Legend Brown ranks 18th among #50GreatestHammers

Ken Brown

The great Ken Brown ranks at No18 in our #50GreatestHammers countdown, in association with Official Investment Partner Basset & Gold...

Years with West Ham United: 1954-67
Appearances: 474
Goals: 4

Ken Brown is a true West Ham United legend.

Born on 16 February 1934 just around the corner from the Boleyn Ground in Forest Gate, Brown was playing amateur football for local Dagenham side Neville United when Hammers boss Ted Fenton signed him on professional forms at the age of 17 in October 1951.

National Service slowed his early progress but Brown was handed a senior debut a week after his 19th Birthday in February 1953, in a 1-1 draw at Rotherham United, and made a handful of appearances during the next three seasons before establishing himself as the Club’s first-choice centre-half in the memorable 1957/58 campaign.

Winner of the Hammer of the Year award the following season, Brown won a solitary full England cap in a 2-1 win over Northern Ireland in November 1959, but the best was still to come as the 1960s saw him form a magnificent defensive partnership with a young Bobby Moore that underpinned the double Wembley triumph in 1964 and 1965.

Brown’s 474th and final appearance for West Ham came in a League Cup semi-final against West Bromwich Albion on 8 February 1967, almost exactly 14 years after his debut.

Ken Brown was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018

In May 1967, he was awarded a Testimonial – in which a newly-signed Billy Bonds made his first appearance in Claret and Blue – before joining old friend and teammate John Bond at Torquay United in a £4,000 deal.

After hanging up his boots in 1970 following a spell with Hereford United, Brown began a long and successful coaching and managerial career that saw him assist Bond at Bournemouth and Norwich, before taking charge at Carrow Road and leading the Canaries to a League Cup success in 1985 and promotion to the top flight a year later.

The Brown association at West Ham continued in the early 1990s when Ken’s son Kenny signed from Plymouth Argyle and became a firm favourite, following in his Dad’s footsteps by enjoying a promotion-winning campaign in 1992/93.

He was the recipient of the club's Lifetime Achievement Award in April 2018.