Wes Brown aims to KO Man Utd as he recalls treble memories
Brown was a serial winner throughout his long United career, lifting five Premier League titles, five domestic cups and two Champions Leagues under Sir Alex Ferguson’s tutelage.
He claimed a treble in 1999, his first full season in the squad, and was on the bench for the famous night in Barcelona when two injury-time goals against Bayern Munich made the Red Devils champions of Europe for the second time.
Much has changed since then. Brown, now 37, is the only member of that squad still playing full-time professional football but has to make do most weeks with bench duty in Rovers’ Championship survival battle.
“When I was younger it was normal to win,” he said ahead of Sunday’s fifth-round clash at Ewood Park.
“The treble was my first main season…that was a good starting point for my career! You know what the standards are and they’re set right there: winning is everything when you’re at a club like that.
“If you keep winning, everyone’s playing well and there’s a good team spirit it just carries on and carries on.
“Eventually you’ve won the league, then the next thing it’s a cup final, it just keeps ticking. You want to get better and become a better footballer but it’s about winning in the end and after that first season we went on to win more trophies and got into many more finals that we didn’t win as well.”
Despite being 12 points off the pace in the league United could conceivably pick up three cups this season, with the EFL Cup final against Southampton later this month and an ongoing Europa League campaign also on the agenda.
Brown doubts they can last the course in every competition with their current resources but the veteran defender thinks Jose Mourinho is on the right track after false starts under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.
“You’d probably say no at the moment but you never know,” Brown said of a possible cup treble.
“They’ve definitely got the quality…whether the squad is big enough I’m not sure. But the players will start to smell a few trophies now and if they can get in the Champions League too it’s been a good season.
“It’s taken a good few seasons now and they’re just starting to get fear back. They’re not an easy team to beat now whereas before they were getting pushed over a little bit.
“I always thought it would be difficult (after Ferguson) because he’d been there for so long and set the whole place up.
“But you’ve still got some of the players there, Wayne Rooney is still there, Michael Carrick, Chris Smalling, they still know what it’s about.
“I think the foundations are still there at the club, and you still have Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Alex about…the foundations are there and when you do see those sorts of people around, you remember what the club is about.”