Full back Michael John Brown was born in Walsall and grew up in Gloucestershire but his parents both came from Hull. He joined the Hull City groundstaff in 1954 after impressive performances for junior football sides in the Gloucester area – Mick was also a capable cricketer who had played for Gloucestershire’s seconds during his teenage years. After making his way in the City youth team while also learning his trade as an engineering apprentice, Brown was handed his first professional contract by manager Bob Brocklebank in October 1958. However Mick was competing for a first team place with Andy Davidson and the consistency of the Scot meant that Brown remained a stalwart for the City reserve team but rarely used in the first team for seven seasons.
His first two starts came in October 1959 when the absence of Frank Harrison required a defensive reshuffle. Four and half years elapsed before his next start, with City now managed by Cliff Britton – Davidson had started all but three of the intervening 237 senior fixtures in that time. When Brown reappeared again in February 1966 City were flying high in the Division Three table, but it was an important FA Cup tie versus Nottingham Forest that saw Mick deputise at left back for Dennis Butler. Brown filled in for Butler on five more occasions in the closing weeks of a hectic title winning season including the final day win against Southend United that secured top spot. Following this relative avalanche of starts Brown resumed his role as City’s reserve team captain and left the club in the 1967 close season after finding that opportunities of game time in the Second Division were even more limited than in the third tier.
Brown joined Division Four side Lincoln City in July 1967 and in his only season at Sincil Bank he missed only eight league games and finally showed that he was a capable first team player – although his most notable moment came in a League Cup tie against Division Two side Derby County when he stuck the nut on Kevin Hector and was dismissed, Hector then broke the deadlock moments later and sparked a late 3-0 win for Brian Clough’s Rams. Mick left the Imps in the 1968 close season to become player coach at non-league side Cambridge City. In his first season Cambridge won the Southern League title and in November 1969 he gave up playing to become a full time coach at Oxford United. In October 1975 he stepped up to become the first team manager at Oxford United, replacing another ex-Tiger Gerry Summers. He left the manager’s role in July 1979 having overseen the U’s for four seasons, a relegation from Division Two in his first season followed by three years of consolidation in the third tier.
Brown became assistant manager to Ron Atkinson at West Bromwich Albion in August 1979 and two years later he followed Big Ron to Manchester United and performed the same role. He left Manchester United in 1986 when Atkinson was replaced by Alec Ferguson, Mick then became Bolton Wanderers’ assistant manager under Phil Neal between 1987 and 1992.
After a short spell coaching in Malaysia Brown returned to England to launch a third career in football as a scout – first at Coventry, then at Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United where he worked for Sir Alex Ferguson. He left Old Trafford again in 2004 but continued to do scouting work for many years, serving West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland, Ipswich Town and Aston Villa. He announced that he would give up scouting in May 2021 at the age of 81 when Aston Villa revamped their talent spotting system, although during the following season to lure of retirement was clearly weak and he undertook match-by-match scouting missions for West Ham United.
Alongside his life dedicated to football, Brown was also a capable cricketer who spent several summers playing for Hull CC and also played for Gloucestershire’s county second XI.
Date/Place of Birth: 11 July 1939, Walsall
Hull City First Game: 24 October 1959, Huddersfield Town H (Division Two), 20 years, 105 days old
Hull City Final Game: 20 May 1966, Southend United H (Division Three), 26 years, 313 days old
Hull City (1958-1967), Lincoln City (1967-1968), Cambridge City (1968-1969)
Hull City Record
Career: 9 apps, 0 goalsMick Brown
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