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Club News

Joe Brown: 1929 - 2014

30 October 2014

Burnley Football Club is saddened to learn of the death of former player and manager, Joe Brown, aged 85.

A North Easterner by birth, Joe Brown’s playing career with Burnley was brief, and his later spell as manager at Turf Moor also short-lived.

But he was for many years a highly respected coach, particularly in his work with youth sides at both Burnley, where he coached the side to the famous 1968 FA Youth Cup victory, and Manchester United.

His first professional club was Middlesbrough, whom he joined in 1946. He broke into the first team at Ayresome Park, but back problems prevented him becoming a regular in their side, and after just eleven League games for Boro he moved to Burnley in August 1952.

Again he was plagued by injury, and a slipped disc kept him out of action for much of his two years with the club, at the end of which he moved to Bournemouth in the Third Division.

He finally found regular first-team football at Dean Court, where he stayed for six years. While there, he qualified as an FA coach, a qualification he first put to use with some coaching experience in South Africa. On his return to England in 1960, he joined his final League club, Aldershot, but a recurrence of his back problems soon led to his retirement as a player.

Brown rejoined Burnley in 1961 as coach to the “A” team. He gradually moved up through the coaching ranks, and undoubtedly his major achievement at Turf Moor came when a side including Dave Thomas, Steve Kindon, Mick Docherty and a number of other players destined to become household names lifted the FA Youth Cup in 1968, to date the only time Burnley have won that trophy.

It was the culmination of many years during which Burnley’s youth set-up was the envy of most of the Football League.

Brown became chief coach in 1970 and then assistant to manager Jimmy Adamson three years later. When Adamson departed in January 1976, Brown was the logical choice to succeed him, but he took over at a bad time with the Clarets already favourites for relegation, and he was unable to stop their slide into the Second Division.

Brown (second left) with (L-R); Former president Dr Iven, Jimmy Adamson and Bob Lord

He lasted just over a year in the hot seat before making way for the return of Harry Potts.

Despite his perceived failure in management, though, his coaching skills had not gone unnoticed, and later in 1977 he took up a position with Manchester United where he remained, well into the Ferguson era, until his retirement from the game, setting many Old Trafford stars on their early pathway in the professional game.

The club would like to offer its condolences to all the family and friends of Joe Brown at this sad time.

The flag at Turf Moor will fly at half mast for a period in recognition of his service.

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