Alan Pattullo: Bobby Brown seemed boyish next to rival Alf Ramsey

Scotland manager Bobby Brown at Tynecastle in 1967.
Scotland manager Bobby Brown at Tynecastle in 1967.
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What a long and fulfilling life Bobby Brown lived. The obituaries and tributes, with more to come, have already made this clear.

Much has already been said about his Scotland and Rangers years, rightly so. These periods were lengthy, certainly in the Ibrox chapter’s case, as well as notable.

Brown’s eight years managing St Johnstone haven’t necessarily been overlooked but it was interesting to read the Perth club’s own tribute to the man who took charge of 393 first-team games. This is more than anyone else in St Johnstone’s history, including Willie Ormond, Brown’s successor, and Alex Totten.

Still, those seeking to provide an overview of Brown’s life following news of his death, aged 96, three days ago were always bound to focus on an afternoon that still holds its charge in Scottish football: England 2 Scotland 3 on 15 April 1967.

It was Brown’s first match in charge of Scotland. Seeing his team crowned unofficial world champions was not a bad way to start

There’s further reason to linger over that afternoon. While it won’t necessarily be celebrated north of the Border, this Wednesday is the centenary of Sir Alf Ramsey’s birth. He was on the other bench that day.

There was just three years between the managers. Ramsey, hard to believe, was still only 47 when he looked on aghast as Jim Baxter indulged himself by performing keepie-ups.

This of course means he was 46 when England won the World Cup nine months earlier. Viewing pictures of that day, he looks so much older, as tends to be the case when looking back at footballing figures. Brown, left, was an exception. He seems almost boyish in photographs of that era. Ramsey lived a long life, certainly in terms of most of his peers, but still died more than 20 years ago, in 1999, at 79.