William Sinclair Manson

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Infamous Scots. / Writings · 16 August 2022

Infamous Scots. John Browning.

John Browning (29 November 1888 – 14 November 1964) was a Scottish footballer who played for Celtic, winning four league titles with the club. He is also remembered for his bribery charges in the early part of the 20th century.


Browning played for local clubs Glasgow PerthshireBonhill HibsVale of Leven, and Dumbarton Harp before arriving at Parkhead in 1911. He was loaned back to his two previous teams during his first year at the club.

He made his league debut for Celtic in a 1–0 victory over Third Lanark at Cathkin Park on 2 November 1912. He was a winger who played with a straightforward, forceful attacking flair which led to plenty of goals. In seven years with Celtic he managed to score a goal every three games, including 15 from 38 league matches during the 1914–15 season. He won four Scottish League titles in consecutive years, from 1914 to 1917 (the league continued during World War I).

He moved to Chelsea in June 1919 where he made just five league appearances, before signing for Vale of Leven in June 1920, and then Dumbarton in September 1920; in 1922 he went back to Vale of Leven again (the club now having re-joined the SFL) for two more years.


On 28 February 1914, Browning made his first and only appearance for Scotland, in a goalless draw against Wales at Celtic Park. He represented the Scottish League XI twice, again in 1914 and was also selected to play for the Glasgow FA against Sheffield in the same year.

Personal life.

In 1924, he and Archie Kyle, a former Rangers player, were found guilty of attempting to bribe Bo’ness player Peter Brown in a public house in Glasgow’s Dundas Street: both men were sentenced to 60 days’ hard labour.

Browning’s son of the same name was also a footballer; in addition to playing for Liverpool he also appeared for Dumbarton.

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