The Encylopedia of British Football

Arthur Brown

Arthur Brown was born in Aston on 15th March 1859. He played local football before joining Aston Villa in August 1878. Brown was the older brother of the Villa player, Albert Brown.

In the 1880-81 season Aston Villa won 21 of their 25 games. They also won the Staffordshire Cup that year. Tony Matthews argues in his book, Who's Who of Aston Villa that "Brown was a splendid, all-action forward... despite his height (5 ft 8 in.) he was a strong, sturdy player, determined and goal-happy."

On 18th February, 1882, Arthur Brown and Howard Vaughton became the first two Aston Villa players to play for their country. Also in the team that day was Doc Greenwood and Fred Hargreaves, who both played for Blackburn Rovers. England beat Ireland 13-0. Vaughton (5) and Brown (4) scored 9 of the 13 goals. The following month Brown played against Scotland (1-5) and Wales (3-5).

In the 1884-85 season Arthur Brown played in the same forward-line as Albert Brown, Howard Vaughton and Archie Hunter.

Brown was forced to retire through ill-health in May, 1886. He worked as a club steward until 1908.

Arthur Brown died in Aston on 11th July 1909.

Primary Sources

(1) Philip Gibbons, Association Football in Victorian England (2001)

Derby County were founded much later than the majority of teams in the East Midlands. The Derby area had long been identified with a type of football played at Ashbourne, on Shrove Tuesday, which consisted of two groups of men from local parishes kicking and carrying a ball from one end of the street to another with hardly a goal ever scored. Prior to the formation of Derby County in 1884, the Derby Midlands and Derby Junction Clubs were acknowledged as the finest in the area, while the County were associated with Derbyshire County Cricket Team, with many of their players assisting Derby County during the winter months.

Arthur Wilson, W M Jervis and William Morley were the early pioneers of the Derby side. Their first official game took place against Great Lever from the Bolton area of Lancashire, for whom John Goodall, who would later render great service with Derby, led the attack. Included in the Derby team against Great Lever were Benjamin Spilsbury, George Bakewell and Haydn Morley, who, together with Derbyshire County Cricketers Frank Sugg and William Storer, formed a side to be reckoned with. Though Derby were considered to be an excellent team, success would be a long time arriving, which would coincide with the arrival of Steve Bloomer, a pale-faced and slightly built young man, who would score prolifically for both Derby and the English national team, thus earning the reputation as the finest goal scorer of the Victorian era.

(2) Ernest Needham, Association Football (1901)

Another great forward is Stephen Bloomer, who is said by a good many judges to stand in a class by himself. He plays to get goals, and when he is in form woe to the back and half-back who may have to tackle him. He has a good turn of speed, and at the present time he is, without doubt, the quickest man to receive the ball and make for goal. He is selfish or unselfish as he chooses, he can combine with any man, or he can play for himself. He is the mainstay of the Derby team, and if they should ever have to dispense with his services there will be plenty of clubs to take him.