In2views: Royston Vasey

The latest in a series of profiles and interviews, Orginal Fat Bob gives his personal view on the life and career of a footballing guest before sitting down for a chat and asking a few questions. Our Diasboro special guest this week is Royston Vasey – aka Roy (chubby) Brown…

1. The Overview – the man and his career

It’s quite often a small world that a lot of Boro fans actually know each other in our indigenous community that fights above its weight. It’s part of that small town in Europe mentality, that when we meet up or work with people overseas, we find out that we have similar friends or acquaintances. Or, perhaps we know someone, who knows someone, who knows the personality that we talk to and features within our In2Views at Diasboro. For example, I know two people that Roy (Chubby Brown) has been associated with during his career. Firstly, I used to play keyboards in a band in the sixties and after we broke up, our lead guitarist and singer used to go on tour with Chubbs, acting as his Musical Director, playing and singing along with him on stage. My second contact is my own daughter in law, as her Uncle plays drums for the famous band Smokie. What has that got to do with Chubbs you may ask? Well, one of his best known songs is “Living Next Door to Alice (Who the F*** is Alice?)”, a cover version of “Living Next Door to Alice”, recorded with Smokie. The record spent 19 weeks in the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number 3 in August 1995?

Roy of course is well known at Boro matches and can often be seen in the East Stand, although beware, as there is one fan who looks like him and wears his duplicate stage costume. This consists of a flying helmet and goggles, a multi-coloured patchwork jacket and trousers, a white shirt, a red bow tie and brown moccasin slippers

Chubby Brown CropRoy can often be seen watching the Boro at the Riverside, although not
to be confused with another fan who attends in his trademark gear

Our hero was born in Grangetown and he left home at the age of 14, and moved from job to job, at one point joining the Merchant Navy. He later found work as an entertainer in working men’s clubs during the 1960s. I remember him playing as a drummer in the local group Pipeline, along with his two cousins and a friend. He developed his comedy routine from behind the drums and stepped to the front like Phil Collins of Genesis fame did. He then formed a comedy act under the name “Alcock & Brown” and he also appeared on the UK television talent show New Faces in the 1970s, coming second to a Country & Western band.

When he started out professionally he became known as a “blue” comic and others have tried and failed to emulate him.

league-of-gentlemen-mainRoy had the accolade of having a town named after him when The League
of Gentlemen created Royston Vasey with its famous local people

Today he is acknowledged as one of Britain’s finest comedians and this is recognised by his fellow comedians who created the TV series League of Gentlemen. The fictional town in the series is called “Royston Vasey” which is Roy’s real name. He actually appeared in the second series as the town’s mayor.

He has had a brush with serious illness and loves horses and was a co-owner of the racehorse Rasaman. In 2006, he released an autobiography entitled Common as Muck: (The Autobiography of Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown). In December 2011, he self-published a collection of memoirs from his life and career with Fast-Print Publishing called It’s Funny Being Me. Try and get yourself a copy and you are in for a treat. Here is Roy’s question and Answer session now.

2. The Interview – a quick chat

OFB: What was the first Boro match you remember going to see?

RV: It was Boro v Birmingham in the early 1960’s and I climbed the gate to get in!

OFB: Who was your favourite Boro player then and others that you watched at that time?

RV: I had a lot of favourite players, Haliday, Windass, Yeoman, Thompson, Peacock and of course Clough.

OFB: What has been your most memorable game, and best experience with the Boro fans?

RV: It has to be beating Oxford and going up to the 2nd division.

OFB: What was your worst game or experience and why?

RV: It was the Cup final against Chelsea, a lucky 35 yarder and we lost!!

OFB: Who was in your opinion the best manager that Boro have ever had and why?

RV: It’s the one and only Jack Charlton, what a character he was.

OFB: Which opposing team and which player did you fear Boro playing against?

RV: Newcastle and Supermac, Malcolm Macdonald.

OFB: Who is your current favourite Boro player and why?

RV: Its Ben Gibson, a great defender.

OFB: How do you think the match day has changed from the time that you started watching professional football to what t is like in the present day

RV: Players seen to have more time on the ball now, the quality of the pitches are so much better than what they used to be like and games are much faster.

