Jimmy Brownlie

James Brownlie (15 May 1885 – 29 December 1973) was a Scottish footballer and manager, who played as a goalkeeper.

Jimmy Brownlie
Personal information
Full name James Brownlie
Date of birth (1885-05-15)15 May 1885
Place of birth Blantyre, Scotland
Date of death 29 December 1973(1973-12-29) (aged 88)
Place of death Dundee, Scotland
Height 5ft 10.75in (1.80m)
Position(s) Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1902–1906 Blantyre Victoria
1906–1923 Third Lanark 481 (2)
1918–1919Morton (loan) 22 (0)
1923–1926 Dundee United 30 (0)
Total 533 (2)
National team
1909–1919 Scottish League XI 14 (0)
1909–1914 Scotland 16 (0)
1917[1] Scottish League (wartime) 1 (0)
1919[2]Scotland (wartime) 4 (0)
Teams managed
1923–1931 Dundee United
1934–1936 Dundee United
1938–1939 Dundee United
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only


Brownlie was born in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, and was an outstanding personality in Scottish football over many years, as a goalkeeper and manager. Almost his entire professional playing career, lasting from 1906 to 1923, was spent with Third Lanark, having joined them from local Junior team Blantyre Victoria[3][4] to replace Jimmy Raeside who had moved to English football.

Brownlie continued to work in his chosen trade as a bricklayer while playing for Thirds[3][5] and maintained a humble outlook despite being an important member of what was one of Scotland's leading clubs of the time (although their best spell, in which they won the Scottish Football League in 1904 and the Scottish Cup in 1905, then reached its final again the following year, narrowly preceded his arrival – his sole honour was a Glasgow Cup in 1908).[6]

Brownlie scored a goal at least twice for Third Lanark, the first a rebound from a penalty kick he had taken against Motherwell in 1911[7][8] and the other during the 1914–15 season.[4][lower-alpha 1]

At international level, he played for Scotland in 16 of the last 17 internationals before the First World War, and was also selected in four unofficial Victory Internationals once the conflict was[2] and took part in a Scottish tour of North America in 1921 organised by Third Lanark.[5] He played for the Scottish League XI 14 times.[13]

In May 1923, Brownlie was appointed player-manager of Dundee Hibernian, who were renamed Dundee United later that year.[14] He continued to play for a further season, but later made one further appearance in an emergency, at the age of 40 in 1926.[5] His first managerial spell with the club found early success, with the Division Two title in 1925, and again in 1929, but he left the club in April 1931 on the brink of a third promotion.

He returned in 1934 with the club at a low ebb, one away from bottom of Division Two, and helped to effect a partial revival before he left again in October 1936. A third and final spell came in season 1938–39, in a dual role with Sam Irving; both men were also appointed as directors of the club at this time. In May 1939, Brownlie announced that he was giving up both roles due to the pressure of his other business interests.

After leaving his position at Dundee United, Brownlie continued to regularly attend the club's matches and saw the side finally return to Scotland's top division in 1960.[15] In January 2019 it was announced that Brownlie was to be inducted into the Dundee United Hall of Fame at a dinner the following month.[15]


As a manager

Dundee United

See also


  1. It is claimed in some publications that a rule change in 1912 regarding goalkeepers being restricted to their area (prior to which they could roam and handle the ball anywhere in their own half) was prompted by both Brownlie and opposite number Colin Hampton scoring with long clearances in a 1910 fixture, again against Motherwell;[8][9][10] however, newspaper reports from the relevant period[11] do not indicate such an event took place. Other publications state both goalkeepers scored penalties,[12] but although Motherwell did convert a penalty in the same match as Brownlie did, the report of the time indicated forward Thomas Gilchrist was their scorer.[7]


  1. Notes on Sport | Football's Exit, The Glasgow Herald, 28 May 1917
  2. "[Scotland player including unofficial matches] Jimmy Brownlie". London Hearts Supporters' Club. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  3. Jimmy Brownlie, Footballer 1885–1973, The Blantyre Project, 9 May 2016
  4. John Litster (October 2012). "A Record of pre-war Scottish League Players". Scottish Football Historian magazine. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. A Scottish Football Hall of Fame, John Cairney; Random House, 2011; ISBN 9781780570594
  6. Football. Glasgow Cup–Replayed Final Tie., The Glasgow Herald, 29 October 1908
  7. Association Football. | Motherwell Succeed, The Glasgow Herald, 11 September 1911
  8. Goalscoring Goalkeepers, Goalkeepers Are Different
  9. Why Is Soccer Played Eleven Against Eleven?: Everything You Need to Know About Soccer, Luciano Wernicke; Meyer & Meyer Sport, 2018; ISBN 9781782558095
  10. Colin Hampton, MotherWELLnet
  11. Third Lanark Result List (Filters applied: v Motherwell between 1908/09 and 1911/12), FitbaStats
  12. Football Oddities: Curious Facts, Coincidences and Stranger-than-Fiction Stories From the World of Football, Tony Matthews; The History Press, 2005; ISBN 9780752493763
  13. "[SFL player] James Brownlie". London Hearts Supporters' Club. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  14. Gracie, Steve (2008). A Passion For Survival. Arabest Publishing Dundee. ISBN 978-0-9558341-0-3.
  15. "HALL OF FAME 2019 - JIMMY BROWNLIE". Dundee United Football Club. Retrieved 14 February 2019.