Tuesday 25 September 2018

A look at Brook - the man Aguero has overtaken as Man City's top goalscorer

Sergio Aguero scored his 178th goal for Manchester City against Napoli
Sergio Aguero scored his 178th goal for Manchester City against Napoli

Sergio Aguero has beaten Manchester City's goalscoring record, netting his 178th goal for the club in the Champions League against Napoli.

Here, Press Association Sport profiles Eric Brook, the man whose mark he has moved past.

The heroes of Manchester City's golden era of the late 1960s easily roll off the tongue.

The likes of Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee, Francis Lee and Neil Young were part of a side that not only fought with and beat the best, but did so with a swagger.

Yet for all the thrills they brought and success they enjoyed - including the First Division title, FA Cup and League cup in successive years from 1968-70 - none of that team could claim the club's most cherished individual record.

To find out about the man Aguero has now overtaken as City's record goalscorer, one has to look deeper into history to a previous, less-celebrated but equally exciting, generation.

England international Eric Brook was a firm fans' favourite in the 1930s. The Yorkshireman was a strong forward, primarily an outside left but not one who restricted himself to the wing duties normally associated with that position.

As well as playing wide he would also move across the attacking line, appearing in the box like a centre forward to score many of his 177 City goals.

And, unlike other forwards of the day who would wait for the ball to be won by team-mates and passed to them, he would challenge to win back possession. Such was Brook's versatility and exuberance, he even played as an emergency goalkeeper on more than one occasion.

His efforts helped City win the FA Cup in 1934, after being beaten semi-finalists and runners-up in the previous two years, and the league title for the first time in their history in 1937.

Brook was born in Mexborough, South Yorkshire, in 1907. He worked as a miner but was signed by Barnsley at the age of 18. He moved to City, then in the Second Division, in 1928 as part of a joint deal which also took Fred Tilson to Maine Road.

Tilson, with whom Brook formed a formidable left-wing partnership, went on to score 132 goals for City himself.

Promotion came swiftly and City became one of the dominant forces of the 1930s, also finishing fourth in the First Division in 1935. Brook was an ever-present and scored 20 League goals in the 1936-37 title-winning campaign.

Brook, who also won 18 England caps, stayed with the club after their shock relegation in 1938 but his league career was ended by the outbreak of the Second World War. He did score what would have been a 178th City goal in the opening game of 1939-40 but that was expunged from records after the fixtures were cancelled.

There were wartime fixtures but he fractured his skull in a car crash while travelling to an England game against Scotland at Newcastle in December 1939 and never played competitively again.

He died at the age of 57 in 1965 after working in later life as a pub landlord, a coach driver and a crane operator.

:: Some information from 'The Official Manchester City Hall of Fame' by Gary James.

Press Association

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