Manchester United Cult Heroes: Wes Brown – fifteen years a red

Wes Brown was a hero to many Manchester United fans as the Manchester born defender lifted two European Cups, seven Premier League titles, two FA Cups, and three League Cups in his time at Old Trafford.

Wes Brown was born in Longsight, Manchester on 13th October 1979. Brown joined Manchester United’s youth academy at The Cliff Training Ground in 1992, as a teenager. He spent four years coming through the youth teams at Manchester United, before signing his first professional contract at the age of 17. Two years later the defender made his first appearance for the senior team in the Premier League against Leeds United as a substitute on 4th May 1998, in a 3-0 win for United. While in the following season Brown was involved in first team action much more as a centre-back. As a younger player, Brown featured eight times for England’s U21’s.

The Treble

Brown become a more regular feature in Sir Alex’s eleven during the 1998/99 season, crucially, the treble winning year. Manchester United won the Premier League, FA Cup and finally the Champions League in the most dramatic fashion. Brown made 22 appearances in the treble season, contributing to potentially Manchester United’s greatest ever season as a centre-back and a right-back.

Injuries did prevent Brown from making many more appearances. He missed almost a full year in 1999/00 but returned to add to his honours list between 2001 and 2011. Brown lifted 14 major trophies while at Manchester United, including two Champions League’s, one won in Barcelona and one won in Moscow, in which Brown played a key part.

Sir Alex Ferguson said of Brown in 2006 that the Manchester born defender is, “without question the best natural defender this club has had for years”. High praise from a manager that had then worked with Steve Bruce, Jaap Stam and Rio Ferdinand.

Moscow 2008

Possibly Wes Brown’s best moment in a red shirt came in the 2008 Champions League final in Moscow, against Chelsea. Brown, playing at right-back cut inside and delivered a great cross to Cristiano Ronaldo who headed past Petr Cech to give United the lead. Famously the Reds went onto lift the trophy on penalties and while Brown did not have to take one, he clearly played a big part in helping United win their third European Cup and Brown’s second.

In total, Brown made 232 appearances for Manchester United. Plus, a further 23 caps for England. The defender only found the net on three occasions while at Manchester United, but his defensive work was what made him the player he was.

Brown left Old Trafford after lifting his final Premier League title in May 2011. The Englishman has gone onto play for five more seasons in the Premier League for Sunderland, alongside fellow ex-red John O’Shea. In 2016 Brown joined Blackburn and could not prevent Rovers from being relegated to League One. Currently Brown is still at Blackburn, working primarily as a coach for their U23’s side.

Despite being a player who was not the most technically gifted, Brown was a clear fans favourite. In fact, Brown had two songs by his name during his time at Old Trafford. The chants, “We’ve got Wesley Brown” and “The Hardest Man in all the Town” were sang on many occasions in the Stretford End while Brown was at the club. Having received high praise from his manager, fellow players and most importantly the fans during his time at Old Trafford, Wes Brown is a real cult hero of Manchester United.


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