16
2 Ossett Albion 7 1 15
3 Bamber Bridge 6 7 14
4 Garforth Town 7 3 13
5 Woodley Sports 6 5 11
6 Rossendale United 7 1 11
7 Wakefield FC 6 3 10
8 Lancaster City 7 -1 10
9 Bradford PA 7 -1 10
10 FC United 5 7 9
11 Mossley 7 -2 8
12 Skelmersdale United 6 0 7
13 Chorley 6 1 6
14 Newcastle Blue Star 6 0 6
15 Bridlington Town 7 -12 5
16 Harrogate RA 6 -3 4
17 Clitheroe 5 -6 1
18 Radcliffe Borough 6 -10 1