Wes Brown was not your typical flashy footballer with a big ego – even after rubbing shoulders with the likes of at .
The former England defender came from humble origins and highlighted that during a recent interview when talking about his commute to training as a youngster.
‘I had to get two buses, wait for one of the lads to pick me up in the car as I was walking down,’ he told the channel. He revealed that his choice of commute was ‘normal’ to him – and that he had to explain to boss Sir that he couldn’t afford a car or a taxi to get him to their facility.
‘I had a fight on the bus – that’s how [Sir Alex] found out,’ he added. ‘He said to me “what you doing getting the bus?”. I said “I’ve always got the bus”, and from that day it changed, I moved closer. He kept telling me to get a taxi and I said I can’t afford it.
‘At the time it was no different to me because it was what I was used to. People knew who I was because I had made my debut but the bus was the bus, it was normal.’
Former Manchester United and England defender Wes Brown has been declared bankrupt
He married wife Leanne Wassell (left) in 2009 and ended up having three children together
Brown came from humble beginnings and used to get two buses into training during his early days as a Manchester United player
, things have quickly spiralled for Brown.
Having earned a reported £50,000-a-week during his time at United, while also turning out for Sunderland, Blackburn and working a handful of jobs as a pundit, he and is left in a dark place.
He is already said to have split with his wife Leanne last year and moved out of the home he shared with her and their three daughters Halle, Lilia, and Lola.
From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. This is someone who was used to success from an early age in his career.
Brown had won the FA Youth Cup with the reserves after signing his first professional contract with United in 1996 and being voted Young Player of the Year twice before being catapulted into the first team.
His debut came in the 1997-98 season and the following year he was part of the club’s famous treble-winning season – playing 21 times in all competitions as United won the Premier League.
He was also on the bench to witness their incredible 2-1 comeback win against Bayern Munich in stoppage time to win the Champions League.
Brown’s fortune allowed him to splash out on a £5m home in Cheshire with a swimming pool
It was complete with a swimming pool and a spacious, open plan living room with high ceilings
Brown secretly split with Leanne last year before moving out of their mansion for a much more modest house in Cheshire
That’s quite a strong introduction to football and set the bar fairly high for him as he went on to become a regular in United’s heralded team under Ferguson, finishing up winning five league titles, two FA Cups, two League Cups and the Champions League again in 2008.
Brown would pick up 23 England caps in his career too.
While he struggled a lot with injuries, he can be pretty happy with how his footballing life went.
Despite struggling with money early on in his life, his time in the game allowed him to pick up a reported salary of £50,000-a-week at United and many luxuries followed as a result.
After marrying Leanne in 2009, the pair would splash out £5million on a plush mansion in Mobberley, Cheshire, complete with swimming pool a spacious kitchen and an open plan living room.
Brown was also known to drive a £100,000 Bentley Continental.
From a personal standpoint, Brown has had troubles and heartache – losing his father Bancroft in 2008 and his half-sister Claire, while she was pregnant, two years later.
Brown (left) made his Man United debut in 1997-98 before becoming a mainstay at Old Trafford
Brown – who was seen driving a £100,000 Bentley Continental during his career – was understood to be earning around £50,000 a week at Old Trafford
In 2011 his first team opportunities began to dry up and he was sold to Sunderland, where he’d stay for five seasons before his career startled dwindling down.
There was to be one final campaign in England at Blackburn Rovers – but he only featured six times at Ewood Park. His playing days were rounded off in India with the Kerala Blasters.
In the years that followed, Brown has moved into punditry and has had a handful of commercial deals and special appearances, before trouble started arising in 2019 when Companies House showed he had applied for his firm Wes Brown Limited to be struck off the public register.
After a delay in the process, – and later on that year it was reported he had split from Leanne and moved out of their home, which at one point had been on the market for £4.5m – before the asking price was reduced to £2.4m.
A source told at the time: ‘Wes and Leanne split before . There were no third parties involved; it is just a sad fact that their marriage has run its course.
‘Leanne has flourished in single life and has removed her wedding ring. She has told people she feels free and is working hard on her businesses and flourishing as an independent woman.
‘Wes meanwhile is carrying on as best he can. There have been rumours of trouble in their marriage for a while but they put a brave face on publicly.’
Brown is now registered to a much more modest address in Cheshire, where the houses on his road range between £800,000 and £1.2m.
Footballers falling on hard times is becoming more and more commonplace in current times. We’ve already seen another high-profile star in Craig Bellamy being declared bankrupt.
in an exclusive interview last month, comparing the situation to being ‘on death row’.
The former defender (centre) enjoyed huge success at Old Trafford – winning the Champions League twice and four Premier League titles
He has a new chapter ahead of him but is still working for Man United as an ambassador
Former Manchester United and England defender Brown (right) has been pictured with supporters in Chile – on the same day it was reported he had been declared bankrupt
‘I have been living the last five or six years on Death Row, just waiting for someone to put me out,’ he told Oliver Holt.
‘I have been waiting for the cell door to open and someone to say: “Today’s the day”. It’s like the feeling of not being able to look forward to anything. All the money I’ve earned, I can’t get a mortgage. Financially, I have no future. The hurt of that. I can’t own anything. Everything’s gone.
‘If you get the wrong people advising you, it all haemorrhages, themoneylife it all dwindles. It has got to the point where bankruptcy is a relief. It means I can just live again.’
Brown will likely have help around him from those he worked with in the game.
He is still an ambassador for Manchester United and was – just a day after he was declared bankrupt.
He was all smiles as he posed with local fans though it will understandably be a tough time for the 46-year-old. He lived a humble life before football and he’s now presented with a humble life after it as he navigates his way through a new chapter.