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CLUB LEGEND: Irvin Brown

(20-09-35 to 20-12-2005)

Irvine Brown for Bournemouth
Irvine Brown for Bournemouth

Irvin Brown was one of five brothers raised in a house in Lewes Sussex where sport and more sport was the main topic of conversation for the family. Irvin and two of his brothers Alan and Stan went on to become full time professional footballers.

They all played for Brighton & Hove Albion at different times. He was captain of the Mountfied Road Junior, and Lewes County Modern Schools’ football teams as well as the East Sussex County side. Irvin was not only a gifted footballer, but also played cricket, high jumped, and ran 440yards to County level.

Young Irvin Brown was spotted playing on a local field with some of his friend by a talent scout called Mr Welch in 1950. Irvin left school at fourteen, and joined the ground staff at Brighton and Hove Albion, as well as working on a farm. After signing professional forms on his seventeenth birthday he played for both the A and Reserve Teams for the next five years.

At the age of twenty two he made his First Team debut against Northampton Town, and they won the game 4-2. This was against a team that Brighton had not beaten since the 1938-39 season before the war. Whilst he was still at Brighton & Hove the team went on to win promotion to the Second Division from the old Third Division South. During this time Irvin had to combine his footballing career with doing his National Service working with Police Horses.

After seven years at Brighton, and now married with a young daughter Janet, Irvin moved to Bournemouth & Boscombe. He was to play his first game for his new Club away to Reading in 1958, and continued to play for them up until he joined Poole in July 1963. He was now a semi-professional, and also worked as a carpenter and joiner having qualified at evening school. Irvin was voted the Poole Town Player of the year in 1969/70 season, and was given a Benefit Game by them in 1970 against a Poole Speedway Team.

Irvin joined up with the then Hamworthy United Manager Billy Elliott in 1976 acting as his assistant and also playing the odd game for the Hammers. He then jointly went on to manage the first team with Cliff Balsom before taking full charge of the side.

At a time when the Dorset Combination League was very strong United did well to more than hold their own every year, with very little reward to show for it. The Hammers won their only trophy under Irvin in the 1989-1990 season. They won the Dorset Combination Cup beating Wareham Town after a replay at Swanage. Irvin stepped down as Manager to make way for Mervyn Squire and took over the role as Physio from Mike Sturgess. He left to join Alex Pike at Wimborne in 1998. Irvin said he would always finish his footballing days at the Hammers, and this he did returning as physio to Alex Pike in 2003. A position he held until his death in December 2005.

Chipper & Mike Russell with Irvin Brown

Irvin was loved by all who knew him, and is still sorely missed by the many people that he helped over the years in so many different ways. He will always be an Icon at Hamworthy United Football Club, and the Stand that bears his name was built to honour his memory most of the money for this came from donations and Old Boys matches played against Hamworthy Recreation FC.

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