Ex-pro pleased his former SIL club is doing well

IPSWICH Exiles are poised to play senior football for the first time in a long history that goes back to 1958.

And ex-player-made-good Ian Brown wishes them well. He is one of a fairly small band of players who went from an SIL club to the professional game.

He played for Exiles as a youngster before going on to enjoy a professional career and is now manager of Ridgeons League Whitton United who had their Suffolk Senior Cup quarter-final against Capel Plough postponed last weekend.

“I keep a close eye on what is happened at Exiles and go and watch them play when I can,“ said Brown. “I’d love to see them gain promotion from the First Division of the Kingsley Healthcare SIL and move up into the Senior Division.“

Striker Brown signed schoolboy forms for Luton Town and moved on to sign professional forms for Birmingham City where he made a 10 minute first team appearances as substitute in a 3-1 League Cup defeat at West Brom in 1984.

Released by the Blues in 1985, he returned to Suffolk - but his determination to succeed continued to shine through because eight years later he signed for Bristol City.

In-between Brown played for Felixstowe and had spells at fellow Ridgeons League clubs Harwich (twice), Stowmarket and Sudbury Town.

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He then moved to Southern League Chelmsford City and was their player of the season in 1992/93 before joining First Division Bristol City for a Chelmsford club record fee of �30,000.

Brown played 13 games for the Ashton Gate-based club and scored one goal before being loaned to Colchester where he netted once in four matches.

He moved to Northampton in December 1994 and scored four times in 23 appearances before a surprise release at the end of that season.

Sudbury Town benefited from his return to Suffolk and Brown scored 69 goals in two Southern League seasons and 18 goals in a half-season of Ridgeons League football before leaving in January 1998 to join Cambridge City.

Brown scored 10 goals in his 18 months with Cambridge and then went on to further spells with Felixstowe, Braintree (in the Isthmian League), Witham Town, Clacton and Maldon before joining Whitton as a reserve coach.

He moved up to become Whitton manager in June 2009 and has two promising players in sons Joshua and Oliver.

While he has helped Whitton make great strides, Brown is also keeping tabs on Exiles where it all began in his varied and successful football career.