Rovers matchday magazine RTID caught up with Chris Brown who spoke about his footballing career so far.
Chris tell us a bit about how you got started in football?
“I came from a football background; my dad and my grandad played. I used to play in the back garden with my dad and couldn’t wait to get started at school.
“I was probably 8 or 9 when I started training. As I got older I lost all my confidence and found I wasn’t enjoying football but Jed McNamee, who was at Sunderland at the time, wanted me to go and sign there- it was the best thing I ever did.
“I enjoyed it from the first training session and stayed for 7 or 8 years.”
As a young lad you came to Rovers on loan for one of our most successful seasons what was that like?
“It was really good, I’d missed the previous full season so it was important that I proved myself worthy of another contract.
“I was in the last year of my contract and I needed somebody to take a chance on me. Thankfully, Dave Penney and Mickey Walker came to a reserve game and I came straight down here the next day and played against Bristol Rovers.
“I loved every minute from my first day of training to my last -It was a great experience.”
What are your best memories of that season?
“Well, to start the lads were brilliant with me being part of a first-team squad for the first time. They really looked after me. Obviously, the promotion was a highlight. I don’t think anybody had really given us a chance - we had a bit of a poor start but then we went on a great run.
“The parade in Doncaster and getting the medal were brilliant. There isn’t a better way of making a start in football.”
You then went back to Sunderland and it all started to happen then.
“Yes, I was asked pre-season if I wanted to be part of the squad, which is what I’d always wanted being a local lad.
“I didn’t play as regularly as I would have liked but I still took part in around 30 games. We were promoted to the Premier League that season which was brilliant!”
What happened after you moved on from Sunderland?
“I moved onto Norwich, which didn’t quite work out as I didn’t play many games through injury. Glen Roeder took over and wanted me out, however Alan Irvine took a chance on me at Preston where I probably played the best football of my career. I loved it there.”
What were the highlights of your Preston days?
“For a start it was staying in the league; we were bottom of the league in January but we managed to stay up. Then in the following season, we managed to get to the play-offs against Sheffield United.
“I think we were unlucky as they beat us by the odd goal. There was a great set lads and we did really well to get in the play-offs.”
Then came your return to Doncaster Rovers.
“Yes, it was in the back of my mind that I would like to come back when I left Preston.
“I love the club. It’s a lovely family club and I knew a couple of the lads here so I was happy when Sean [O’Driscoll] brought me over.
“I didn’t have a full pre-season, I came here half way through and I probably did a bit too much training to start with and I wasn’t ready for it.
“It went from there really and I ended up having a knee operation which put me out longer than it should have done.
“I came back the last few months of the season and had some good games. It all went back to not having a proper pre-season which thankfully this year I’ve had.”
You look like you’re enjoying your football and your scoring goals too.
“Yes, I’m enjoying it. I started the season scoring goals and being in the team. It’s something I want to do. I want to stay in the team and help us get to the top of the league.”
What advice would you give to young players like those in our youth team?
“Just enjoy it! I always found if I enjoyed it I was confident and relaxed.
“You’ve got to work hard as it can only make you better. There was a lad when I was at Sunderland who was getting compliments purely for his attitude; he’s gone on to make a great career in the game.
“It’s not all about ability. If you haven’t got the right attitude and dedication to work hard you’re not going to get anywhere.
“So, just enjoy it and work as hard as you possibly can.”