OFB: If you could be a fly on the wall, is there any dressing room you would wish to eavesdrop on?

RV: It would be pointless to listen to them as they are all foreigners these days and I wouldn’t understand them! I would have loved to have listened to what Juninho said at half time though.

OFB: Who was the nicest person that you have met in football and why?

RV: It has to be Alan Peacock, a true gent and he loves the Boro.

OFB: Whereabouts do you live these days and are you really planning to retire??

RV: I live in East Harlsey, I’m 73 but I can’t afford to retire, have you seen the price of our season tickets? !!!

OFB: Whom have you made a lifelong friend through football?

RV: It’s a hard question to answer as I’m always away, but my friends include Graeme Souness, Craig Johnson and of course I was good friends with the late great Wilf Mannion.

OFB: Is it nice for you to think that you can act as an ambassador for Middlesbrough’s town, the Teesside area and its people?

RV: I tell everyone, and I mean everyone on the planet about the Boro. From Australia to New Zealand, China, South Africa in fact everywhere!!!!

OFB: Do you think that Tony Pulis is the manager that we have been waiting for and needed, to get us into the Premiership and stay there?

RV: He doesn’t like full backs who go forward. I’ve also noticed that he believes you should only mark your own territory, that’s why he’s bald!

OFB: Do you think we can still achieve promotion this year?

RV: No! we’ll be 9th according to the Chubby Bible (which was a prediction made in February when Boro were actually in 9th – OFB).

OFB: Finally, if you hadn’t had the career that you have had, what do you think you would have done as a profession?

RV: Gynaecologist ha ha !!!

OFB: A huge thank you Roy for taking the time to talk to Diasboro and all our readers, posters and bloggers.

RV: Cheers Chubbs.

228 thoughts on “In2views: Royston Vasey

  1. Apparently the Yorkshire Post is reporting that Adama Traore is on his way to Newcastle in a £15m deal.

    Come on BORO.


    1. That’s a lot less than many on here were saying we would get if we do indeed sell him.


      1. The Hartlepool Mail carries the same story probably from the same source, but like you I don’t take any notice of transfers speculation until such time as contracts are signed. Some fans are impatient for news when there isn’t really any to report on.


  2. Ken, it’s not being impatient for news, it’s informing people what they may not be able to see, such as our overseas posters and it is also reported on SSN transfer section. I know that does not mean it is true but they all agree that is MFC valuation of Traore.

    Come on BORO.


    1. What I do know is that Traore has an escape clause in his contract which is a lot lower than the £30m fees that were being bandied around a few weeks ago.

      Looks like his agent has being going around the Premiership clubs and telling them about the release clause

      I must admit that I was shocked when I found this out and hoped that he would stay for at least another season

      You can’t really blame the club as when he first arrived he didn’t look like a world beater of any description

      What you can say is that Tony Pulis has made him into a saleable asset.

      My view has always been of a player wants to move let him go. I only want players pulling on a shirt who want to play for the Boro


      Liked by 4 people

      1. Easy to say (and I am possibly just dreaming here) but I think he should stay and play one more season under Tony Pulis. He should remember what happened to Bamford after one good whole season in the Championship.And BamBam was voted as the player of the season back then. Traore has had just about four good months.

        He is still young and should at least see until Christmas with Boro. I cannot see him getting any game time at Chelsea or the rest of top six. And why to join a team in the lower end of the PL? He is not a defender and I cannot see him shining n a team fighting against the drop.

        Well, the fee will be low and there will be a lot of potential takers. But is it the correct time to go now if he can play in every match at Boro now? He is not not yet ready as we saw against Villa in the play-offs. As OFB informed earlier, he likes the area and is a fans’ favourite as well as popular in the changing room.

        But I might be dreaming. The same applies to Ben I am afraid. Up the Boro!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. OFB, back to Chubbs for a minute, when we finished our league games on a Sunday morning, the first thing going around the changies was which workies club was he on at, we then made a dash for it. Sometimes showers were missed if we were running late and there was flakes of dried mud around whichever table we were sat at. After he’d cracked yet another beauty, I would always say to myself that I’d keep that one and tell the lads at work the following morning. The problem was, that the gags came that thick and fast that I could never remember a single one of them when he’s finished, I do remember my neck aching through laughter, though.

