Five things we learned from Brown's UTD Podcast
The latest episode of the UTD Podcast features former Manchester United and England defender Wes Brown.
The 40-year-old made 362 appearances for the Reds and was a member of our Champions League-winning squads in both 1999 and 2008, so we weren’t hard pressed for talking points during the podcast, which is available from our official music partner Deezer and other podcast providers.
For example, Wes revealed how a team-mate gave him a sleepless night ahead of his debut, explained why Sir Alex Ferguson once told him off for getting the bus and much more…
Brown made his first-team debut against Leeds United in May 1998 but instead of being told he was playing a few hours before kick-off, he found out the previous day when fellow defender Gary Pallister accidentally spilled the beans. The revelation caused Wes a sleepless night ahead of the match.
“Big Pally told me the night before that I was playing,” he recalled.
“I knew that I might have been, but the gaffer always changed it.
“I couldn’t sleep that night,” he continued.
“I wasn’t tired the next day - I think it was adrenaline - and then I came on as a sub. That was probably the most nerve-wracking thing.”
UTD Podcast: Brown's nights at the team hotelVideo
Brown broke into the first team in one of the greatest periods in United's history. But, despite the strong and successful senior characters in the squad, he insists it was not a daunting dressing room for a youngster to step into.
“I came into a winning team and that was all I knew. I knew what the expectation was and I knew what I had to do: work hard every day.
“You just had to keep going, regardless of what happened. Sometimes we’d get beat and the next year we’d win it because of the manager’s drive and you could see it in the older players. You had to live up to their expectations, so you had to work hard.”
When Wes first got into the senior squad he was, incredibly, still using public transport to commute to training.
“I lived at home until I was 20 even though I was playing for the first team,”the five-time Premier League winner said.
“I didn’t have enough money for a car, so I used to get a bus to training and one of the lads would pick me up at the bottom of the road near The Cliff. Then on Sunday there was a bus but it didn’t run from town, so I basically jogged from town to training.
“I don’t think Sir Alex knew, but I think someone must have told him because he came up to me and said ‘you need to stop getting the bus’. Something might have happened on the bus, I can’t remember. I said I couldn’t afford not to and they sorted it for me.
“It’s different now,”Wes added.“Times do change. Imagine Mason Greenwood getting a bus now with everything there is, like the internet. There were no picture phones back then, so I don’t think they could now. It would just cause trouble because somebody would say something.”
During a playing career that lasted over 20 years, Brown played with but also against some of the best stars on the planet. He considers a clash against Real Madrid in 2003 to be his most difficult test.
“Probably Zinedine Zidane,”Wes responded when asked about his toughest opponent.
“I don’t think I tackled him the whole game! What a player he was. I was playing right-back [in 2003] and he wasn’t really playing left wing. They played three in the middle [and he was the furthest left] and if they got tired Roberto Carlos would run round me.
“That game, I actually had an easy game because I didn’t have anything to do, but at the same time that would also annoy me because I liked to get in the game. They must have been overloading the midfield and I was thinking I’m having it easy because they were overpowering somewhere else on the pitch and I didn’t really get near him.”
Winning sides are often based on team unity, and during the podcast Wes revealed our 2008 squad was no different.
“We just all got on. Even to this day we’re all in a group chat,”he said.
“I’m guessing it doesn’t work like that all the time but we all just got on. We all respected each other and knew what it was we needed to do to win. You need to have respect for each other or it doesn’t work. When it gets tough in the season, if you don’t have that respect and friendship it goes to pot.”
Listen to UTD Podcast on Deezer and other podcast providers.