Brown, Jon

Birth Date

8th September 1966


Barnsley, Yorkshire



Biographical Text

Jon Brown signed for Exeter City from South Yorkshire club Denaby United and made around 180 league appearances in a five-year stay. He later appeared for Halifax Town before returning to his work as an architectural technologist.  

The son of Edward Brown, who had played semi-professionally for Barnsley during World War Two, Jon became a trainee architectural technician after leaving school. Having previously played for Worsbrough Bridge Athletic, Jon had a brief trial at Sheffield United before continuing to play for Denaby United from whom he signed for Exeter City in July 1990. 

Joining a team just promoted to the third-tier, Jon made his City debut at Preston North End on 6 October 1990 and soon became a popular player amongst supporters. Although primarily a defender, Jon showed his versatility by featuring in several positions including - on one occasion - as emergency goalkeeper.   

Jon went on to make 164 league appearances for the Grecians with four of his five seasons spent in the third-tier. With City often struggling, and then finishing bottom of the fourth-tier in his final season, there was little success on the field during his time with the club for all of Jon’s personal consistency. 

Jon left St James’ Park in July 1995 to join Halifax Town with whom he won the Conference in 1998. Now working again in architecture, Jon saw out his football career on a part-time basis with Nuneaton Borough and later Stocksbridge Park Steels.

Many years later in 2023, in the role of a director of DLA Architecture in Leeds, Jon made an unlikely West Country connection in describing his pride for his part in the design and build of the Morrisons distribution centre at Bridgwater - the site of which he would have passed many times on the Exeter City team coach.  


The following appeared in the Exeter City programme in 1991:


At this time last year Jonathan Brown, the popular flame haired defender, had not made his debut for Exeter City and was, in fact, fresh from the NE Counties League. Jon is now an established member of the first team squad, last season he appeared 29 times (3 as substitute) in the League and also made 5 Cup appearances in various positions across the back four.

Popular Barnsley-born Jon will celebrate his 25th birthday next Sunday and his enthusiastic approach to the game is a clear reflection of his late entry into the professional ranks. He was spotted whilst playing for Denaby United and signed on for City with Andrew Tibenham (released towards the end of last season).
The first twelve months have been really enjoyable says Brown. "I've had a good year. I didn't expect to make so many appearances in my first twelve months. I simply enjoy playing and to get into the first team so quickly has been a real bonus".

The recent managerial change at the club is also treated positively, "I think Alan Ball manages along the same lines as Terry Cooper, in as much that he wants us to play football rather than a spoiling game. The long ball is generally out. I think we will have some new faces in but, no doubt, we will turn things around and have a better time than we are having so far".
The poor start to the season also draws a clear statement. "I have never been involved in such a bad start - ever. It gets you down at points. We are playing badly re ally, we are not together as a team as yet. We only got together about a week before the season when the new gaffer arrived. He had to make a snap decision on what his best side was and from there we've had to change a few things". Jon is clear about the future. "I think we will see a more settled  side as Alan Ball has a proper idea of his best side. Then I'm sure you will see things change for the better with some wins - hopefully starting against Torquay". This will be Browny's first derby match and he is really looking forward to the match. "I was only sub on Saturday at Shrewsbury so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Jon has yet to hit the target for City, "At least I've got my back passes sorted out now he quipped as a clear reminder to those City supporters who seem recall the days when most passes went back to the "keeper. "I'm not doing so many now, am 12". He cannot recall going close in a match, "I bring Kev into action in the warm-ups. That's about as close as I've come". The big difference between the NE Counties league and the Third Division is the pace of the game. "You've got to be switched on mentally all the time. If you switch off you will no doubt be punished for it. Last season we had games with just one defensive lapse in 90 minutes and we lost 1-0 away from home. Rumours abounded last year that various City players were catching the eye of First division clubs and one or two tabloids linked Browny with some big clubs. "I have ambitions to play at the highest level I possibly can. At this time my main aim is to be a regular in the Exeter City side".

The defender is renowned at St James Park for his vocal support. "Do you mean have I got a big mouth?", he queried, "I think that may be right, I am a bit louder than other people. You have to do your share of organising and encouraging, it should be a part of everybody's game". Despite the strong vocal chords Jon has not captained a team since Barnsley Boys. The move from Yorkshire has been made very easily. "I brought the missus down, that helped. It's a lot slower way of living down here and it took some getting used to but i have enjoyed it, it's nice part of the country"  The affable North Coutryman has a new hobby. watching Ceefax! He won a super teletext TV as ihe Rumbelows Man of the Match for the recent match with Birmingham and hasn't had the set turned off since!

My thanks to Jon Brown for his interesting chat. Long may he brighten the lives of us slow moving folk in the West Country.



Exeter City league games only






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