Michael Brown (footballer, born 1977)

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For other people named Michael Brown, see Michael Brown (disambiguation).
Michael Brown
Brown in training with Leeds United
Brown training with Leeds United
Personal information
Full name Michael Robert Brown
Date of birth (1977-01-25) 25 January 1977 (age 37)
Place of birth Hartlepool, England
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 12 in)
Playing position Central midfielder
Club information
Current team
Free Agent
Youth career
Hartlepool Lion Hillcarter
Manchester City
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1995–1999 Manchester City 92 (2)
1997 Hartlepool United (loan) 6 (1)
1999 Portsmouth (loan) 4 (0)
1999–2000 Sheffield United (loan) 4 (0)
2000–2004 Sheffield United 147 (28)
2004–2006 Tottenham Hotspur 50 (2)
2006–2007 Fulham 41 (0)
2007–2009 Wigan Athletic 58 (0)
2009–2011 Portsmouth 45 (4)
2011–2014 Leeds United 66 (2)
Total 513 (39)
National team
1996 England U-21 4 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19:01, 17 May 2014 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 07:56, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Michael Robert Brown (born 25 January 1977) is an English footballer who plays as a central midfielder. He began his career with Manchester City having come through their youth ranks and spent time on loan at Hartlepool United, Portsmouth and Sheffield United whilst with City. Brown then made a permanent switch to Sheffield United for whom he played over 150 games. A move to Tottenham Hotspur followed before spells at Fulham, Wigan Athletic and a second period at Portsmouth. He then signed for Leeds United in 2011 where he remained until his release in 2014. Born in Hartlepool, he is also a former England U-21 international.

Club career[edit]

Manchester City[edit]

Brown was a product of the Manchester City youth scheme[1] before signing professionally for the club. While a youth player he played in a number of positions before settling as a central midfielder.[2] He captained the youth team in the 1994–95 season, leading to involvement with the first team in the 1995 pre-season.[2] Brown made his debut for Manchester City in August 1995 against Queens Park Rangers, in which Brown was sent off only 10 minutes after coming on as a substitute.[3] Becoming a regular in Manchester's midfield under manager Alan Ball after midfielder Garry Flitcroft had left the club, Brown was also called up to the England Under 21's squad. In 1996 Manchester City were relegated from the Premier League. After Manchester City had five managers in a matter of months Brown lost his place in the side and he had two loan spells at his home town club Hartlepool United and Portsmouth.[3][4]

Sheffield United[edit]

After impressing for Portsmouth on loan against Sheffield United, Brown joined Sheffield United on loan in December 1999. He later signed permanently in January 2000 where he quickly became one of the star players under the guidance of manager Neil Warnock. He also scored twenty-four midfield goals in the 2002–03 season and won the 'Player of the Year' award as he helped United finish 3rd in Division one.[5][6] Brown was also in the Blades side that famously knocked out Leeds United out of the League Cup with late goals from Phil Jagielka and Peter Ndlovu.[7][8] Sheffield also provided another Cup shock in the same season by knocking out Leeds United again this time out of the FA Cup after a goal from Steve Kabba.[9] Brown and his team mate Phil Jagielka were both linked with moves to Leeds United after knocking them out of the cup competitions, however Sheffield denied that they had received any bids from Leeds.[10] Brown formed a midfield partnership with experienced midfielder Stuart McCall whose defensive role allowed Brown to roam forward.[11]

In 2003 Brown scored a stunning volley to win the steel city derby against Sheffield Wednesday in a 3-1 victory for Sheffield United.[12] After his form helped Sheffield reach the playoff final, Brown had a penalty saved against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the 2002-03 playoff final. Wolves eventually went on to win the game 3-0 and earn a place in the Premier League.[13][14] The following season Brown was sent off twice in the first 15, manager Neil Warnock confirmed that with Brown out of contract at the end of the season he would be looking to sell Brown to the highest bidder amongst interest from Rangers.[15] In total Brown played 174 times for the Blades.[16]

Tottenham Hotspur[edit]

