Player name in full: Eric Fred Brook
To/from dates: 1928-1939
Number of appearances: 493
Goals scored: 177
Biography and City Career:
Eric Brook was born in 1907 in Mexborough, Yorkshire.
Brook began his career at Barnsley, and soon attracted the interest of Manchester City. He moved to Maine Road in March 1928, playing 12 games and scoring two goals as City were promoted as Second Division Champions. His first goal for his new club came in a 5-3 win against Clapton Orient.
Eric Brook went on to make 493 league and cup appearances, scoring a total of 158 league goals and 19 FA Cup goals. With his muscular physique, he was described as being “as hard as nails”. Brook himself believed wingers , even those who frequently roamed inside, should possess, in his own words, “plenty of tricks, and be cunning, deceptive, speedy and accurate.”
Notionally a left-winger but as strong and prolific as any striker in his role as a roving forward, the versatile Brook even took over in goal on at least three occasions.
A good penalty-taker and possessing a strong shot, Eric Brook joked that the left-wing was merely “a home to look in on”. His prowess earned him 18 full England caps and several more international appearances at representative level.
He played his part in helping City to successive FA Cup Final appearances. In the 1933 Final, a disappointing 3-0 defeat by Everton, Brook wore the number 12 shirt, the first time that number had been worn in an FA Cup Final, as the two teams lined up 1-11 and 12-22.
City, with the help of Eric Brook, returned to Wembley in 1934, this time beating Portsmouth 2-1 to bring the trophy back to Manchester.
Earlier, in the quarter-final match against Stoke City, watched by an all-time record home attendance of 84,569, Eric Brook had scored what many still consider to be the greatest Manchester City goal of all-time, certainly of that era, when a speculative long-range effort appeared to change direction in mid-air and ended up nestled in the back of the Stoke net.
In the 1936/37 season, Brook was an ever-present for Manchester City as the club were crowned League Champions for the first time in their history. One year later, City were relegated to the Second Division.
Before being overtaken by Sergio Agüero, Eric Brook’s 177 goals for Manchester City stood as a club record for seventy eight years.
In 2004, he was inducted into the Manchester City Hall of Fame.
Eric Brook’s career was effectively ended by the Second World War. In 1940, he was selected to play for England in a wartime international against Scotland. On his way to the match, the car he was travelling in was involved in an accident, in which he sustained a fractured skull. His injury meant he could no longer safely head a ball and he decided to retire from football
Post-war, Eric Brook worked variously as a coach driver, a barman and a crane operator, before passing away in 1965, aged just 57.