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Jimmy Brain
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Personal information
Full name James Brain
Date of birth 11 September 1900
Place of birth    Bristol, England
Date of death    1971
Place of death    Barnet, London, England
Playing position Centre forward
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
Ton Pentre
Tottenham Hotspur
Swansea Town
Bristol City

204 (125)
045 (10)
051 (25)
032 (9)   
Teams managed
King's Lynn
Cheltenham Town

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

James "Jimmy" Brain (11 September 1900 – 1971) was an English football player.

Born in Bristol, Brain started his career playing in Wales, having an unsuccessful trial at Cardiff City, before gaining a regular place at Ton Pentre. In 1923, he moved to Arsenal, and in his eight years with the Gunners became one of the club's most successful goalscorers. After a year in the reserve side, Brain started his Arsenal first-team career with a goal on his debut, a 1-0 win against local rivals Tottenham Hotspur on 25 October 1924.

Brain was a prolific striker throughout his career, and was the club's top scorer for four seasons in a row, from 1924-25 to 1928-29; this included 39 goals in the 1925-26 season (second only to Ted Drake's haul of 45 in 1934-35), which included four hat tricks. The next season, 1926-27, Brain scored 34 goals, this haul including two four-goal tallies against Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley. Brain's goalscoring feats helped Arsenal reach their first FA Cup final, in 1926-27, though a mistake by goalkeeper Dan Lewis meant Arsenal lost 1-0 to Cardiff City.

However Brain's form dropped and in 1929-30 he lost out in competing for the front spot with Jack Lambert, David Jack and Dave Halliday all getting the nod ahead of him, meaning Brain only played six league matches this season. Brain therefore missed the Gunners' 1930 Cup final win over Huddersfield Town; Jack and Lambert led the line that day. However, the following season, 1930-31, Brain finally won a medal after playing sixteen matches (scoring four goals) in Arsenal's very first First Division title-winning season. Brain's final appearance in an Arsenal shirt was a 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday on 21 March 1931.

By now, Brain's age was catching up with him, and he had been overtaken in the goalscoring stakes by both Lambert and Jack. He left Arsenal for Tottenham for £2,500 in September 1931, becoming one of the few players to have moved directly between the two rival clubs. In total, he scored 139 goals in 232 appearances for Arsenal, making him the Gunners' joint-fifth top scorer of all time, and he was the first player ever to score 100 goals for the club, a feat he achieved in a 6-3 win over Liverpool on 7 March 1928. However, he never played for England; he managed to secure a trial for the national team but was never actually selected.

By the time Brain had joined Spurs he was in his thirties, and only played 47 times for them, scoring 10 goals, before leaving in 1934. He played his final years out at Swansea Town and Bristol City. After retiring as a player, Brain managed first King's Lynn and then Cheltenham Town from 1939 until 1948, after which he retired completely from football. He died in 1971, at the age of 71.


As a player



  • Harris, Jeff & Hogg, Tony (ed.) (1995). Arsenal Who's Who. Independent UK Sports. ISBN 1-899429-03-4.  

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