by Lee Savery
Sunderland have completed the signing of Wes Brown from Manchester United for an undisclosed fee. The defender has signed a four year contract and is Sunderland’s fifth summer signing.
Wesley Michael Brown. Born in Longsight, Manchester on 13th October 1979. He dreamed of being a footballer. He dreamed of playing for Man United. He joined the United academy at the age of 12. In 1996, aged 17, he signed a professional contract with the club. After breaking into the first team during the treble winning season of 1998-99, a successful career followed collecting fifteen club honours including five Premier League and two Champions League winners medals. Sir Alex Ferguson once stated Brown was “the best natural defender this club has had.”
One of his finest performances came in the 2004 FA Cup semi-final victory over Arsenal. An imperious man of the match performance helped keep “The Invincibles” at bay. In my opinion, the 2007-2008 season was the best he had at United. Establishing himself as the club’s first choice right-back due to the imperious partnership of Rio Ferdinand & Nemanja Vidic and Gary Neville’s injury problems, Brown produced solid performances throughout and helped the club achieve the European double that season. His final act of the season was an assist for Cristiano Ronaldo to give United a 1-0 lead in the Champions League final against Chelsea.
His United career, however, was dogged by injuries leading to long periods on the sidelines and even missed the whole 1999-2000 season. Increased competition in the defensive places and the continuing partnership of Ferdinand and Vidic limited Brown’s appearances in the last few seasons which saw him miss out on Premier League winners medals in the clubs last two league winning seasons. Overall, Brown made 361 appearances for the club and scored five goals.
As the news of Brown’s departure was confirmed, Sir Alex told the club’s official website, “Wes has been a great asset to the club during the most successful period in its history. He was a product of the youth system and marked himself out from an early age as one of his generation’s most natural defenders. In his time with us, he certainly became a favourite with the fans for his no-nonsense approach to the game and his infectious personality.”1
Sunderland Manager, and United legend, Steve Bruce said, “He has been a fantastic professional for Manchester United through the years and not only will he strengthen our defensive options, he will also bring with him a winning mentality and level of maturity which can only be positive for the players around him.”2
Brown explained his reasons for the move on SAFC TV, “It was disappointing not to have played as much as I could at Manchester United over the last couple of seasons so just to know that I’ll be back in, playing, I’m focusing on that really and looking forward to it. Last season, I couldn’t get into the team and that was frustrating but that’s football and you move on.”3
For Sunderland this is a shrewd bit of business in the current transfer market of inflated prices for players. Wes Brown is consistent. Wes Brown is someone who will always give everything in matches. Wes Brown is a winner. He was a great asset to United and will easily be a key member of the Sunderland first team for the next four years.
I will remember him for his consistent performances and his versatility at the back. I will also remember the experiments he did with his hair (but the less said about the cornrow hairstyle the better). I am sure every United fan will want to thank him for his services and wish him well at Sunderland. On a sombre note, Brown’s departure leaves Ryan Giggs as the only squad member left, at the club, who was part of the treble winning squad. Football moves on and during a period of big changes within Sir Alex’s squad, Wes sees now as the perfect time in his career to move on from Manchester United.
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1 Sir Alex’s comments on Brown’s departure – Brown leaves United
2 Steve Bruce on Brown’s signing – Wes Brown completes Sunderland move
3 Brown’s comments on Sunderland move – Wes explains Sunderland move