Ken Brown was born in Forest Gate, London on 16th February 1934. After leaving school he played for local Dagenham side Neville United. Brown was signed by Ted Fenton for West Ham United on 16th October, 1951.
Brown was initially coached by Dick Walker, the club's former centre-half. He has fond memories of Walker: "I was a bit of a skinny lad and Dick Walker thought I should put on weight otherwise... I should never last. Andy Malcolm had a car and Dick would take the two of us up to Soho every Friday night for a glass of stout and a big steak and kidney pie, full of meat and gravy." John Lyall also praised Walker's attitude towards the young players at the club. He would be given responsibility for those young players who Lyall described as "Dagenham-type lads".
Brown made his debut for West Ham United on 21st February, 1953 against Rotherham United as a replacement for Malcolm Allison. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. Other members of the team that day included Ernie Gregory, John Bond, Derek Parker, Frank O'Farrell, Jimmy Andrews and Harry Hooper. Brown played in two more games that season before Allison returned from injury.
Brown spent the following season in the reserves. It was not until 28th August 1954 that Brown returned to the first-team in a game against Notts County. Brown played in 23 games that season. West Ham United finished in 8th place in the 1954-55 season. John Dick scored 26 goals in 39 appearances that season. Other young players such as Malcolm Musgrove, John Bond, Noel Cantwell and Andy Malcolm had also been promoted into the first-team.
In the 1955-56 season Brown only played in two games for the first-team. The following season was not much better with only five games and it was not until the 1957-58 season that he became the club's regular centre-half after Malcolm Allison developed tuberculosis and he had to have a lung removed.
That season West Ham United won the Second Division championship. Other members of the team that season included John Dick, Vic Keeble, Billy Dare, Mike Grice, Malcolm Musgrove, John Bond, Mick Newman, Noel Cantwell and Andy Malcolm.
West Ham United finished in 6th place in their first season back in the top division. John Dick was top scorer with 27 goals but Vic Keeble also did well with 20 in 32. Brown played in every game that season. Brown's form was so good that on 18th November, 1959, he was selected to play for England against Northern Ireland. Although he had a good game it was the only international cap he won for his country.
Brown was a member of the team that won the 1964 FA Cup Final against Preston North End 3-2. The following year he was back at Wembley Stadium as part of the European Cup Winners' Cup winning side, that beat TSV Munchen 2-0.
After playing 412 league and cup games for West Ham United he was transferred to Torquay United for a fee of £4,000 in May 1967. He played 42 league games for Torquay before having a season with Hereford United in the Southern League.
In 1970 John Bond was appointed manager of Bournemouth and he appointed Brown as his assistant. The 4th Division club was promoted to the 3rd Division of the Football League in the 1970-71 season. The club finished in 3rd place in the 1971-72 season and the following year Brown followed Bond to Norwich City.
In October 1980, Bond left to manage Manchester City and Brown took over as manager of Norwich. Brown's side was relegated in his first season in charge but though was unable to stop them being relegated. The following season Norwich were promoted back to the First Division at the first attempt. Norwich also won the Football League Cup in 1985, but were relegated at the end of the season. Once again Brown's side reacted well to this set-back and was promoted as Second Division champions.
Ken Brown was sacked as manager of Norwich City on 9th November 1987. He was briefly manager of Shrewsbury Town before taking charge of Plymouth Argyle in July 1988. After a poor run of results Brown was sacked in February 1990.