John Brown (footballer, born 1915)

John Bell Brown (21 February 1915 – 30 August 2005)[5] was a Scottish footballer, who played as a goalkeeper. At club level he played for Clyde, Hibernian, Dundee and Kilmarnock, helping Clyde win the Scottish Cup in 1939.[6] He also played once for the Scotland national football team, in a 1939 British Home Championship match against Wales.

John Brown
Personal information
Full name John Bell Brown
Date of birth (1915-02-21)21 February 1915
Place of birth Troon, Scotland
Date of death 30 August 2005(2005-08-30) (aged 90)[1]
Place of death Prestwick, Scotland[1]
Position(s) Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
–1934 Glenburn Rovers
1934–1935 Shawfield[2]
1935–1942 Clyde 129 (0)
1942–1948 Hibernian 12 (0)
1948–1949 Dundee 14 (0)
1949–1950 Kilmarnock 1 (0)
National team
1938[3] Scottish League XI 1 (0)
1938 Scotland 1 (0)
1940[4] Scotland (wartime) 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Brown's football career was clearly interrupted by the Second World War, as his two greatest achievements, winning a Scotland cap and the Scottish Cup, came during the last season completed before the war. Brown only conceded one goal in the whole competition en route to winning the Scottish Cup, a penalty kick in a 4–1 win against Rangers.[1] He later complained that he would not have conceded even that solitary goal if Rangers had used their regular penalty taker, Bob McPhail, because Brown knew where McPhail normally placed his penalties.[1] A transfer to Arsenal was proposed, but did not materialise due to the outbreak of war in September 1939.[7]

During the war he entered the service of the Royal Navy, while making guest appearances for Hamilton Academical. He transferred to Hibernian in 1942, but played for teams including St Mirren, Airdrieonians[8] and Gillingham of England's Kent League between 1944 and 1946.[9][10] Upon returning to Hibernian, he helped them win the Scottish league championship in 1947–48.[1]

Brown then had spells with Dundee and Kilmarnock before retiring as a player in 1950. He then became a physiotherapist, working for Kilmarnock, the All Blacks[1] and the Scotland national rugby union team. Brown was the first person to serve in that function for the Scotland rugby side.[1]

Brown was part of a sizeable sporting family. His sons Peter and Gordon (Broon frae Troon) both played for Scotland at rugby union,[1] while two of his brothers, Tom and Jim, also played professional football, as did an uncle by marriage, Alex Lambie. Jim was selected by the United States for the 1930 FIFA World Cup, and in turn his son George later also played for the USA (although born in England and raised in Scotland).[11] Brown himself was also a talented player of both badminton and golf, playing off a scratch handicap.[1]


  1. "The original 'Broon from Troon'". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. 1 September 2005.
  2. The Hawthorns Series, Scottish Sport History, October 2014
  3. "John 2 Brown". London Hearts Supporters' Club. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
  4. Irish XI v Scottish XI, 28 April 1940,
  5. John Brown at Post War English & Scottish Football League A–Z Player's Database
  6. "Broon frae Troon". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. 29 January 2003.
  7. Lindsay, Clive (23 May 2019). "Scottish Cup final: 80th anniversary for Clyde side that held the trophy longest". BBC Sport. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  8. John Litster (October 2012). "A Record of pre-war Scottish League Players". Scottish Football Historian magazine. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. Brown, Tony (2003). The Definitive Gillingham F.C.: A Complete Record. Soccerdata. p. 55. ISBN 1-899468-20-X.
  10. Brown made eight Kent League appearances for Gillingham in the 1945–46 season but also played in unofficial wartime matches in the previous season.
  11. Soccer Player Profile: Jim Brown, NJ