    Yes, his language was that of the work place and yes, that was used on a daily basis amongst the lads at work, same could be said when we were playing football but, that’s were it stayed. I never remember me dad or any of me uncles swearing in family gatherings, that was totally taboo, in fact I never heard them swear directly at all. Same applied to us, the next generation, swearing in front of women was forbidden and just didn’t, and still doesn’t feel right. My wife of 45 years has never heard me swear and neither have me three lads, the next generation, our three lads, have had the same principle hammered home. So as far as I’m concerned, if it’s used in the right place in front of the right people and it gets a laugh, then why not. Any way, Chubbies posters warn you before you buy a ticket, if you’re easily offended, then don’t come in (I was being polite there).

    Read the same thing on Traore on SSN, now I know that I’ve been away some twenty odd years, but I always thought that the M1 finished at Leeds. Has it moved further north to enable Traore to get up to Skunkland, or do the brains trust “darn sarf” not understand road layouts north of the Watford Gap?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. PPIP

      I agree the frequent use of industrial language seems more prevalent these days and women don’t seem to flinch when they hear someone swear in front of them

      On Chubb’s, Mrs OFB &I went to my eldest sons & his wife for a BBQ over the weekend. They had read the In2View (lurkers) and we had a chat about Chubb’s

      As I mentioned in the article my daughter in lave is the niece of Steve the Drummer in Smokie who made the record with Chubb’s (WTF Is Alice?)

      What I didn’t know is that her uncle Steve was the one who organised the record as he and Chubb’s go way back and ate the greatest of friends. She said that when the record was released, together with some of her friends they were armed with wads of money and instructed to go and buy every copy of the Chubb’s record they could find in the shops.

      Now if this was a ruse to stop it getting in the charts then it failed as it got to number 3 I think.

      She also said that my son was more keen to meet Chubb’s socially than her Uncle Steve so you can see what party skills and likes I have passed on to my family!

      It was a different In2View as let’s face it we don’t want the same footballers all the time (or do we?)


      Liked by 2 people

  4. If Traore is to leave we need a bidding war with one of the big boys involved.

    Whatever we think we cant influence the outcome.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just been preparing OFB’s latest offering for publication after another week of toil in yet more gardening leave – probably nothing like what our former managers and coaches have to endure as with record temperatures over here in Germany for the last six weeks or so, I’ve felt more like a Mexican farmer who’s lost his sombrero working the land – hopefully we’ll get a good crop of articles to harvest later in the year.

    I haven’t commented on the Chubby Brown in2view and he definitely sounds like a character – of course I know of him but must confess to have never seen his act – I think he was once described as Teesside’s answer to Bernard Manning, which may have stopped me actively seeking out his act. Though, I hadn’t realised it was him who did the cover of ‘Living next door to Alice’ as for some reason his version was very popular in Germany few years back and used to hear it a lot being played – who said Germans didn’t have a sense of humour?

    So many thanks to OFB for keeping Diasboro ticking over nicely during the summer – I’m enjoying my break from football to recharge the batteries with more physical work. Incidentally, caught by chance Nigel Kennedy playing Jimi Hendrix on TV the other night – amazing stuff even if he is a Villa fan. I’m hoping I’ll get a bit more time to perfect my version of Little Wing on the electric guitar at some point in the next few weeks for Werderstock…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was corporately entertained to a trip to the Munich Oktoberfest a few years ago and was struck by how many times the band in our vast tent played Living Next Door to Alice. They seemed to have a repertoire of lots of songs but there were about 5 or 6 which everyone joined in with – LNDTA was deffo one of them.

      It was a great trip although I may have one stein too many…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know I’m an old fogey but I’m not au fait with ‘contemporary’ music and had never heard of ‘Living next door to Alice’ so I’ve just googled on to YouTube and listened to a video recording of someone called Smokie (who I had never heard of either) giving a rendition of the song and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. It had a nice foot tapping tune and words in the refrain that I imagine an audience could sing along to.
        I’ve used the word ‘contemporary’ which on reflection might raise a chuckle because ‘contemporary’ to me covers anything recorded in the last 20 to 30 years, so out of touch am I with not only music, but comedians, films, and some might say football as well. So be it.

