Saturday, October 31, 1992

'Holiday' away from home (The Malay Mail)

MIKE BROWN, even in his free time, somehow can't get his mind off soccer.
"I don't know what free time is ... if there is such a thing, then I
haven't found it yet," said the 53-year-old Englishman, who was born in
Hull but, after having spent most of his time there, considers Manchester
his home.
Brown actually breathes soccer 24 hours a day, 365 days a year - for the
past 38 years!
However, he admitted he has had extra time on his hands since coming to
Malaysia to coach Pahang.
"Somehow, everything I do back in England revolves around soccer.
"Even when I play a round of golf, it's with my soccer buddies and,
naturally, we would usually end up talking about soccer," said Brown, a
"But since coming to Kuantan and staying on my own, I have managed to
get some spare time. And if I were to tell people back home what I have
been doing, they'd be amused.
"I have never been known to be a letter writer even when I was in the
army during my younger days.
"But in Kuantan, I think I have written more letters than in my whole
"My friends were surprised to receive letters from me, but they have
obliged by replying and keeping me informed of what is happening back
"I must admit it's a sheer joy to find a letter from home in the
mailbox. I have never experienced this feeling before."
Apart from writing letters, Brown has been occasionally playing golf,
but spends most of his free time at Kuantan's Merlin Hotel.
"I have made some good friends at the hotel ... it's like a second home
to me.
"I'd normally go to the hotel for a swim in the morning and spend some
time on the beach.
"It's seafront has a lovely setting, which is where I write most of my
letters before a swim.
"Its also during this period that I figure out my plans before each
"Sometimes, I get players who are injured to join me and undergo
remedial workouts in the pool and on the beach."
Brown said in England, he used to do much of his planning on the
"I used to spend a lot of time on my own on the motorways, travelling to
matches. Being alone enabled me to think aloud.
"But since I am staying here alone, I do get a lot of time by myself,
and I find the seaside a refreshing place for contemplation."
Brown would normally have his meal at the hotel before returning home in
the afternoon.
"Many of my friends have sent me tapes of classical music and whenever I
get the opportunity to relax, I listen to it for about an hour.
"Of course, I perform some household chores, something which I have
never done before in my life," he chuckled.
"If friends back home were to find out about this, my ego would suffer a
"I was pampered before coming to Malaysia. Everything was done for me. I
have never ironed a shirt before I came to Kuantan.
"Although a maid comes to the house once a week - and she does a
marvellous job, including washing and ironing my clothes - I still do some
on my own."
Another chore which Brown had never done before is shopping.
"I am a hit at the local supermarket. I cannot believe I am doing this."
In the evenings, Brown can be found training the Pahang team. His
nightlife is either dinner with friends, the players or on his own.
Then he heads for the local pub for a pint or two.
"In England, my social life revolved around the pubs. I certainly miss
that scene where soccer talk rules.
"I do enjoy my moments at the pubs here. I have met all sorts of
characters, which has been quite an experience.
"But I don't stay up late. I would head for home after a couple of
Brown said at times, he missed his family, who are not with him here
because he took up the Pahang appointment at short notice following the
departure of his predecessor, Len Ashurst.
"Besides, my two boys - Gary (23) and Steven (20) - are just starting
out after completing their education and need to be looked after. It was
best that my wife Pamela remained with them."
Gary has been to Malaysia to visit Brown for a couple of weeks while
Pamela also flew down for a month in September.
"But I did not spend much time with them because I was involved with the
"In fact, Pamela hardly saw much of Malaysia, except to travel to away
matches where Pahang played during that period.
"As for me, I hardly have time to visit any place of interest."
Brown said he has enjoyed his stay in Malaysia and, if given an
opportunity, would not hesitate to return.
One thing he missed is watching the other soccer matches, something
which he used to do in England.
"Here, the fixtures do not allow that. I have only watched one match
this season - between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur at the National Stadium -
when Pahang had a rest day.
"Whether I return for another stint in Malaysia or not, I'd always have
fond memories of this country, especially its friendly and warm people.
"It has indeed been a pleasant experience for me," said Brown, whose
contract with Pahang FA expires on Nov 30.
On his future, Brown said: "Once a footballer, always a footballer. Have
boots will travel and that sums up my options.
"I'd not hesitate to go anywhere as long as it involves soccer."

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