Few people are better qualified to reflect on the impact that Ken Brown made on the history of West Ham United than Brian Dear.
The former Hammers striker, born and bred just around the corner to Upton Park, followed Brown’s career closely as both a supporter and later a team-mate. The pair were stars of the Hammers team that lifted the European Cup Winners’ Cup at Wembley in 1965 and Dear was delighted to hear of the tribute that is to be bestowed upon the long-serving defender as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Player Awards brought to you by Betway in aid of the Academy.
“It’s a wonderful honour and fully deserved,” he said. “Ken is a real Hammer. He joined the club in the early 50s and as a young boy I used to watch him play when he was in the reserves.
“He really established himself in that fantastic 1957/58 team that won promotion from the Second Division. I joined in 1959 and my generation – the likes of Bobby, Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst, Ronnie Boyce and Jack Burkett to name but a few – were really fortunate to come through at a First Division club at that time.
When you consider that Ken is the only man to play in the ’58 team and both the ’64 and ’65 cup finals, he is quite a unique figure in West Ham United’s history
“When people talk about the Academy – people like John Bond, Noel Cantwell, Malcolm Allison, Dave Sexton and Frank O’Farrell – they all went on to become managers, as did Ken, and he played a key part in building the reputation of the club.
“When you consider that he is the only man to play in the ’58 team and both the ’64 and ’65 cup finals, he is quite a unique figure in West Ham United’s history. For 10 years, he was almost an ever-present in the centre of our defence alongside Bobby, averaging nearly 50 games a season, and the pair of them were so important to our success.
“He often jokes that he used to just sit in behind Bobby waiting for mistakes that just never happened, but that isn’t true. There was so much more to Ken than just backing up Bobby. He was a big, pivotal centre-half, no messing around. He wasn’t a dirty player, didn’t score many goals but he was always steady and reliable.
“Not only was he a great footballer, he is also a great man,” adds Brian. “I reckon he must be the happiest player I ever knew! Every day, he would come to work smiling and laughing. I’m really looking forward to seeing Ken receive his honour in April, it should be a very special evening.”
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