        Apart from classical music and brass bands my taste in what used to be called ‘pop music’ in my day only stretches back to Neil Diamond and ABBA , and way before that to singers nobody on this forum will have heard of such as Ronnie Hilton, David Whitfield, Matt Munro and Ruby Murray, although coming to think of it, you might have heard of her if only for the fact that her name is still used as cockney slang for a curry.

        Now I doubt that any of you will believe this, but in the early 1950’s there used to be a league chart called the ‘Hit Parade’ where the popularity of new songs wasn’t decided by the sales of records, but by the sales of sheet music, and I used to buy musical scores of sheet music to play one-fingered on an old piano my parents owned. Eventually the British pop scene became Americanised especially on Radio Luxembourg (I trust you’ve heard of that) whereby artists renditions of songs then formed the top twenty hits (such as happens today I imagine) and recordings of songs such as ‘Memories are made of this’ appeared twice in the top ten at the same time. In fact Dean Martin’s recording headed the charts for a few weeks but was then superseded by Dave King’s recording.

        So there you have it. I’ve heard of singers such as Rihanna and Beyoncé, haven’t a clue what they sing, and wouldn’t recognise them if I saw a photograph of them. I love watching ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ but when I see the lineup I probably don’t recognise more than a couple of them. But if I hear an old Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra number I remember the words and as I’ve always had a good singing voice, I sing along with them.

        However it has to be said that I seem to live in a time warp, so as they say, maybe I should get out more.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Well I waited for it, then looked for it and then directly searched for it but still couldn’t find it anywhere? Over 24 hours later and still nothing, not a jot or even a passing mention!

    What is it I sense you are all thinking? Well after the Yorkshire Post expose yesterday unsettling two of our most valuable assets and putting a price tag on them and in doing so insinuating that MFC will be receiving £40m on top of any parachute payments I felt sure that the scribe at MFC would have sharpened his assault Pencil. Null, nada, nil, niet, absolutely nothing in fact but they do a great treat in Father’s Day dinners at the Riverside apparently.

    Could someone perhaps explain to me why the Gazette get named and shamed for every disconnect, incorrect or even call it fake news article why other media outlets are ignored when equally incorrect, damning and commercially sensitive material gets printed and indeed broadcast nationally as a direct consequence the MFC scribe can’t find his pencil sharpener? Surely a “clarification” statement about the nonsense spouted from those a few miles away down the M1 🙂 is just as damaging as a Gazette article especially as it has now gone viral? Are SSN next to feel the wrath of the Riverside Press Mogul or do they only pick on someone they can effectively bully and ridicule? Maybe the money that SSN owners pump into those Parachute Payments gives them some sort of free pass or pardon?

    Assuming that for whatever reason £15m will be enough to catch Adama due to a Ziege type contract, broadcasting it as fact does smack as something far worse to me than an alleged error in calculating Premiership Parachute Payments. Especially when you consider those exact same figures were reported for other clubs in the same circumstances in unaffiliated media sources. Thats the problem with pettiness (sorry I meant accuracy), for it to be credible it has to be consistent and has to be seen to be even handed and professional. Still at least the £34.9m parachute payment and the £40m for the sale of those two players should build us an even better Championship smashing team again this season regardless if they are undervalued or indeed overvalued. Who knows, well apart from the Yorkshire Post who judging from the lack of a rebuttal clearly must do!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. RR

      I actually refrained from posting about the buyout clause some months ago as obviously it wasn’t in the best interests of the club or us as supporters

      Obviously Traore’s agent has been circulating details of his contract to all and sundry and the secret is out!



      1. Imagine being the guy who did let the secret out I would have had to watch the game through the front door letter box !



  7. GHW

    A release clause is a problem if only one team comes looking for a player. If a few start fighting for him then there may be a bidding war.

    There may be just one bid.


    1. On another site its rumoured that Villa have a sell on clause which may help them with their parachute payment downsizing dilemma.


