Leeds United F.C. History
Leeds United F.C. History : Foreword
1919-29 - The Twenties
1930-39 - The Thirties
1939-46 - The War Years
1947-49 - Post War Depression
1949-57 - The Reign of King John
1957-63 - From Charles to Revie
1961-75 - The Revie Years
1975-82 - The Downward Spiral
1982-88 - The Dark Years
1988-96 - The Wilko Years
1996-04 - The Rollercoaster Ride
2004-17 - Down Among The Deadmen
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
Players' Profiles
Managers' Profiles
Leeds City F.C. History
Leeds City F.C. Player and Manager Profiles
Leeds United/City Statistics
Leeds United/City Captains
Leeds United/City Friendlies and Other Games
Leeds United/City Reserves and Other Teams

Brown: Robert Albert John (Sailor)

WW2 Guest: 1940-1941 (Leeds United War-time Guest Player Details)

Outside Right

Born: Great Yarmouth: 07-11-1915

Debut: v Hull City (a): 18-01-1941

Height: 5' 8", Weight: unknown

Brown was educated at St Peter's and Priory School and started his football career with Great Yarmouth Town and then Gorleston. It was evident that he was blessed with exceptional talent. At the age of ten he was excelling in a Yarmouth Boys team, consisting mostly of teenagers, and after shining for his local Eastern Counties League club, Gorleston, while working as an apprentice sewing machine mechanic, he signed for Charlton, then in the Third Division South, in August 1934. He was so focused on becoming a first class footballer that he twice went for a trial with Charlton and, on both occasions, he walked or hitch-hiked from Norfolk to London. When he finally was accepted he had to bide his time at the Valley and did not make his debut for the Addicks until 29th January 1938 in a 2-0 home win over Birmingham City. Charlton had worked their way from the Third Division South, by winning the League in 1934-35, then finishing runners-up in the Second Division in 1935-36, and were then contenders for the First Division title. Brown thrived on the challenge and helped them to be runners-up in the First Division, the club's highest ever position, in his first season of 1936-37. Brown was a subtle and supremely deft manipulator of a football, adept at dispatching inch-perfect through-passes to fellow attackers such as George Tadman and Don Welsh, and soon he was on the verge of international recognition. When he did don the England shirt, though, it was in a non-ranking friendly in South Africa in 1939, but throughout the war Brown remained an active footballer, and captained the RAF team. During the war, he served as a Sergeant in the Royal Air Force and was a member of the Greenwich auxiliary police. Robert (Sailor) Brown was a very well-known player with Charlton Athletic, when he played for Leeds United as a World War Two guest at Outside Right at Hull City in a 1-4 defeat on 18th January 1941. " All the local papers had said that Cpl Brown of Charlton Athletic would play in the game at Outside Right. This was Robert Albert John Brown, who was known to everyone as "Sailor" Brown. Brown was known as Sailor for most of his career, the nickname sticking after he was called Popeye by his Charlton team-mates because of his short, muscular build and rolling gait. He played with a variety of clubs in the War, in that season, 1940-41, he appeared once for Charlton Athletic and fourteen times for Manchester City, but not on 18th January 1941. From 1941-42 onwards he played mainly for York City."(Information kindly supplied by Neil Roche). Apart from the already mentioned clubs, he also played for Crystal Palace, Derby County, Chelsea, West Ham United, Millwall, Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Huddersfield Town and East Fife as a War-time Guest. 1939-40 saw Brown score once in one game for Chelsea, and played once for both Millwall and West Ham United, without scoring, as well as scoring eighteen in thirty-nine gamws for his own club, Charlton Athletic. He only managed one game for them, without scoring, in 1940-41, when he played mainly for Manchester City, where he scored six times in fourteen appearances. 1941-42 saw him score twice in five appearances for Charlton Athletic, made one appearance at Manchester City, three at Huddersfield Town, both without scoring, but York City were his favoured club with three goals in twenty appearances. He also scored ten goals in twenty-eight games for the Minstermen in 1942-43, but also scored twice in six games at Charlton. 