Eddy Brown

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Eddy Brown
Personal information
Full nameEdwin Brown
Date of birth(1926-02-28)28 February 1926
Place of birth Preston, England
Date of death 12 July 2012(2012-07-12) (aged 86)
Place of death Preston, England
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing position Centre forward
Senior career*
1948–1950 Preston North End 36 (6)
1950–1952 Southampton 57 (32)
1952–1954 Coventry City 85 (50)
1954–1959 Birmingham City 158 (74)
1959–1961 Leyton Orient 63 (28)
1961–1964 Scarborough 89 (47)
Teams managed
1961–1964 Scarborough
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Edwin Brown (28 February 1926 – 12 July 2012) was an English footballer who played as a centre forward. He played professionally for a number of clubs, but the peak of his career was spent with Birmingham City during their most successful period in the 1950s. Over a professional career of nearly 400 appearances in the Football League, he scored at a rate of very nearly one goal every two games. He was a pioneer of the goal celebration.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Birmingham City Football Club is a professional football club in Birmingham, England, which competes in the EFL Championship, the second tier of English football. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they became Small Heath in 1888, Birmingham in 1905, and Birmingham City in 1943.

Goal celebration practice of celebrating the scoring of a goal

In association football and ice hockey, a goal celebration is the practice of celebrating the scoring of a goal. The celebration is normally performed by the goalscorer, and may involve his or her teammates, the manager or coaching staff and/or the supporters of the team. Whilst referring to the celebration of a goal in general, the term can also be applied to specific actions, such as a player removing his shirt or performing a somersault.


Early life

Brown was born in Jutland Street, Preston, Lancashire and attended St Ignatius primary school in the town. He was a religious boy, and at the age of twelve began to attend the De La Salle Catholic college on Guernsey with a view to taking Holy Orders. He studied at the college for eight years, during which time the boys were evacuated to the mainland when the Germans invaded, a disruption which did not prevent Brown achieving four A levels (in English, French, Latin and History) and laying the foundations for his lifelong love of Shakespeare. [1]

Preston, Lancashire city and the administrative centre of Lancashire, England

Preston is a city and the administrative centre of Lancashire, England, on the north bank of the River Ribble.

Lasallian educational institutions

Lasallian educational institutions are educational institutions affiliated with the De La Salle Brothers, a Roman Catholic religious teaching order founded by French Priest Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, who was canonized in 1900 and proclaimed by the Vatican in 1950 as patron saint of all teachers. In regard to their educational activities the Brothers have since 1680 also called themselves "Brothers of the Christian Schools", associated with the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools; they are often referred to by themselves and others by the shorter term "Christian Brothers", a name also applied to the unrelated Congregation of Christian Brothers or Irish Christian Brothers, also providers of education, which commonly causes confusion.

Guernsey island in the bailiwick of Guernsey

Guernsey is an island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. It lies roughly north of Saint-Malo and to the west of Jersey and the Cotentin Peninsula. With several smaller nearby islands, it forms a jurisdiction within the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a British Crown dependency. The jurisdiction is made up of ten parishes on the island of Guernsey, three other inhabited islands, and many small islets and rocks.

Football career

Preston North End

However, after the war he returned to Preston and in August 1948 was persuaded to defer his calling to make use of his gift for football instead. [2] He presented himself at Deepdale and said "I am a centre forward." [3] Preston took him at his word and he scored a hat-trick on his debut for the "A" team which secured him a professional contract. [4]

Deepdale football stadium

Deepdale is a football stadium in the Deepdale area of Preston, England, the home of Preston North End F.C.

Preston North End F.C. Association football club

Preston North End Football Club is a professional football club in Preston, Lancashire, whose team currently plays in the EFL Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. Originally a cricket club, Preston have been based at Deepdale since 1875. The club first took up football in 1878 as a winter fitness activity and decided to focus on it in May 1880, when the football club was officially founded. Deepdale is now football's oldest ground in terms of continuous use by a major league club.

He joined Preston at a time when Bill Shankly was nearing the end of his Preston playing career; Brown believes his success in the game owed much to the lessons learned from Shankly in that first year:

Bill Shankly Scottish footballer and manager

William Shankly was a Scottish football player and manager, who is best known for his time as manager of Liverpool. Shankly brought success to Liverpool, gaining promotion to the First Division and winning three League Championships and the UEFA Cup. He laid foundations on which his successors Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan were able to build by winning seven league titles and four European Cups in the ten seasons after Shankly retired in 1974.

He said football was all about the soul, enjoying your life, but always keep striving for that bit extra. He could be crude, rude and outspoken, but it would be football for breakfast, dinner and tea. He was an astonishing and genuine man and football was his obsession. Bill was a preacher, but he always preached with a smile on his face. If I hadn't started at Preston and not met Bill Shankly, who was so kind to me, I don't think I'd have made a living out of football. [1]


In 1950 Preston paid Second Division Southampton £10,000 plus the services of Brown to bring goalscorer Charlie Wayman, whose family had been unable to settle in the south, back nearer home in the north of England. [5]

The Football League Second Division was the second level division in the English football league system between 1892 and 1992. Following the foundation of the FA Premier League, it became the third level division. Following the creation of the Football League Championship in 2004–05 it was re-branded as Football League One.

Southampton F.C. Association football club

Southampton Football Club is a professional association football club based in Southampton, Hampshire, England, which plays in the Premier League, the top tier of English football.

Charles Wayman was an English footballer.

