Rutherglen, Lanarkshire born centre forward turned centre or right half David Bain began his football career with Rutherglen Glencairn after the First World War, from where he was signed by Second Division Manchester United in May 1922, making his Football League debut at Port Vale in October 1922. He played in three further matches in April 1923, scoring once, before breaking into the team in October 1923, scoring both goals in a 2-0 win over Oldham Athletic in his first outing of the season, and a hat-trick in a 5-0 win over Port Vale a few days before Christmas. However he lost his place in February 1924 before transferring to Everton in June 1924 after 8 goals in 23 appearances for United.
Initially a fringe player at Goodison Park, he converted to centre half in 1924 and appeared frequently in the position over the following two seasons, but after only two further appearances in 1927-28 as Everton won the League Championship, he signed for Bristol City in November 1928 after 3 goals in 43 appearances for The Toffees.
At Ashton Gate he played mainly at inside right as they struggled for Second Division survival both seasons, scoring twice in 52 appearances before dropping a tier to join Halifax Town in August 1930 where again he mainly filled the right half or centre forward berths, missing only two matches in their 1930-31 campaign, scoring 5 goals in 65 appearances in two seasons before joining Rochdale in October 1932. At Rochdale he played in a variety of positions including left back and left half, scoring 5 goals in 55 appearances before leaving Spotland in the summer of 1934, retiring from professional football.
Bain’s older brother, Jimmy, also played for Manchester United. Although they were at the club at the same time for two years, they never appeared together in a competitive fixture, moving to Brentford where he was a stalwart, and after his playing career ended acted as a trainer and ultimately manager of Brentford for many years, where he is a member of the club’s Hall of Fame.