After impressing at Sheffield United as a goal scoring central midfielder, He was signed by Tottenham Hotspur in January 2004, making 46 appearances and scoring three goals up until the end of the 2004–05 season. Two of these goals came in the league against Leicester City[17] and Norwich.[18] He also scored in Tottenham's extra time victory over Bolton in the League Cup.[19] Brown's position in midfield for Tottenham was in a much deeper role than his position for Sheffield United, and he found himself becoming a more defensive minded midfielder. Although well appreciated by fans for his hard work and honest contribution, the strengthening of the Spurs midfield under Martin Jol threatened Brown's position in the team with signings like Edgar Davids, Hossam Ghaly and Danny Murphy adding competition for places with Michael Carrick and Jermaine Jenas already at the club.[20]


On 31 January 2006, he left Spurs to join their league rivals Fulham. His time at Craven Cottage got off to a slow start, plagued with injury, but just before the end of 2006, he was handed the captaincy by Chris Coleman, a move that many saw as a surprise and wrong decision, but in his debut as captain he delivered a man of the match performance, winning the Fulham fans over. Brown came under critiscm from the media for a two footed lunge on Manchester United player Ryan Giggs, however as Brown was booked for the incident no further action could be taken.[21] This was followed by a great performance against arch-rivals Chelsea. Brown's tackling was also highlighted again after an alleged stamp on Chelsea player Ashley Cole.[22] Referee Mark Halsey decided to take no further punishment on the incident despite media criticism.[23]

With Brown's tackling under strong media scrutiny, Brown was sent off for a strong challenge on Portsmouth midfielder Sean Davis.[24] He began to play more and more often following his improved performances and never-say-die attitude, and retained captaincy up until the end of the 2006–07 season. However, Lawrie Sanchez was brought in after the departure of Chris Coleman and in the close season, he signed many new players, including Diomansy Kamara, David Healy, Chris Baird, Paul Konchesky, Aaron Hughes, Lee Cook and Steven Davis. With many new signings Brown became surplus to requirements under Sanchez.[25]

Wigan Athletic[edit]

His place in the side was no longer just a formality and was made surplus to requirements. After lengthy rumours and eventually negotiations, Brown signed for Wigan Athletic on a three-year deal on 31 July 2007.[26] The manager who signed Brown Chris Hutchings was sacked not long after taking charge and replaced by manager Steve Bruce. Under Bruce, Brown formed midfield partnerships with Lee Cattermole and Wilson Palacios.[27]


On 28 August 2009, he joined fellow Premier League side Portsmouth for a nominal fee after falling out of favour at Wigan under new manager Roberto Martínez.[28] It was his second spell at the club after having a loan spell with them a decade earlier. He scored his first goal for the club in a 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa on 18 April 2010.[29] Steven Gerrard elbowed Brown in the face in an off the ball incident in Portsmouth match Vs Liverpool.[30][31] On 11 April 2010, Brown helped Pompey to reach the FA Cup final with a fantastic performance in a 2–0 victory over his former club Tottenham at Wembley.[32] On 15 May 2010, Brown was in the Portsmouth side that lost 1-0 to Chelsea in the FA Cup final after a Didier Drogba goal, Portsmouth minutes earlier had missed a penalty after Kevin-Prince Boateng's effort was saved by Peter Cech.[33]

With Portsmouth in serious financial trouble and many players leaving the club, Brown was a constant throughout the side. Although Portsmouth were relegated at the end of the season, Brown opted to stay at Fratton Park. Manager Avram Grant also left the club and was replaced by Steve Cotterill. On 16 October 2010, Brown scored a stunning winner in the 3-2 win over Watford at Fratton Park and remained almost ever-present for Portsmouth throughout the following months, until both he and Pompey teammate Richard Hughes reached the stage where they would both be entitled to new contracts with increased wages which the club could not afford, with Brown on a reported £25,000 a week, if they played another game.[34] Manager Steve Cotterill was disappointed that the clauses prevented him from playing the two players.[35] Wolves were linked with a move for Brown after missing out on Steve Sidwell.[36] Nottingham Forest also showed an interest in signing Brown who had been left in limbo due to the clause situation.[37]

During the 2010-11 season, Brown played 24 times and scored three goals for Portsmouth, with his last game coming on 26 December 2010, as he and Hughes played no further games due to the contract situation.[38][39] In May 2011, it was announced that both players would be among ten players released by Pompey after their contracts expired on 30 June 2011.[40]

Brown was linked with moves to Middlesbrough and QPR over the course of pre-season.[41][42] On 10 July 2011, The Sunday Times reported that Brown was set to join Leeds United.[43]

