ALAN BROWN 

By Tony Scholes
Last updated : 14 June 2011

Date and Place of Birth

26th August 1914 - Corbridge

died 9th March 1996

 

Transfers to and from Burnley

from Huddersfield Town - February 1946

to Notts County - October 1948 (£12,500)

 

First and Last Burnley Games

Coventry City (a) - 31st August 1946

 

Everton (h) - 2nd October 1948

 

Other Clubs

Huddersfield Town

----------------------------------------

Notts County

 

 

Burnley Career Stats

 

Season League FA Cup League Cup Others Total
                     
  apps gls apps gls apps gls apps gls apps gls
1946/47 42 - 9 - - - - - 51 -
1947/48 36 - 1 - - - - - 37 -
1948/49 10 - - - - - - - 10 -
                     
Total 88 - 10 - - - - - 98 -

 

Profile by Tony Scholes

 

Burnley embarked on the first season of league football following the end of the second world war, with Cliff Britton installed as the club's first post-war manager with the task of getting the club back into the first division.

As he built his side he made one signing that raised more than a few eyebrows, that of centre half Alan Brown from Huddersfield Town. North Easterner Brown had joined Town in 1933 but struggled to make the breakthrough. He even spent time in the police force during the 1930s, and at the outbreak of war in 1939 had failed to establish himself in the team.

During the war he guested for a number of clubs such as Liverpool, Manchester United and Notts County, Notts ultimately being the last team he would play for. He also played for the RAF on a number of occasions in inter-services matches.

Come peace time and Britton saw him as the leader he needed and considered him to be a key part of the team he was building, and so brought him to Turf Moor in readiness for the resumption of league football.

It was Brown who captained the side right from the off in that 1946/47 season and yet, by the time he made his debut for Burnley, in that first league game against Coventry, he had passed his 32nd birthday and that was some age for a player back then.

Early in that season, Reg Attwell was signed to complete the half back line of Attwell, Brown and George Bray and with Jimmy Strong in goal and full backs Arthur Woodruff and Harold Mather they formed what was known at Burnley as the Iron Curtain defence.

Brown captained Burnley all the way to Wembley in the FA Cup, losing in extra time to Charlton Athletic, in a season that saw the main target of promotion achieved as runners up to Manchester City.

No team scored more than two against us in any game and by the end of the season we'd conceded just 29 goals in 42 league games; in one period of the season conceding just twice in a fourteen game run. The whole success had been built around the defence and the cornerstone of that defence was without doubt captain Brown.

The 29 goals conceded has only been bettered once in the history of Burnley Football Club and that was in the 1897/98 season when we played just 30 games.

Back up, we took the first division by storm, ending the 1947/48 season in third place and again the defence was at its best. Only 43 goals were conceded, just one more than a goal per game. Champions Arsenal were the only team to concede less goals than Burnley.

Such was Brown's form that he was finally recognised by the international selectors and was in a Football League team that played the Irish League in 1948. It was however, to prove, his only representative honour.

For Brown, fast approaching his 34th birthday, these two years at Burnley had been the first successes of his career but it was soon coming to an end. He was still captain and still the regular centre half for the first ten games of the 1948/49 season but was then surprisingly sold to Notts County for £12,500, and astonishing fee for a player of that age.

Notts County were a team building for success and Brown was thought to be just the player to lead their defence. It didn't work out unfortunately and he was with them for just three months before hanging up his boots, playing just 13 times for them.

Two years later he took up a coaching role at Sheffield Wednesday. It was the start of a new career in football for Brown who was at Hillsborough for three years before returning to Turf Moor as manager in 1954.

He was our manager for three years before leaving to return home to Sunderland as manager. He had two spells with them as boss, with a successful time as Sheffield Wednesday manager in between where he led them to an FA Cup Final.

When he left Sunderland for the second time in 1972 he had coaching roles in Norway and then with Plymouth Argyle. On his retirement he remained in Devon until his death in 1996 at the age of 81.

Brown's spell as a player at Burnley was the most successful of his playing career, by some considerable distance, and he proved to be a superb signing by Britton. He led the club back to the first division, where we to remain for 24 years, and helped establish us there. He played just 98 times for Burnley but had been such an influence during that time as the club took their first steps towards the championship a decade later.

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