FC Halifax Town: “It feels like home” - Skipper Brown reflects on five years at The Shay

In the second part of his interview with the Courier, FC Halifax Town captain Matty Brown reflects on his five years at The Shay.
FC Halifax Town v Dagenham and Redbridge. Matty Brown for Town.FC Halifax Town v Dagenham and Redbridge. Matty Brown for Town.
FC Halifax Town v Dagenham and Redbridge. Matty Brown for Town.

Promotion, relegation, a Wembley win, captaining the club, recovering from serious injury and becoming a Town legend - Matty Brown has crammed a hell of a lot into five years at The Shay.

Last week marked Brown’s fifth anniversary as a Town player, a timely reminder how far he and Halifax have come in that time ahead of arguably the biggest game for the club since Brown’s arrival from Chester.

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“I’d actually already been signed for three weeks but it didn’t get announced,” Brown said.

“So that was the official day, but I had actually signed three weeks before that.

“Me and Andy Bishop signed at the same time. I knew him from playing in the Chester v Wrexham derbies.

“I met him in Birch Services and we travelled up together to meet Neil (Aspin) to sign.

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“That season was a weird one. But I wouldn’t change any of it.

“There’s been some bad parts but some parts have been the best moments in my career.

“I’m not one of these selfish, greedy players that just wants good things in their career.

“To be the rounded footballer and to know the game, you’ve got to experience the lows to appreciate the highs, and being at Halifax has been that for me.

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“I already knew about the highs and lows of football being an Everton fan for so many years, but coming to Halifax it’s a similar mentality where you expect the worst as a Halifax fan, and anything else is a bonus.

“I’ve never tried to hide the way I feel about the club. Even though it’s not anywhere near my home, it feels like home.

“I’ve played for Chester, Southport on my doorstep, but I’ve never felt that.

“From day one, the people behind the scenes made this club the club it is, the fans are brilliant.

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“I’ve been through my fair share of managers, but in terms of how the club operates, it’s a pleasure to play for them.

“For the past three or four seasons, I’ve had the armband and it is a real privilege.

“That’s not just something I say to try and please the fans, I mean what I say when I say it is a privilege.

“Nothing would make me prouder than being able to lead the club back into the league.”

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Brown has played under six managers at Halifax, which may still be in the fifth tier but has experienced some radical changes since the skipper’s arrival.

“When I first came we were proper part-time with night-time training,” he said.

“The actual season I signed, things were really up in the air with the club, we were going through a bit of a transitional stage, a lot of players left, a lot of players signed, managers were coming and going, there wasn’t that stability.

“It wasn’t nice to be a part of at the time but over the years, stability has increased, and we’ve gone into the hybrid model now where we’re closing the gap to being full-time, which is better for the club.

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“And I think that’s echoed on the pitch, we’ve seen progress on the pitch and I think it’s an all-round package.

“Hopefully the club can get where it wants to be.”

Brown’s low point is the day Town were relegated from the fifth tier against Macclesfield at The Shay in April 2016.

“One hundred per cent. That’ll never go away, the way that felt on that day,” he said.

“But the high point has got to be Wembley, followed by getting promoted from the Conference North back into the Conference National.

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“But Wembley was an unbelievable day, and I don’t think that’s going to be beaten, unless we can get to where we want to go.”

And Brown is determined that whatever the future holds for the club, he wants to be part of it.

When asked if he feels he has another five years in him at The Shay, he said: “I’ve got it in me, yeah. I’m looking after myself more than I ever have the last couple of years,

“Towards the end of the season I struggled a little bit with a hamstring and things, but in terms of the last couple of years, I’ve made the most appearances than I have anywhere.

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“I’m feeling good. I’ve just turned 30 but I’d love to see another five years out here, I’d have no problem at all staying at this club for another five years.

“I’ll take each as it comes but first of all, get this job done this season and finish it off the way we want to.”

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