Andy with his son, Alex


Well-known football player and manager Andy Brown has retired from his role as first team manager of Ryde Saints after 7 years in charge, and bows out of the sport after some 43 years.

On Saturday (23rd October), Andy managed his last game against Northwood St Johns at the Isle of Wight Community Club in Cowes. The result was a 1-1 draw.

Island Echo’s Warren Whitmore has interviewed Andy about his 43 years in Island football…

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Which clubs have you played for?

I started at Oakfield in the early 80s. Then I played for BHC (now East Cowes Sports), where we won the Sunday league. Between 1988 and 1991, I played for Ryde Sports under Graham Daish with some great players such as Mark Deacon. We even played some professional sides such as West Brom and Sheffield Wednesday while I was there.

Which clubs have you managed?

I started by managing Oakfield Youth in 2003. I then managed East Cowes Vics ‘A’ side and Newport Reserves. In 2014, I took over as manager of Ryde Sports first team.

Ryde Saints 2021/22 Team – with Andy Brown bottom left

Which team do you support?

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Leicester City. But I also sometimes go and watch Southampton.

How has the game changed since you started playing football?

When I started playing, football was an event everyone looked forward to. We would try not to miss any games, even for a wedding! There were no X-boxes, and there was no social media. Society has changed, and now the commitment is less.

What is your greatest achievement as manager?

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Ryde Saints have been promoted to the 1st Division twice, in 2016 and 2019. We also won the Hampshire Junior ‘A’ Cup in 2016, and the Isle of Wight Junior ‘A’ Cup, when we beat Oakfield 4-1 in the final.

What is your biggest disappointment?

That I never managed at Wessex League level.

Why did you retire?

I need to do the things I promised myself and my family.

What will you do next?

I’ve got a Labrador, so I’ll be taking the dog for a walk. I’ll also be going round some of the Island League grounds.

Will you go back to football management?

I’d never say never.

What does the future hold for Ryde Saints?

All the foundations are now in place. We have football teams for every year. We have good progression to senior football, with players such as Aedan Coode and Callum Chase going on to play Wessex League with Cowes. It’s still a couple of years before we can advance to the Hampshire League. But we aim to do this at the end of our 2-year ground share with Newport.

What can you say about the new first team manager, Nic Johnson?

Nic has been a coach at Ryde Saints for over 4 years. He has managed both the ‘A’ side and the reserve side. His taking over shows good progression and stability within the club.

Do you know any funny stories from Island football?

One funny thing I can think of is when playing for East Cowes Vics Vets with many ex-Wessex and Southern League players. We were pushing for a win (which we did) but had a corner which Pete Wheeler went to take quickly. Pete was an ex-Newport first team player. He went to play it short but instead of kicking the ball, he kicked the corner flag. This subsequently rebounded and smacked him straight in the face, breaking his front tooth in half! He was a good-looking lad and was really not impressed, especially when we all took the mickey and reminded him at the end of season presentation (in front of his wife)!

How have others in Island football reacted to your stepping down?

I have been overwhelmed with support since announcing my retirement. I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to all well-wishers.

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