Edwin "Eddy" Brown (born 28
February 1926) is a former English footballer who played as a centre forward.
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 Football League
appearances he scored at
a rate of very nearly one goal every two games. He was a pioneer of
the goal celebration
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.
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
(in English, French, Latin and History) and laying the
foundations for his lifelong love of Shakespeare
Preston North End
However, after the war he returned to Preston and in August 1948
was persuaded to defer his calling in order to make use of his gift
for football instead. He presented himself at Deepdale and said "I
am a centre forward." 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.
He joined Preston at a time when Bill
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:
In 1950 Preston paid Second Division Southampton
£10,000 plus the services of
Brown to bring goalscorer Charlie
, whose family had been unable to settle in the south,
back nearer home in the north of England.
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."
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
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, despite scoring 34 goals
in 59 starts while at the club, and in March 1952 he was granted a
transfer to Coventry City
, where he continued to score goals at an impressive rate.
In October 1954, following a run of five games without a win,
Coventry sold him to Birmingham
of the Second Division for £9,000, a decision which
provoked the resignation of Coventry's manager Jack Fairbrother
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
which remains their
record defeat. His goals helped Birmingham to the 1954–55
The following season, 1955–56
, they achieved
their highest ever finishing position, sixth in the First Division
playing alongside Peter "Spud" Murphy
and with Alex Govan
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
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.
scored 20 goals in all competitions and played in the semifinal of
the FA Cup, losing to Manchester
's Busby Babes
. He was also a
pioneer of European competition, as part of the Birmingham side
which reached the semifinal of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup
, where he scored two goals in the 4–3 home leg win over
before Birmingham eventually
lost out in a replay. His last full season at Birmingham, 1957–58
another 15 League goals.
He moved on to Second Division Leyton
in December 1958, where despite arriving half way
through the season he still finished joint leading scorer.
, Brown moved
, then in the
Northern Counties League, as player-manager
; aged 36, he again was his
club's top scorer. 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
The following season, still as
player-manager, he led them to runners-up spot in the Midland
Style and personality
The strengths of Brown's game were his pace and movement and a good
right-foot finish, in his own words:
He describes himself as "eccentric"
. He was noted for his
, many years
before they became commonplace; his trademark celebration was to
shake hands with the corner flag, though he was also known to
cuddle a policeman behind the goal or to remove a press
photographer's hat and throw it into the crowd. The Times'
report of a match in which he
scored a hat-trick described him thus:
He was fond of quoting Shakespeare, whether at press conferences or
in the dressing-room, and while at Birmingham wrote (without a
) a weekly column in the
local paper, the Birmingham
.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
After leaving professional football, Brown returned home to Preston
and worked in the family carpet firm as a sales representative.
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. He went on to teach games at Preston Catholic College
; one of
his pupils was Mark Lawrenson
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
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. His
humour, extrovert nature and managerial ability came out in his
pre-Cup Final team talk:
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, and, as of January 2009,
was still "helping out" on the committee.
Brown is married, with four children and several
- As player with Birmingham City
- As player-manager with Scarborough
- North Eastern League champions 1963.
- North Eastern League Cup winners 1963.
League runners-up 1964.
- As manager with Broughton Amateurs
- Lancashire Amateur
League Premier Division champions 1981, 1983.
- Lancashire Football Association Cup winners 1981.
- Lancashire Amateur League Cup winners 1985.
- Matthews, Complete Record, pp. 190–194.
- 50 years of Broughton Amateurs, pp. 27, 43–44.