1943-44 saw him score ten times in twenty-seven games, but played once for Crystal Palace, without scoring and scored twice in six games for York City. He played regularly for the Addicks in 1944-45, scoring six times in twenty-four games, but also played once for Derby County, Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and twice for Millwall, all without scoring. The final season of the wartime fixtures saw him score three goals in thirty-one appearances in the League and he also scored once in the F.A. Cup, and played in the Final which was lost to Derby County 1-4, after extra-time. He also featured in six unofficial internationals for England, for whom he scored four goals. With such players as Wilf Mannion, Stan Mortensen, Raich Carter, Jimmy Hagan, Jesse Pye and many others around, there was strong competition for a place at inside-forward in the England team. His first game for England was at Inside-Right to Stanley Matthews in a 3-2 win over Scotland, in front of 65,780 at Villa Park on 3rd February 1945 and he scored the first England goal. His second came just two months later, when he played at Inside-Left and was again on the score sheet as England piled on the agony, beating Scotland in front of 133,000 at Hampden Park on 14th April 1945. Less than a month later he was making his third appearance for England, at Inside-Left, on 5th May 1945 at Ninian Park, when a crowd of 25,000 saw the visitors edge home by 3-2. A few weeks later on 26th May 1945 he played his fourth game for England, at Inside-Left in a Victory International at Wembley, where a crowd of 65,000 saw France hold England to a 2-2 draw. A couple of months later he took part in an unofficial International to mark the fiftieth Anniversary of the Swiss F.A.at the Neufeld Stadion, Berne, in front of 35,000, when Brown played Inside-Right to Tom Finney and scored England's only goal as they went down 1-3. His next game was in a Victory International on 19th January 1946, in front of 85,000 at Wembley, when he was back to Inside-Left and opened the scoring for England as they beat Belgium 2-0. His final game for England was in another Victory International at Stamford Bridge, where a crowd of 75,000 saw him play at Inside-Left and score as England got revenge over Switzerland when they won 4-1. Wembley Stadium had become familiar territory to him. He was a member of the Charlton team that was overwhelmed 7-1 by Arsenal in the League South Cup final of 1943, and was back at Wembley a year later when they won the Cup final against Chelsea after going a goal behind. Then, in 1945, he turned out as a guest player for Millwall when they lost the League South Cup final 2-0 to Chelsea. On 27th April 1946 he was at inside-right in the FA Cup final for Charlton Athleticas they were beaten 4-1 in extra time by Derby County. Brown almost emerged as the Addicks’ hero of that game, when, deep in the second half, and before a goal had been scored, he dribbled past five defenders only to give the ball away with an uncharacteristically inaccurate pass instead of sending in the skipper Don Welsh for what surely would have been the winner. The game went to extra time and a Derby team, which included the magnificent duo of Raich Carter and Peter Doherty, prevailed with plenty to spare. He scored twenty-one goals in forty-seven peacetime League games and scored twenty-four times in sixty appearances in all peace-time games while at the Valley. Shortly afterwards Brown had a sharp difference of opinion with the Charlton Manager Jimmy Seed and was transferred to Second Division Nottingham Forest for £6,750 in May 1946. Seed insisted that Brown could not join a First Division club, and although Sailor's preferred choice was Ason Villa, he had little option but to sign for Forest. He made forty-five League appearances and scored seventeen goals for Forest before moving to First Division Aston Villa in October 1947 for a fee of £10,000, then the club's record highest fee paid. They did not have his services for long, as they lost them for good when the thirty-two-year-old suffered a severely broken jaw in an encounter with Portsmouth a year later.After making thirty-one appearances and scoring nine goals, and spending the rest of his senior career with Villa, in August 1948, he returned to his native Norfolk to become player-manager of Gorleston. Under his inspiration, the club had an impressive run in the early stages of the 1952 F.A. Cup, before going out to Leyton Orient in a replay at Highbury. He left the club in May 1956 and retired from football and worked as a bookmaker and a timber merchant, while also scouting for Villa. He initially continued to live in Gorleston but lived in Forres, Morayshire, Scotland, for the last ten years of his life and died suddenly, but peacefully at the Meadowlark Nursing Home on 27 December 2008, at the age of ninety-three.

League 10