Gordon Bremner: a tremendous talent whose career was lost to the war

By Tony Attwood

Gordon Bremner was the embodiment of a superb player who lost virtually all his playing career to the second world war.

He was born on 12 November 1917 in Glasgow and started by playing for Cartha Athletic.   Cartha Athletic Club, was founded in Glasgow in 1889, and was one of the largest and most successful sports clubs in the country.  The rugby section of the athletic club started in 1906 and in 1908 gained membership to the Scottish Rugby Union.  I can’t find when the football section started but in 1951-52 Cartha Athletic FC is listed as winning the Scottish Amateur League and there is a reference to them in 1984, but I can’t trace other details.

Naturally having joined Arsenal in March 1937 he started out in the Football Combination, where he scored 15 times in 43 appearances.

Then in April 1938 in his first game for the first team. he scored the dramatic winner in the last minute in the match against Leeds.  Without that Arsenal would have had one point and not two from the game, and that could have been disastrous, given that the league title (which Arsenal won) went down to the very last match of the season, with Arsenal dependent on the result of the Wolverhampton game.

He was clearly in George Allison’s mind as his number of games increased considerably in the second season and he scored the winning goal against Chelsea at Highbury in February 1939.

Although he was not a member of the team for the last game of the season against Brentford (and thus not filmed playing for Arsenal in the match that was used in the Arsenal Stadium Mystery movie) he did feature in the film.   He was in the squad for the Scandinavian tour which followed the season and in the team for the second match of the 1939/40 season which was abandoned.

On 10 October 1942 he played in the wartime international against England for Scotland.  Marks, Hapgood and Dennis Compton played for England and Bremner for Scotland.

During the war he served in the army and although he returned to Arsenal in 1946 he was not considered for the team and transferred to Motherwell for £2,750 upon demobilisation from the Army.  He went on to play 99 games for Motherwell scoring 17 goals before retiring from football in 1951.

After that, I regret, I have no deals of him apart from one piece of trivia from the Motherwell Times  which says he was a judge in the Miss April competition in that month, 1947.  If you have any other information please write in.

Here is a list of all his games for Arsenal.  All were in the First Division.


Date Match Result
09 Apr 1938 Leeds United v Arsenal W 0-1
07 May 1938 Arsenal v Bolton Wanderers W 5-0
14 Sep 1938 Arsenal v Derby County L 1-2
17 Sep 1938 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Arsenal W 0-1
24 Sep 1938 Arsenal v Aston Villa D 0-0
08 Oct 1938 Arsenal v Grimsby Town W 2-0
22 Oct 1938 Arsenal v Preston North End W 1-0
31 Dec 1938 Arsenal v Huddersfield Town W 1-0
04 Feb 1939 Arsenal v Sunderland W 2-0
18 Feb 1939 Arsenal v Chelsea W 1-0
21 Feb 1939 Grimsby Town v Arsenal L 2-1
25 Mar 1939 Leicester City v Arsenal W 0-2
01 Apr 1939 Arsenal v Middlesbrough L 1-2
07 Apr 1939 Blackpool v Arsenal L 1-0
22 Apr 1939 Stoke City v Arsenal L 1-0


2 Replies to “Gordon Bremner: a tremendous talent whose career was lost to the war”

  1. Gordon Bremner was my uncle. He was married to my father’s sister and they lived in Chester. He had 3 children.

  2. Hello Karen, my grandpa was Hutton Bremner who was Gordon’s older brother. I heard a lot about your uncle as I was growing up as grandpa died before I was born in 1970 named Carol Hutton Bremner and I grew up loving football and still do to this day supporting Rangers, sadly my dad Douglas Dent Bremner, Hutton Bremner’s youngest son died on 5 September 2020.

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