Them and us – Michael Brown (Fulham and Wigan Athletic)

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The trip to Craven Cottage, from where victory could secure Latics’ Premier League status, gives TNS the opportunity to look back on the career (so far) of Michael Brown who has played for both clubs.

Michael, who played 4 games for England at Under 21’s level was born in Hartlepool on 25th January 1977.  Tough tackling Brown started his career at Manchester City having progressed through their youth ranks, making his Premier League debut against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on 26th August 1995, he was sent off after just ten minutes!

He spent a somewhat torrid four seasons with the club during which he worked under Brian Horton, Alan Ball, Asa Hartford, Steve Coppell, Phil Neal, Frank Clark and Joe Royle.  In addition he also played in three different leagues whilst with City!  He made 67+22 league appearances for the Citizens netting twice.  He also had a six games (1 goal) loan spell with Hartlepool United and a four game loan spell with Portsmouth whilst at Maine Road.

His next port of call was Sheffield United, signing for Neil Warnock’s First Division side in the summer of 1999.  His debut for the Blades came on 19th December 1999 against Blackburn Rovers in a 2-1 victory at Bramall Lane.  He made 146+5 league appearances for the Blades, scoring 27 times before signing for Tottenham Hotspur in half million pound deal on 1st January 2004.

His Premier League debut for Spurs came on 17th January 2004 in  a game against Liverpool at White Hart Lane that resulted in a 2-1 win.  However, after 39 Premier League appearances during which he netted twice, his first team place became increasingly under threat as manager Martin Jol multiplied his midfield options by signing Edgar Davids, Hossam Ghaly and Danny Murphy.  And so with Jermain Jenas and Michael Carrick also in situ at White Hart Lane, he was signed by Chris Coleman for Fulham on transfer deadline day for a cool million and half pounds on 30th January 2006.

His Fulham career started with a 4-2 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford and he was to make 40+1 Premier League appearances without scoring for the Cottagers before becoming surplus to requirements when Lawrie Sanchez took the Craven Cottage helm.

Michael arrived at the JJB Stadium on 31st July 2007 to become manager, Chris Hutchings’ seventh summer signing. He signed a three-year deal with Latics and the fee that Hutchings paid for him was undisclosed. He made his debut later that evening in a 2-0 win against Barnsley at Oakwell in what was Latics’ fifth pre season game.

He was suspended for the first two games of the season due to a punishment whilst playing for the Cottagers and he made his Latics Premiership debut on 18th August 2007 against Sunderland at the JJB Stadium. He entered the field of play as an 82nd minute substitute for Paul Scharner, with Latics already having won the game 3-0 to go to the top of the Premiership for the first time in the club’s history!  His Latics career total was 47+11 Premiership games played without scoring.  He also added Steve Bruce and Roberto Martinez to his ever expanding number of managers that he had played under!

He signed for Portsmouth, for whom he had a previous loan spell whilst at Manchester City,  on 28th August 2009 for a nominal fee after a fall out with Latics manager Roberto Martinez.  He completed his two spells with Pompey with a further 41+3 league appearances, scoring three times.

Towards the latter stages of his Fratton Park career Michael was not being picked as the terms of his contract meant that had manager Steve Cotterill (who had replaced Avram Grant) done so, it would have triggered a clause in the contract that entitled him to a new one.

He was forced to sit out his time at Portsmouth until he became a free agent, signing for his current club, Leeds United in August 2011. His Championship debut for Leeds came on 6th August 2011 against Southampton, who are managed by ex Latics goalkeeper Nigel Adkins.  The Saints won 3-1 at St Mary’s.

He has made 20+3 appearances and scored once in a 7-3 defeat against Nottingham Forest at Elland Road.  He is currently suspended after picking up a red card against Derby County on 9th April 2012.

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