It has been confirmed today that 31-year old Wes Brown has had a medical at Sunderland ahead of a move that will see the long-standing United player leave his boyhood club. It is always a sad day when one of the old guard leaves but this summer of renewal is picking up yet more pace as United look to freshen up a new look squad and build, once again, for the future. I want to give the warmest of thanks to what Wes Brown has given to the club over a fantastic 13 year career.
Wes had a meteoric rise in the youth ranks and alongside Ryan Giggs remains one of the only 2 players ever in United’s history to pick up the coveted Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award twice, a testament to the talent he possessed as a young player before injuries blighted his career. Knee ligament injuries prior to the 1999/2000 season and near the end of the 2002/3, as well as a broken ankle in August 2002, would scupper his chances of securing a first team spot but his unwillingness to give in to injury saw him return and become a prominent squad player in the 2005/6 season, a campaign where he secured a central partnership with Rio Ferdinand but his spot was taken by the brick wall that is Nemanja Vidic when he was brought in from Spartak Moscow the following season.
Once again, however, Wes Brown bided his time and waited for his chances and they came; an injury to Gary Neville meant that Wes Brown played more minutes than any other player in the 2008 campaign en-route to a historic club double of the Premier League and Champions League. He was rewarded with a new four-year contract in 2008, the last contract that he would sign at United. Injuries stopped the rise of his career and it thwarted the latter stages of it too; an ankle injury in November 2009 led to exploratory surgery which kept him out of the team for the best part of 3 months and when he made his comeback, yet another injury kept him out until he made an appearance at the end of the season. Despite recovering from his injuries in time for the end, he hadn’t played enough game time and unfortunately missed out on a winner’s medal in the process.
SAF has chosen to close the book on Wes Brown’s Manchester United career after 14 years and 361 appearances and I wish Wes Brown all the luck in the world at his new club. It is in the best interest of both parties as under Steve Bruce, I have no doubt that Brown will excel and provide some much needed first team football for the longevity of his career and along the way, it will help Sunderland better their league position. As for United, it means that more opportunities will be given to the twins Rafael and Fabio who look all the part the future of United in the full back positions. Brown joins Scholes and Neville as United revamp their squad ahead of the new season; the curtains are closing on the remnants of the most successful decade in United’s history, with Ryan Giggs the sole remaining player from Fergie’s Fledgelings but football must move on. Seeing as he played for the club for over 10 years, one would imagine that we may see a testimonial for Wes but regardless of such events, we won’t see him play in the red of United in a competitive match any more. Goodbye and good luck Wes!