Every fortnight we cover the best and worst football songs from every club in the UK from our book ‘The Sound Of Football: Every Club, Every Song’. You can buy it here
Nickname: The City
Ground: Glebe Park
Stadium Capacity: 3,960 (Seated 1,519)
Song: Two Can Play That Game
Brechin’s unofficial song is the Tractor Song:
“I can’t read,
And I can’t write,
But that doesn’t really matter…
Cause I’m a Brechin City fan,
And I can drive a tractor!“
(Source: terrace chant)
This celebration of a singular talent is appropriate for Brechin and one player, in particular, Bobby Brown (not the R & B singer).
Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs was a spring chicken fresh from the youth team compared to Brechin’s Brown. While Giggs rewrote record books at Manchester United by playing for over 20 years, there are unsung heroes at other clubs who play on year after year to show that footballing life doesn’t stop at 35, 40 or even… 50 years old.
Between 1983 and 1998, Brown played 444 games for Brechin. What’s remarkable is that he should have played many more. He made his debut for Brechin’s first team three years after joining the club. Even then, he only played one game before he was sent back to the reserves. However, he became an almost permanent fixture on the team sheet once he forced his way back into the first team. We say ‘almost’ because, for a brief time, he was involved in a very peculiar ban when the Scottish Football League wouldn’t let him play. After all, Brechin already had a Bobby Brown playing for them.
In the early 90s, Brechin signed a second Bobby Brown (still not the R&B singer), and the Scottish Football League wouldn’t let both Browns play at the same time because they shared the same name. Brechin had to appeal to FIFA, who ruled there was nothing to stop two players with the same name playing. Or as Bobby Brown (the R&B singer) so famously sang ‘Two Can Play That Game’*
In 1994, Brechin held a testimonial for Bobby and the matchday program revealed the secret of his success: “Bobby has been, is, and always will be, a good professional“. It then added that Bobby was “not blessed with a lot of natural ability, but has produced a level of consistency more talented players will never achieve“.
It’s this consistency that meant Brown was still playing football for Broughty Ferry FC, a non-league side, on his 50th birthday. While standards may have slipped in recent times, it was not by much. In 2008-09 he was Broughty Ferry’s Players’ Player of the Year – at forty-nine. In comparison, his fiftieth year saw him make thirty-seven starting appearances for the club.
It’s legends like Bobby that teams should celebrate. Although Brechin has won leagues titles in the lower reaches of Scottish football and bounced back and forth between the third division and the first, players like Bobby provide the club with the heart and soul and bedrock of consistency that fans crave.
*We suspect this story may be a wind-up from a Brechin fan.
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