Linnets Legends - Norman "Nongie" Brown
We are delighted that this section has been contributed by Lewis Brown, who is the grandson of Norman and we are delighted to add “Nongie” to the Linnets Legends
Norman Brown joined the Linnets in 1946, and was one of Runcorn Football Club's most prominent and popular players in the 1940s and 50s. He joined the Linnets after being demobbed from the Royal Navy and having a short spell with the newly-formed ex-service men's team, which played at Percival Lane and later became Runcorn Athletic.
He had served in the Far East and always remembered spending Christmas 1945 in Sydney - because he hadn’t been allowed off the ship! Although interesting bigger clubs on his return to civilian life , he opted on a football post close to home. " I’ve been away for long enough", he said.
Norman affectionately known to the supporters as "Nongie", was to stay at Canal Street for 12 years and made the Number seven shirt his own. His crowd-pleasing talents on the right wing were undoubted - especially playing down the slope and not only earned the respect of his contemporaries in the high standard of The Cheshire County League, but also continued to impress the scouts. Runcorn were attracting 1500 - 2000 attendances - considerably more for derby games against Northwich Victoria and Ellesmere Port.
Bill Nicholson, at the time with Tottenham Hotspur, was among those to run the rule over the diminutive right-winger. The White Hart Lane boss said: “He certainly had the skill but was probably a few inches too short to step up to the professional game. Norman was known as a pacey winger with great skill, and the fans would always know whether he was going to have a good game, because he would roll his sleeves up!
"Nongie" also had loan spells at Crewe, Wrexham and Middlesbrough for a permanent deal, which he turned down. After Norman finished playing football, he played other sports such as boxing, cricket and was a qualified electrician, but he was further known for his great skill at crown green bowling.
He played for Runcorn Memorial and the Grapes Inn. Norman was a well known person around Runcorn for his great sporting achievements but the one for him was Runcorn Linnets! He turned down professional football for them, which showed his great commitment to the club!
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