Alexander "Alex" Brady was described as "in his day one of the best forwards in the country". And since the quote came from a Sheffield newspaper so the country was England and he had played over one hundred and fifty times for The Wednesday there was probably enough evidence to hand to back it up.
But Brady was not a Yorkshire boy but Scots-born in 1870, not as it happens in Renton, where in 1913 he would end his comparatively short life, but in the now Glasgow suburb of Cathcart. He was the son of an English-born father, a Block Printer to trade, and an Irish mother. And it was no doubt the father's line of work that at some point in the 1870s took the family not just to Renton but at some point in the following decade, with Alex a teenager, to Thimble St, No 11 to be precise.
It meant he would have his formative, footballing years cheek-by-jowl with three of the finest players of the era, - James Kelly, John Lindsay and Bob Kelso, plus Kelso's younger brother, James. However, unlike the four other Thimble Street-lads Brady would never play for the village club. He would start, a forward, with junior team, Renton Thistle, but seemingly at the tender age of sixteen be already on his way south, to Newcastle West End, one half of the future Newcastle United. There he stayed a season and then drifted for two, at Scots-founded Sunderland, Gainsborough, Burnley for the start of the Football League, then back to Sunderland and onto Sunderland Albion, when it broke away. And it was only in 1889 and still only nineteen that he settled again, for two seasons at Everton, alongside club captain and another Renton-boy, Andrew Hannah. The Merseyside club would in the second season take the League title.
Perhaps that had been enough for Celtic to come calling and he returned north of the border, for a season, in which the Hoops would take the Scottish Cup. But even that proved not enough. He was persuaded back South and finally find a footballing home, at The Wednesday, Sheffield Wednesday for a remarkable seven seasons, in 1896 leading the line in taking the FA Cup.
However, in 1899 he returned north to turn out for Clydebank for a season, probably there already working as a Sewing Machine Fitter at the Singer factory, before it was finally back to Renton for just one season more. In large part the Renton return was because he still had family there, not least a wife and children. Already in 1892 he had married Elizabeth Paul and they were to have three children, all born, like her, in Alexandria.
Alex Brady would continue to work as a Machinist for Singer right up until his death in 1913 of cancer and at the age of just forty-three. He would be buried in Milburn Cemetery in a grave that has now been restored for all to see by the Celtic Graves Society.
1881 - 23, Park Terrace, Renton, Dumbartonshire
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