In 1923, Ton Pentre striker Jimmy Brain transferred directly from the Bulldogs to London club Arsenal.
Born in Bristol on 11 September 1900, Jimmy started his career playing in Wales, having an unsuccessful trial at Cardiff City, before gaining a regular place at Ton Pentre.
Jimmy was one of seven brothers and before joining the Bulldogs as a professional footballer, he had been a coal miner.
In August 1923, he transferred from Ton Pentre to Arsenal and after a year in the reserve team Jimmy started his Arsenal first-team career with a goal on his debut, a 1-0 win against local rivals Tottenham Hotspur on 25 October 1924.
He was a prolific striker throughout his career, and was the club’s top scorer for four seasons in a row, from 1924-25 to 1928-29; this included 39 goals in the 1925-26 season (second only to Ted Drake’s haul of 45 in 1934-35), which included four hat tricks.
The next season, 1926-27, Jimmy scored 34 goals, including two four-goal tallies against Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley. His goal scoring feats helped Arsenal reach their first FA Cup final in 1926-27. However, the Gunners lost in that final to Cardiff City.
Jimmy’s form dropped off in 1929-30 and he competed for his position with Jack Lambert, David Jack and Dave Halliday, meaning he only played six league matches in that season.
He missed the Gunners’ 1930 FA Cup final win over Huddersfield Town with David Jack and Jack Lambert leading the line. However, the following season (1930-31) Jimmy finally won a medal after playing sixteen matches (scoring four goals) in Arsenal’s first Division one title-winning season. His final appearance in an Arsenal shirt was a 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday on 21 March 1931.
In total, he scored 139 goals in 232 appearances for Arsenal, making him the Gunners’ joint-fifth top scorer of all time, and he was the first player ever to score 100 goals for the club, a feat he achieved in a 6-3 win over Liverpool on 7 March 1928.
Jimmy was once called up for the Welsh international squad but had to withdraw when he told the selectors that he had been born in Bristol.
Once this was known to the FA, he was called to a trial for the England team in 1926. Came close to representing his country by scoring for The Rest against England in a trial match in February 1926, but was never selected for the national side.
He left Arsenal for Tottenham for £2,500 in September 1931, becoming one of the few players to have moved directly between the two rival clubs.
By the time Jimmy had joined Spurs he was in his thirties but played 47 times for the club, scoring 10 goals, before leaving in 1934.
He played his final years out at Swansea Town and Bristol City. After retiring as a player, he managed first King’s Lynn and then Cheltenham Town from 1939 until 1948, after which he retired completely from football.
Jimmy died in 1971, at the age of 71.
Sources: arsenalarsenal.wordpress.com, arsenal.com