Andy Brassington remembers Tony Brown
27 May 2020
Andy Brassington, former Gloucestershire cricketer, Marketing Manager, and long-standing organiser of former-players' get togethers, has today spoken of his sadness at the passing of his good friend, and first Club captain, Tony Brown.
“Today is a very sad day as in many respects Tony Brown represents the end of an era from the Club’s past. His playing career coincided with some of the greats from Gloucestershire’s illustrious history, and he came to represent everything that the Club stood for.
“I first met him in the Winter of 1973, when I was invited to a net session by county coach Graham Wiltshire, which Tony attended as Club Captain. It was a short session, which surprised me, but I obviously did something well as I was invited back at the start of April for a two-week trial. Whilst initially told that, if the April trial went well, I would be recommended to join the Lord’s Groundstaff, I actually got signed – at Tony’s behest – on a three-year deal with Gloucestershire. It was a decision that changed the course of my life and I will be forever grateful to him for that.
“As a young man, new on the books, it was clear very early on to me that Tony was hugely respected. Many – including me – were also wary of him initially; a man with steel blue eyes, he expected very high standards of everyone at the Club. He insisted on everyone doing things ‘the right way’ and I came to learn that this was because he wanted to get the very best out of you. He truly ‘had our backs’ and would always support you. He would be in touch with players long after they had left the Club or if their playing days had come to an end. To communicate with so many, regardless of whether you were still directly connected with the Club, showed the measure of the man and in sports that was a rarity.
“I remember him so fondly. He was a good-looking bloke, was always seemingly on the TV, and he was a bit of a local hero. He was confident and very competitive, which drove us all on. His playing record is of course fantastic – he could bat well, his bowling was excellent and his catching ability right up there. I know that his man-of-the-match achievement in the 1973 Gillette Cup Final meant so much to him, because he thought he was giving back to the supporters.
“After he put his bat down, he remained a huge part of the Club as Secretary/Manager, and he would go on to play an important administrative role at Somerset and at Lord’s. He also always organised the former Glos player reunions, which he finally handed over to me (with his permission!) when I was in a position to take it on. He always attended our gatherings, and would communicate regularly with the group. As smart as a carrot throughout his days, he had a good dress sense and you know you’d need to shine your shoes in his company!
“In recent months, me and Jack Davey (another former player) have been in regular contact with Tony. When it became clear he was nearing the end, former players inundated him with messages of support, and I know this was a great comfort to him. And with lockdown in place we of course couldn’t visit him towards the end, but he was always talking cricket, and would always have a game on in the background if it was on. In my last conversation with him, when it became clear that this was the last time I would talk to him, I simply thanked him, on behalf of all players, past and present, for his enormous contribution to Gloucestershire Cricket and to the game itself. He will be remembered very fondly by so many people.”