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
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.
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.