There’s only one Mick Brown

From the Rage Online newsdesk Tuesday, August 1st, 1989  

There’s Only One Mick Brown

Raging Bull would like to welcome Mick Brown to the esteemed office of secretary of Oxford United. Hopefully, we’ll enjoy consistently good relations with Mick – anyway, we’re relieved and pleased he has finally been given the post. He has certainly been a keen United supporter for as long as anyone can remember, which is good news for the fans on the terraces.

However before he gets any ideas of a ‘Manor and me’ sequel we present a brief (but hopefully accurate) history of the man.

We begin the story in the accounts department at Osberton Radiators where Mick worked for many years, although ‘our mole’ suggests that he already seemed more interested in Oxford United matters than anything else. This was back in the previous heady days of the Second Division – Clarke, Curran, Roberts, Cassidy etc. (Incidentally, can a preservation order be placed on the graffiti near the Turf Tavern?) The Second Division side gave little away, until Dave Roberts and Hughie Curran that is, then gave everything away, until relegation was finally achieved, and with it a trip to Cambridge.

This game had a major effect upon the Club and Mick Brown in particular. A sizeable United following travelled cross-country to Cambridge. Seeing us 1-0 up at half-time (Hughie) all seemed well … It was not to be. Two second half goals, a clueless constabulary, and the local yobs conspired to turn a drama into a crisis.

After the game, Cambridge ‘fans’ hurled rocks into the United enclosure. No police action resulted, casualties occurred, a pitch invasion followed, the crossbar was broken, and arrests were plentiful. Chaos ruled supreme, cars were overturned; the Chairman’s Rolls was given a full racing stripes. The route back to Oxford was marked by wanton damage and a mass of graffiti. Radio Oxford even held one of their crisis phone-ins, where anxious mothers asked, ‘how could they have arrested my son?’

Out of the ashes rose the London Road Club, with Mick Brown at its helm. Early relations between the LRC and United seemed a bit strained. Nevertheless Mick was given a battered wooden hut to operate from. Progress was soon made. Travel to away matches was both organised and cheap, coaches and trains were hired with virtually no problems, and despite some appalling away performances, away support was strong.

At home, Mick remained a loyal supporter from his spot on the left side of the London Road. He was always enthusiastic and supportive to the team in their darkest days. I remember one incident in particular. A young and unconfident United side was trailing 0-1 with the London Road really giving them some stick. Mick became involved in a number of heated exchanges, encouraging people to get behind the team. Gradually he succeeded and a frenzied crowd urged United to an unlikely 2~1 victory. This was the first time I became aware of the intimidating effects of an enthusiastic London Road. I remember thinking United owed Mick at least a point for that win.

When the post of Youth Liaison Officer became available Mick Brown was the only real choice. Certainly Peter Marsh, the former United director, was more than keen, and claimed that his last action as a director was to post out Mick’s contract, much to the Maxwell’s annoyance.

Since then, Mick has performed a range of diverse tasks, from running the ticket office, to editing the matchday programme. He has generally kept a low profile, except for the odd interview on Clubcall. Despite hesitations from the Club, he co-operated with the local Football Supporter’s Association in organising a collection for the Hillsborough Fund. This positive move bodes well for our future communications. Now we wait to see how he performs as holder of the sacred walkie-talkie.

Ian Davies


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