Mike Brown has revealed how he was told his time at Harlequins was coming to an end after 16 years with the club.
Former England international Brown was speaking to the Daily Mail about his exit from the club he first joined as a teenager, before he embarks on a new journey with Newcastle Falcons.
The 35-year-old explained how he never wanted to leave the south-west London club and admitted that he was “distraught” that the club no longer wanted his services.
— Newcastle Falcons (@FalconsRugby) April 3, 2021
“At this stage of my career and life, it makes no sense to move but I was left with no other option. I chased the club for weeks about a new contract and, when they finally brought me in for a meeting, it lasted four minutes,” Brown said.
“Paul Gustard (former Harlequins director of rugby) told me I had no future here and I was staring down the barrel of unemployment.
“I’m 35, with a family to support and I’ve been with Harlequins since I was 18. There was no, ‘Thanks for your efforts, we’ll help you with your future.’
“It was one of the worst feelings of my life. I couldn’t get my head around it. It wasn’t like my legs have gone and I can’t get in the team any more.”
‘You feel like you’re worthless’
While Brown was fully aware that professional sport can be a cut-throat business, having played at one club for his entire career up until this point he hadn’t ever experienced that side of the game.
The former England fullback has experienced the disappointment of being dropped by his country, but being cut by his club proved to be an extremely difficult experience for the Harlequins veteran.
“People think you just turn up, train, play a game and go home. That’s not how it is. You put so much emotional energy into rugby. It’s your life,” Brown explained.
“When you’re pushed to the side and dismissed, you feel like you’re worthless. I went straight to my car, past Scott Baldwin, who could tell I was distraught. I just sat in the car and cried.
“Professional sport is ruthless. I’ve said it before in my columns and now I’ve experienced it first hand.”