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Gorleston football legend remembered

PUBLISHED: 12:22 31 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:39 03 July 2010

LOCAL HERO: Sailor in his playing days. He later returned to manage Gorleston Football Club

LOCAL HERO: Sailor in his playing days. He later returned to manage Gorleston Football Club

A GORLESTON man who was one of the greatest footballers of his generation has died aged 93.

Former Charlton, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa player Bert "Sailor" Brown, passed away on Saturday.

A FULL LIFE: Bert 'Sailor' Brown who has died at the age of 93.

A GORLESTON man who was one of the greatest footballers of his generation has died aged 93.

Former Charlton, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa player Bert “Sailor” Brown, passed away on Saturday.

Bert was among the oldest surviving England internationals from the wartime era and played in four successive Wembley Cup Finals.

After his full-time playing career ended he returned to his home town and enjoyed a successful spell managing Gorleston Football Club.

Signed by Charlton Athletic in 1934, Bert had a legendary reputation as a cunning inside forward and shrewd ball player.

Team mates at Charlton nicknamed Bert “Popeye the Sailor” because of his short, muscular build and rolling gait. The name stuck but was shortened over the years to Sailor.

He made 60 appearances for Charlton, scoring 24 goals, before leaving the club in January 1940 following the outbreak of the second world war.

Returning to the club after the war he played in the 1946 FA Cup Final before moving firstly to Nottingham Forest and then Aston Villa for a club record fee of £10,000.

Winning his first international cap in 1939 in South Africa, Bert played twice against Scotland, alongside the legendary Stanley Matthews.

He went on to play for England against Wales, France and Switzerland in 1945 and represented his country in two Victory International Matches against Belgium and Switzerland the following year.

During the war Bert served as a sergeant in the RAF and was a member of the Greenwich auxiliary police.

He played for Newcastle United, West Ham United, Millwall, York City, Leicester City, Manchester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and East Fife as a wartime player.

A broken jaw while playing for Villa against Portsmouth in 1949 effectively ended his first division career and Bert returned to his home town of Gorleston as a player/manager.

During his second season in charge he led the Greens to the first round of the FA Cup, losing 5-4 in a second replay against third division Leyton Orient at Highbury.

During his spell as manager Bert transformed the team's fortunes, lifting the Senior Cup twice and becoming the first Norfolk side to win the Eastern Counties league in 1953.

He left the club in May 1956 to retire from football, working as a bookmaker and a timber merchant, whilst also scouting for Arsenal.

Bert's final years were spent in Forres, Scotland, but he lived the majority of his life in his home town.

Bert Brown was predeceased by wife Daisy and leaves behind two daughters, Ann and Julie, a son, Robert, four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

The funeral is taking place at 1pm on Monday at Saint John's Church in Forres, Scotland.

Donations to the Alzheimer's Society in memory of Bert's fight with the condition would be gratefully received. Visit http://www.justgiving.com/alzheimerssoc/donate/

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