You Can't Take Carlisle From the Boy
By Neil Nixon
Updated Thursday, 26th March 2009
This month Neil takes us down to Derbyshire.........
If you ever find yourself with a spare four minutes and twelve seconds and You Tube available at the tap of a few keys you could amuse yourself by typing in 'Buxton vs Bradford PA.' On some search engines a simple searching of 'Andy Brownrigg + You Tube' will lead you to this same video. I first came across the legend that is Andy Brownrigg when someone fresh from laughing over the You Tube footage took the trouble to alert fellow message boarders at CUFC Online.
Amongst the things Buxton's fans 'love' about Andy Brownrigg are his: swinging tits, knobbly knees, beer belly, two left feet, rancid breath and squinty eye.
I've watched the video a few times and I'll confess, I've yet to spot any player obviously less talented and more-ugly than any other. The strange thing about the song and the moment it captures is that it represents something of a high point in the career of the wayward Andy Brownrigg. Brownrigg became a cult hero in football because of his habit of following hopeful transfers with spells in the reserves at his new club, and lengthy spells on loan to clubs way below the level of his official employers.
These supporters had 46 starts and 5 substitute appearances to embellish the vivid descriptions in the song but - once the club were promoted - their cult hero was - typically - on his way again. Career wise it has been a trawl of places on the very edges of football reality - Ossett Albion, Maltby Main, Hallam and - when last heard of - Staveley Miners Welfare.
Don't feel too sorry for Andy, he is apparently working towards a Sport and Exercise Psychology BA so he is clearly no slouch in terms of brain power, and he has kept that playing career alive in the face of a mind numbing succession of minnow clubs, so you have to credit his staying power and resilience. Andy will be 33 this year, looking forward, presumably, to a year or two more of pleasing the crowds and enjoying his underground notoriety.
Watching Workington or others at that level from time to time I've come to find a grudging admiration for those players whose love of the game drives them on in the face of poor crowds and poor wages. If you write off those clearly young enough and talented enough to hope they can climb the ladder, and those with a glittering past behind them, you find plenty for whom the chance to shine for a few hundred die-hards is the nearest to glory they will ever know.
Neil Nixon is editing a book of stories written by supporters of Carlisle United, all profits will go to the Football in the Community scheme at Carlisle United. Your contribution is welcome. For details of how to get involved go to www.neilnixon.com and click on the books page.