WEST HAM 1965: Brown was the daddy of European glory team
PUBLISHED: 14:00 22 May 2015
Heartbroken Ken distraught over medal theft
West Ham legend Ken Brown should not really have been at Upton Park on May 2 as the present club paid tribute to the heroes of 1965.
Just three days before, he had returned from holiday and found his house had been broken into and his precious medals had been stolen from his safe, including his Cup Winners’ Cup medal.
“It has been a little bit of an upsetting week,” he said. “All my medals are gone and I just keep thinking ‘what good are they to anybody else?’
“My wife and I feel violated and I was really looking forward to giving those medals to the grand-children.”
It was clearly devastating for the 81-year-old, but he made his way down from his home in Norwich to meet up and reminisce with his team-mates from that historic day on May 19, 1965.
“It is just great to be here and see the guys again,” said Brown, with a huge smile on his face.
“I am fortunate because once I finished with football altogether, I alternate between Norwich City and West Ham and they make me so welcome it is embarrassing at times. They don’t realise how much joy playing and managing gave me.”
A modest reaction from a legend at both clubs, as a player with the Hammers and a hugely successful manager with the Canaries, he is keen to see his two beloved teams take each other on again next season in the Premier League.
It is clear with what high regard he is looked upon by his team-mates. Peter Brabrook hands him a large gin and tonic, he laughs with Martin Peters and shares a joke with Ronnie Boyce.
The Forest Gate centre-back is the daddy of the Cup Winners’ Cup team and he is loving every minute of it, the theft of his medals pushed into the background for one day.
Going back to those heady days so long ago, what Brown remembers most was not the victories on the pitch, but the next day. And whether it was the FA Cup final of 1964 or the following season’s win in Europe, they are poignant memories.
“You know what sticks in my mind most? It was the day after,” he reflected. “We got on the coach and I was just thinking, ‘another game over’ you know what I mean.
“But they said we were going to parade through the streets and I said ‘you’re joking, there won’t be anybody about, it’s Sunday’!
“Well, it started from Mile End or something like that and I said ‘there must have been an accident or something’ but I was wrong, there were people everywhere.
“I wouldn’t mind betting that some that saw us at one end, must have caught a bus or gone round the back and met us again in East Ham. Both times it happened were mind-boggling as far as I am concerned. Those are the things you never forget.”
So what about the final against TSV Munich which ended in a 2-0 triumph for the Hammers? After all these years, the 81-year-old is a little more sketchy.
“You get lost every now and then on what happened when and where,” he added with a wry smile. “Alan ‘Sammy’ Sealey scored two goals for us I remember and the first one was a real cracker.
“The second one was an in-off deflection and I can remember what we called him after that, but I can’t say it out loud.
“It was lucky devil or words to that effect,” said Brown, laughing.
Most of all it is the West Ham fans that Brown recalls as he prepared to go back out on the pitch at Upton Park at half time.
“It will certainly bring back the memories,” he said. “The pitch used to be a mudpatch at this time of year, but it is immaculate now.
“But it is the fans that were great. If I’d scored three own goals it would not have been my fault, they had so much faith in me.”
Brown still has those memories, but they are beginning to fade. We can only hope that these thieves show they have a conscience and return the medals he worked so hard to win.