Wes Brown is now plying his trade at Blackburn
Tomorrow’s FA Cup tie against former club Manchester United may prove to be the last hurrah for Brown when it comes to the big stage but the 37-year-old Blackburn defender made it clear he is not thinking of hanging up his boots for a while yet.
He has won two Champions League medals and is the last of Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous 1999 treble winners to be still earning a living as a professional player but is quite prepared to form his own amateur team to extend his playing career until his knees finally pack up.
He said: “Is it my final season? You should ask my knees! I mean I still love it. I will try and play on as long as possible. This is what we all do.
“People finish for different reasons. I always thought if you can carry on then you do. I still think I can play, but I’m not as fast as I used to be.
“I didn’t realise I’m the last of the 99 squad to be playing but, yeah, I’m prepared to play Sunday League – 100 per cent. I have always said with my mates, that as soon as we finish, we will start a Sunday league team. You never know. What would we call it? Brown’s Boys? Yeah!”
Wes Brown is the last remaining player from United's 1999 treble-winning side still playing
Wes Brown won the Premier League five times during his time at Man United
When his legs do finally pack up, Brown is looking to stay in the game as a coach or manager. “I’m just doing the [coaching] badges and seeing how it goes,” he said. “I have not done much of it here because I’m training with the first team and we train at the same time but I’m going to try and pass them and see where that takes me.”
Brown is likely to be on the bench tomorrow but is still looking forward to getting a close-up view of a club he joined at the age of 12 and spent two decades with – all under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson – until he moved to Sunderland for a five-year spell in 2011 that ended last summer with his move to Blackburn.
After three years of transition following Ferguson’s retirement, the former England international believes they have re-discovered the United identity and winning mentality under Jose Mourinho.
“It has taken a good few seasons now but they’re just starting to get that ‘fear’ back,” he said. “They’re not an easy team to beat now whereas before they were getting pushed over a little bit.”
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If the Premier League title is out of reach, the current United team can complete a “treble” of their own by winning the League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League.
Man United line-up predicted to face Blackburn
Fri, February 17, 2017
Click through the gallery for the predicted Man Utd line-up to face Blackburn in the FA Cup
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Click through the gallery for the predicted Man Utd line-up to face Blackburn in
A congested fixture list will be a big problem but Brown points to the historic 1998-99 season – his first as a regular in the first team squad – as an example of where a winning momentum can carry a team.
“Like we did back then, if you keep winning, everyone’s playing well and there’s a good team spirit it just carries on and carries on. It just keeps ticking.
“You don’t really have a chance to think about tiredness or any negatives, you just think, ‘we can do this’. The players will start to smell a few trophies now and if they can get in the Champions League as well then it’s been a good season.”
Blackburn’s priority is to simply to stay in the Championship, so Brown can enjoy tomorrow whatever the outcome.