    2. The player will choose the club based on money and personal preference. The fee will remain fixed.


  8. I suspect the release clause was based on him being sidelined at Villa and may have been a concern that under Karanka he could have disappeared too. Also given that we only signed him for £6m it would be likely that having a substantial release clause would have made it a pointless one – though the club look like they didn’t think through the ramifications of having to sell below market value if he was a success and sounds like they didn’t expect him to hit the heights he did.

    Hindsight is of course a wonderful thing but it wasn’t that long ago many would have been happy to just get their money back or bitten your hand off for £10m. Not sure if selling him cheap to Newcastle would exactly go down well and I’m sure many fans would rather give him away than see him in a black and white striped shirt.

    Incidentally, I suspect there will be no Gazette-style ‘correction’ on the MFC website if the release clause is true as it appears to be not ‘wildly’ exaggerated.


    1. Maybe not “wildly exaggerated” but it doesn’t help MFC’s negotiations with other clubs if they know we have £15m from Adama potentially blowing a hole in our pockets plus £25m supposedly if Ben goes when we are negotiating their replacements.

      No doubt another “Clarification” will be due as soon as the Gazette even mentions Transfers or wages.


    2. No doubt Newcastle want to sing him and paly him six or 12 months and sell again for profit. Is it that all they are interested as a club? Trophy virgins the lot. UTB!


  9. No doubt Newcastle want to sing him and paly him six or 12 months and sell again for profit. Is it that all they are interested as a club? Trophy virgins the lot. UTB!


  10. OK, as you may know OFB met up again with veteran north-east sports journalist Doug Weatherall and delved into his diaries to discuss his time spent following the career of the great Brian Clough. I’ve just posted up their first article together in what is planned to be a short series under the name Doug’s Diaries or in the words of OFB…

    Like the main character in Charles Dickens Oliver Twist, you’ve asked for more! So, acting as Mr. Bumble (OFB) you can have some more of this sumptuous fayre and we hope that you enjoy it.


  11. Well AV has run another “up-dated” story in today’s Gazette. A long article and he does not mention a figure, he leaves that to the readers to evaluate his worth.

    Given the current relationship between paper and MFC, AV is being careful and talks of a bidding war at best.

    Who knows, well apart from OFB.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think the £15M offered by Newcastle is obviously the ‘release clause’ minimum agreed between Traore’s agent and the MFC. At the time that sounded like a good figure and no blame should be attached to MFC for agreeing that amount. Many fans now think that double that amount would be his value today, but I think that is very much over inflated. For a player who has very limited positional sense I think £15M is a fair assessment of his current worth. I would be very surprised, but obviously delighted, if one of the top six clubs make an offer for him, but possibly a team such as Everton or Leicester might offer more than Newcastle. Obviously the final decision will be made by the player but if he has ambitions to have a regular place in a Premier League side, then Leicester or Everton would be a safer bet for the player – a reasonable chance of regular football with a club unlikely to be in a relegation scrap. However I think it would be unlikely that Boro could expect anything near £20M, but say the price rises to £17M, l reckon that’s not a bad profit for a player they cost about £6M.

    Ben Gibson is a different kettle of fish though, but I would nevertheless be surprised if a top six club would be interested in him either. The £18M supposedly offered by West Bromwich in the last close season might have been derisory at the time, but his form has certainly dipped since then, so perhaps somewhere around the £25M might be offered. Of course both players may wish to stay at the Boro, but I doubt it.


    1. I think GHW got it spot on when he said the the fee for the player will not exceed £15m if that is what the release clause is – the player (or more exact his agent) will choose the best deal being offered for his services and the buying club doesn’t need to outbid another club or persuade Boro to sell if the player can talk to them if they match that release figure. Though if the player or agent gets a cut of the transfer fee then it may possibly push the price up but it’s more likely that the money will go into wages and sign-on fees.

      So he will go for the release clause – Boro may have grounds to sue if the clause was confidential and his agent has publicised the figure – though in theory any club could just keep upping their offer until Boro have no choice but to allow talks. If Villa also have a cut built in then we may only make a few million profit in the end – which doesn’t sound like the best deal in the world but given we normally make a loss it would make a change…

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Sell
    Traore ,Ben, Braithwaite, Johnson, Fletcher ( if you can ), Gestede, Fabio, Friend, Howson,
    There’s about £60m ,right there, surely you can build a decent team with that?


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