Leeds United[edit]

On 11 July 2011, it was confirmed Michael Brown had signed for Leeds United on a one-year contract with the option of a further year.[44][45][46] He was given the number 8 shirt for the forthcoming season.[47] On the opening day of the season, Brown made his debut for Leeds in the 3–1 defeat against Southampton. After receiving a yellow card, Brown was substituted early in the second half.[48] After missing some games with a calf injury, Brown returned to the Leeds starting lineup against Crystal Palace on 10 September.[49] After a long spell out the side, Brown returned when he came on as a second half substitute against Leicester City on 6 November.[50] Brown came into the Leeds side for his first start since early September on 29 November in Leeds' emphatic 4–0 win against Nottingham Forest.[51] Brown started his second consecutive game against Millwall on 3 December, however he had to be substituted during the first half due to an ankle injury.[52] He scored his first goal for Leeds in a 7–3 defeat against Nottingham Forest on 20 March 2012.[53]

Brown received his first red card as a Leeds player, when he was given a straight red on 9 April 2012 against Derby County.[54]

At the end of the 2011–12 season, Leeds manager Neil Warnock revealed on 2 May that Brown had been offered a new contract at Leeds United on reduced terms to stay at the club beyond his existing one-year deal.[55] Warnock revealed that the contract offer which Brown signed in August 2012 would be on a reduced wage but he felt Brown was the type of player he wanted to keep around the club both on and off the pitch.[56] After signing a new one-year contract, Brown was allocated the number 21 shirt for the 2012–13 season on 3 August after new signing Rodolph Austin took up number 8 previously held by Brown.[57] After a deal of him signing a new one-year contract was announced on 6 August, Brown's squad number was again changed from number 21 to squad number 17.[58]

Brown scored his first goal of the season on 2 November in a 2–2 draw with Brighton, the goal was awarded to Brown despite deflecting off teammate Luciano Becchio.[59]

On 5 April 2013, just days after the sacking of manager and mentor Neil Warnock, Brown activated an appearance-based clause on his contract to extend his contract at Leeds for a third year taking him until the end of the 2013/14 season.[60] On 16 May 2014, Brown was released by Leeds United.[61]

International career[edit]

In 1996, Brown made his debut for England U-21's against Croatia.[3]


Brown was heavily featured in the Battle of Bramall Lane, a game where several Sheffield United players were sent off. He left the field, apparently injured, in a move that raised suspicions of a deliberate attempt to get the match abandoned. This duly occurred when a second Sheffield United player left the pitch injured. However, he subsequently missed the following two games with the same injury.[62] Brown has also been sent off for three different clubs in the Premier League.[8] Brown has also been involved in media controversy for some of his tackling, most notably tackles on Ryan Giggs, Ashley Cole and Sean Davis.[63]

In Leeds' 4–1 defeat against Barnsley on 31 December, Brown injured Barnsley captain Jacob Butterfield with a tackle. The tackle injured Butterfield ruling him out for the season with a cruciate knee ligament injury. Butterfield claimed after the game he felt that the challenge from Brown was 'malicious' and 'intentional' and he revealed that Brown rang him after the game to apologise.[64] Barnsley manager Keith Hill was also critical of Brown's challenge on Butterfield after the game.[65]

During Leeds' FA Cup game against Arsenal at the Emirates, during the warm up Brown kicked a ball into the face of pundit Martin Keown who was doing punditry pitch-side with Robbie Savage for ESPN's coverage of the game.[66]

In Leeds 2-0 defeat against Reading on 7 April, Brown incensed the Reading players when his sliding tackle on Jem Karacan led to Karacan breaking his ankle. Despite getting the ball, brown managed to tear karacan's sock nearly into two pieces. Reading captain Jobi McAnuff heavily criticised the challenge after the game.[67] [68]

On 9 April, Brown was sent off for a bad challenge against Derby, which Leeds went on to lose 2-0.[69] Brown was released by Leeds at the end of the 2013–14 season.[70]

Personal life[edit]

Brown was born in Hartlepool, England.


Manchester City


Sheffield United

  • 2002-03 - Division One (The Championship) Playoff Final: Runner Up
  • 2002-03 - Fans Player of the Year
  • 2002–03 - Named in 'Football League First Division Team of the Year'


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External links[edit]