"Sparrow" Brown was so called because at much the same time, they overlapped by three years, there were two Robert Browns in the Dumbarton team. Robert "Plumber" Brown was so-called because that is what he was to trade. "Sparrow", an engineer, was named for his flying down the wing on the football field. In fact his middle initial was L.
"Sparrow" Brown was born in the tenements at the bottom of Dumbarton High St. in 1856, the youngest of seven children of parents from Haddingtonshire and Stirlingshire. He never married. On his early death in 1904 aged forty-seven from pneumonia he was living with an also unmarried elder sister at the other end of the town.
But in the meantime back on the pitch he had first turned out for his home-town club in 1878 aged twenty-two, playing until 1885 and then for two more seasons at Dumbarton Athletic. In that period he was to appear for Dumbarton in three consecutive Scottish Cup Finals, losing the first two and finally triumphing in 1883. And in 1884 he was to win two Scottish caps. Apart from that little is known about his life either on or away from the game, not even where he is buried.
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