Jack Brownsword joined the Tigers in September 1946 as manager Frank Buckley assembled a squad to compete in Division Three North following resumption of the Football League at the end of World War Two. Nathan John “Jack” Brownsword was born in Campsall, a mining village five miles north of Doncaster, and worked in local colleries as a young man while playing his football in the Midland League for Frickley Colliery. While the Frickley side was struggling, Brownsword was regarded as the Midland League’s oustanding full back who attracted the attention of First and Second Division clubs before Hull City claimed his signature. Brownsword continued to work at his local colliery during the week and was City’s first choice left back during October and the early part of November 1946, when he switched to outside left. Having lost his full back place, Brownsword dropped out of the first team at the end of November and was tried in a variety of positions for the Reserves. He was transfer listed at the end of the 1946/47 season.
After a brief return to Frickley Colliery during the pre-season build-up to the 1947/48 season, Jack signed for Midland League rivals Scunthorpe & Lindsey United in September 1947. He immediately made the left back shirt his own and was a first team regular at the Old Show Ground for three years while still working as a miner during the week.
In the 1950 close season the number of teams in the Football League wwas expanded from 88 to 92 teams and Scunthorpe United were one of the teams elected to join the Football League. At this time Brownsword relinquished his coal mining job and dedicated himself to full-time football at the age of 27. That dedication proved considerable as over the next 14 seasons Brwonsword missed only 26 Football League fixtures, ending the season ever-present in the league on five occasions. He also weighed in with goals scored almost exclusively from the penalty spot – his first goal for the Iron came in October 1952 against York City and his best seasons came nine years apart in 1953/54 and 1962/63 seasons when he netted nine times. It wasn’t until February 1964, the 52nd of Jack’s 53 senior goals, that he scored from anywhere other than the penalty spot.
Brownsword’s time at Scunthorpe coincided with one of the club’s most successful periods, nine years after being elected to the Football League the club was promoted to the Second Division after winning the 1957/58 Division Three North title. Scunthorpe stayed in the second tier until 1964, Jack’s last full season in the first team, when the club was relegated back to the Third Division. Brownsword started three matches at the start of the 1964/65 season before deciding to hang up his boots at the age of 41 – between 1950 and 1964 he made 655 senior appearances for the Iron and scored 53 goals. Adding in his three seasons of Midland League games between 1947 and 1950 he played 783 times for Scunthorpe United, a club record unlikely to ever be surpassed – and while he was a pacy and fierce competitor, Jack was never booked in any of those 783 matches.
fter ending his playing days Brownsword continued to serve Scunthorpe United as first team trainer, his experience was seen as important in nurturing the young talent of two future Engl;and footballers. Ray Clemence and Kevin Keegan. He left the club under a cloud when he was removed from his coaching post on the eve of the 1973/74 season and he took work as sales rep for a glass manufacturer. Despite his acrimonious departure Brownsword was later rehabilitated with Scunthorpe United, he was guest of honour at the club’s last game at the Old Show Ground in 1988 and in 2010 had a road named after him in the vicinity of the new stadium at Glanford Park. During the early years of the 21st century Brownsword began to suffer dementia and on his wedding anniversary in December 2009 he died at his home in Burton-upon-Stather, the house he had lived in since signing a professional contract for Scunthorpe in 1950.
Date/Place of Birth: 15 May 1923, Campsall
Hull City First Game: 21 September 1946, Chester A (Division Three North), 23 years, 129 days old
Hull City Final Game: 30 November 1946, New Brighton H (FA Cup First Round), 23 years, 199 days old
Frickley Colliery (1945-1946), Hull City (1946-1947), Frickley Colliery (1947), Scunthorpe United (1947-1964)
Hull City Record
Career: 11 apps, 0 goalsJack Brownsword