When Brown joined Southampton, he found it difficult to replace Wayman who had become a cult-hero with The Dell crowds. After his retirement, Brown admitted that "strolling around (Southampton) soon after his transfer, he wondered what he had done as everywhere he turned there were reminders of just how popular Wayman had become." [3]

Nonetheless, Brown was able to overcome this difficult start and, helped by his pace and deadly right foot, he came close to emulating his predecessor's scoring achievements. In the 1950–51 season he scored 20 goals in 36 league games, but Southampton's defence leaked too many goals and they finished in mid-table. The following season started in similar vein, and Brown maintained his scoring ratio with 12 goals in 21 games, until injury meant his season – and his Saints career – came to an end in January 1952.

Brown had failed to settle at Southampton, [6] despite scoring 34 goals in 59 starts while at the club, and in March 1952, having lost his place to Walter Judd, [7] he was granted a transfer to Coventry City of the Third Division (South), where he continued to score goals at an impressive rate.

Birmingham City

In October 1954, following a run of five games without a win, Coventry sold him to Birmingham City of the Second Division for £9,000, a decision which provoked the resignation of Coventry's manager Jack Fairbrother. [8]

Brown's career at Birmingham coincided with probably the best period in the club's history. He arrived in mid-October 1954, and in that first part-season scored 14 goals in 28 League games, including a hat-trick in a 9–1 demolition of Liverpool which remains their record defeat. [9] His goals helped Birmingham to the 1954–55 Second Division championship.

The following season, 1955–56, they achieved their highest ever finishing position, sixth in the First Division; Brown, playing alongside Peter "Spud" Murphy and Welsh international Noel Kinsey and with Alex Govan and England international Gordon Astall on the wings, finished top scorer with 21 League goals. He scored another seven in the run which took the club to their second ever FA Cup Final, only to lose 3–1 to a Manchester City side inspired by Don Revie. This was the match best remembered for Manchester City's goalkeeper Bert Trautmann breaking a bone in his neck and still finishing the game. [10]

In 1956–57 Brown scored 20 goals in all competitions and played in the semi-final of the FA Cup, losing to Manchester United's Busby Babes. He was also a pioneer of European competition, as part of the Birmingham side which reached the semi-final of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 1955–58, where he scored two goals in the 4–3 home leg win over Barcelona before Birmingham eventually lost out in a replay. [11] His last full season at Birmingham, 1957–58, produced another 15 League goals. [12]

Later career

He moved on to Second Division Leyton Orient in December 1958, where despite arriving halfway through the season he still finished joint leading scorer. [13]

In 1961–62, Brown moved to Scarborough, then in the Northern Counties League, as player-manager; aged 36, he again was his club's top scorer. [14] The next season, he led the club to the championship of the re-formed North Eastern League, the North Eastern League Cup, and the first round proper of the FA Cup, where they only lost by the odd goal in a replay against Crewe Alexandra. [15] The following season, still as player-manager, he led them to runners-up spot in the Midland League.

Style and personality

The strengths of Brown's game were his pace and movement and a good right-foot finish, in his own words:

I knocked in 237 league and cup goals during 16 years in the game. I didn't pass the ball, I had no left foot at all, so out of those 237 about 234 went in with the right foot! I was no good in the air because at 5' 9" I wasn't big enough – centre-halves in those days were about 6' 9"! [16]

He describes himself as "eccentric". [1] He was noted for his goal celebrations, many years before they became commonplace; his trademark celebration was to shake hands with the corner flag, [2] though he was also known to cuddle a policeman behind the goal [1] or to remove a press photographer's hat and throw it into the crowd. [17] The Times' report of a match in which he scored a hat-trick described him thus:

But out of it all there stood one very real personality – Brown. He underlined Birmingham's authority. The world seems to be his friend. His enthusiasm is infectious and embraces all, from the policeman on the perimeter to the referee and enemy in the middle. He enjoyed himself as much as a shiny faced youth tobogganing down some slope on a tin tray. [18]

He was fond of quoting Shakespeare, whether at press conferences or in the dressing-room, and while at Birmingham wrote (without a ghostwriter) a weekly column in the local paper, the Birmingham Mail . [16] After a reunion of the 1956 Cup Final squad, Brown was described as "the star of the show ... who could surely have made it as a stand-up comedian as well as a superb footballer". [19]

Later life

After leaving professional football, Brown returned home to Preston and worked in the family carpet firm as a sales representative. [3] While a Birmingham player, he had worked as a part-time teacher of games and French at a private school in nearby Wolverhampton. His ambition was to become a teacher once his playing days were over. [20] He went on to teach games at Preston Catholic College; one of his pupils was Mark Lawrenson, future Irish international footballer and European Cup-winner with Liverpool. When it became obligatory for teachers to be qualified, Brown enrolled at Durham University at the age of 54 where he acquired his teaching certificate, armed with which he taught French until his retirement. [1]

In his spare time he became passionately involved with a local amateur football club, Broughton Amateurs, where he was appointed first team manager in the 1978–79 season. Two years later he managed the club to a "double" of the Lancashire Amateur League Premier Division, which they won for the first time, and the Lancashire FA Amateur Cup, the first time Broughton had even reached the final. [21] His humour, extrovert nature and managerial ability came out in his pre-Cup Final team talk:

Eddie Brown would address the squad and, as only he can, would relax, motivate and inspire us. This evening he surpassed even himself with his own performance. As in his own style he went through the team player-by-player in such an entertaining manner we forgot there was a match to play, but his brilliant style was such that, although, humorous, the point always hit home. [22]

His influence extended throughout the club, from acting as "front man" for club functions to looking after the pitches. At the age of 70 he was running the club's third team, [23] and, as of January 2009, was still "helping out" on the committee. [24]

Brown was married, with four children and several grandchildren. He spent the last months of his life in a Preston nursing home [10] and died, aged 86, on 12 July 2012. [25]


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