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Obituary - Johnny Brooks

Posted on 8 June 2016  - 09:30

We were all saddened to learn of the passing of Johnny Brooks last night. A prominent player at the Club during the 1950s, Johnny passed away at a care home in Bournemouth, aged 84.

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Born in Reading, Johnny represented Reading and Berkshire at schoolboy level before joining his home-town team as an amateur in 1949. Just six weeks later, he signed professional forms with the Royals, then in Division Three South.

An inside forward, Johnny caught the eye of manager Arthur Rowe, who was beginning to make changes to the famous 'push and run' side that had clinched back-to-back titles - the Second Division crown in 1949-50 followed by the First Division championship in 1950-51.

After 49 appearances for Reading, Johnny made the switch to White Hart Lane in February, 1953 for a fee of £3,000 with Dennis Uphill and Harry Robshaw going the other way as part of the deal.

A naturally gifted player with great dribbling ability, powerful shot and an eye for goal, Johnny secured a regular place in the team in the 1954-55 campaign and enjoyed success over the following seasons.

His impressive 10 goals in 39 league starts came in a team that finished 18th in 1955-56 and he hit double-figures again (11) in 23 league starts as we were runners-up to Manchester United in 1956-57. His performances earned a call from England and he won three caps in the winter of 1956, scoring on his debut against Wales and again against Yugoslavia, both in November, before his final cap against Denmark, a World Cup qualifier on December 5 that year.

Johnny played 50 league games in the next two seasons before departing for Chelsea in December, 1959, in a £20,000 part exchange for Les Allen, as Bill Nicholson made the final additions to a squad that would go on to make football history.

In total, Johnny played 179 matches for us, scoring 51 goals.

From Chelsea, he moved to Brentford and helped the Bees to the Fourth Division title in 1963. He finished his professional career at Crystal Palace before a spell in non-league circles at Stevenage, Cambridge City and as player-manager of Knebworth Town.

His son Shaun also enjoyed a professional football career at Palace, Leyton Orient and Bournemouth.

We extend our condolences to Johnny’s family and friends at this sad time.