Freddie Flintoff, Freddie Brown and “that riotous living”

I see Andrew Flintoff appears to be in the soup again after missing the team bus for a visit to the war graves in Flanders. 

(I have to say (parenthetically) that this strikes me as being a rather dubious enterprise (and possibly Buchanan-inspired?).  The Australians, I believe, set a precedent by visiting Gallipoli en route to the Ashes in 2001, but then I half-suspected the thinking behind that was the belief that the loss of Australian life there was due to British blundering.  I’ve never heard anyone suggest that the loss of life at Ypres was down to the Australians.  And – great game though it is – it is only a game).

Anyway, Hugh Morris has “refused to deny that the incident was alcohol-related”. 

This is not the first time, of course,  that English cricketers have been accused by the reptiles of the press of being alcohol-impaired.  Freddie Brown (one-time captain of Northants) – in his bracing work Cricket Musketeer (Nicholas Kaye, 1954) – defended the  team he was captaining during the 1950-51 tour of Australia in the following robust terms:

That “Riotous Living”

“Why had the MCC fared so poorly in the early part of the tour?  The main reason why we were not more successful up to the first Test was our absolutely pathetic fielding …

There were comments in the press that the reasons for our bad showing up to the first Test were due to riotous living.  Such poppycock I have never heard equalled …

One of the most fatuous accusations made against the behaviour of the team concerned the incident of the ‘horizontal cricketers’.  It was during the second Victoria match, when I was watching from the pavilion.  MCC had a long time in the field and, believe me, on a hot and sultry day in the Melbourne cricket ground there is hardly a breath of air.  Quite naturally, at the fall of a wicket our players took the opportunity to rest themselves by sitting or lying on the grass.  Back went this report to England that our players could not even stand up.”

And plenty more in this vein.  Freddie Brown is a subject I’d like to return to a later date, but – to be going on with – here’s a picture to give you the flavour of the man.

Cricket Musketeer

Cricket Musketeer

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6 thoughts on “Freddie Flintoff, Freddie Brown and “that riotous living”

  1. In the 1950s, when Northants visited Grace Road, we young Leicestershire supporters used to refer to FRB as ‘Fat, Round and Bulging’.

    • Thanks for the comment. Are you sure the B. referred to “Bulging”, though?

      Mind you, the introduction to the book I’m talking about (by R.W.V. Robins) says that “He did not return to regular first-class cricket until 1949. In the interim he had six years of war, three of them as a prisoner, and seemed more serious and thicker in girth than in 1939”. I’m sure this isn’t what RWVR meant, but the implication that seems to be that FB had somehow managed to gain weight in a POW camp.

      Do you still watch Leicestershire, by the way?

  2. The legend goes that…

    In 1953 Brown was a test selector. At one meetng the other selectors asked him to leave the room and when he was called back in he was informed that he had been picked to play.

    I believe this meeting took place at the Three Swans, Market Harborough.

  3. Thanks for the comment.

    I think this was pretty much the way they used to order things in those days – though I seem to remember some story about a later England captain – possibly Mike Atherton? -who was actually on the selection panel, being asked to leave the room while the other selectors decided whether he was going to be dropped or not.

    Freddie Brown’s always stuck in my mind because my father played a few matches for Northants seconds as a teenager in the fifties (when FB was around) and he had various (admiring) anecdotes about him. The book I picked up in the Friends of Grace Road shop.

    Thanks for the link, by the way. Yes, I do live in Little Bowden – Scotland Road?

  4. Backwatersman,

    To answer your questions:

    (a) yes, as far as I remember. What did you have in mind?

    (b) no – I live too far away (and they, unlike the Tigers, are hardly ever on the box.)

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