John "Johnny" Browning Snr, not to be confused with his son, also John, who too would also play professionally but mainly in England with Liverpool, was a Celtic star, who after leaving Paradise would tumble to earth. In 1924 in Glasgow he was, with a former Rangers player, sentenced to 60 days hard-labour for attempting to fix a match by player bribery.
Johnny Browning had been born in 1888 on the Bonhill Road in Dumbarton. His mother was Dumbarton-born too, his father a general labourer from Larkhall in Lanarkshire.
However, three years later the family had moved to Bonhill itself, his father inevitably to the print-fields. And it was in Bonhill that Johnny's footballing career as a quick left-winger or inside-forward began, first with the local Hibernian club before moving to Dumbarton Harp, probably its junior iteration just formed in 1906. Then for 1908-9 he joined Vale of Leven and until the beginning of the 1912-13 season went between the two, whilst also working as a baker. But in October 1912, aged twenty-four, he was signed full-time by Celtic and there spent the next seven seasons, including, of course, the War years, winning the Scottish Cup in 1914, the year he also won his only cap, and the Scottish League from 1914 to 1917and once more in 1919. In all he made two hundred and seventeen appearances for The Hoops before for the 1919-20 season taking himself South and spending a less than successful year at Chelsea.
By then he was into his thirties and after London returned North once more to Bonhill but he did so with family. In 1912 in Bonhill he had married local girl, Jessie Campbell. They were to have three children, a girl, who died young, and two boys, John, and the younger one, Thomas, born, it seems, in England. And once back he reverted as a decade before to moving between home turf and Dumbarton, this time between Dumbarton FC and Vale and Leven. In 1921 he is recorded as a professional footballer with the former.
But that was before the scandal, which brought an end to his participation in football and meant a change of path. Whilst he returned to live in the Vale of Leven until his death, he was on his passing in 1964 and just a fortnight before his seventy-sixth birthday recorded as a retired Newsagent and Tobacconist staying in Alexandria. The shop had been on Main St. He was survived by Jessie by just three years and is buried modestly in Vale of Leven Cemetery,
Back to to Alexandria and Bonhill,
or the SFHG Home page
© Copyright. All rights reserved.
We need your consent to load the translations
We use a third-party service to translate the website content that may collect data about your activity. Please review the details and accept the service to view the translations.