Rutherglen, Lanarkshire born centre half born Jimmy Bain began his football career with Rutherglen Glencairn in 1922 and played for Strathclyde in 1923 from where he was signed by Second Division Manchester United in 1924, making his Football League debut against Clapton Orient in February 1925, his only appearance of the season as Manchester United won promotion as Second Division runners up. Back in the top flight Bain had three seasons of mainly reserve team football, making only 3 further first team appearances, and left Old Trafford in July 1928. After a spell at non league Manchester Central, he joined Brentford in December 1928 signing for a £250 fee.
He soon established himself as a near ever present in The Bees’ first eleven, he was an immediate hit and was awarded the captaincy and missed only one match as Brentford finished runners up and in third place over the next two seasons, then five games a season in 1931-32 and 1932-33, finally helping the club to win the 1932-33 Third Division (South) Championship.
He played the first 8 matches of their Second Division campaign before possibly suffering an injury and he retired from playing later in 1934, after making 201 appearances, scoring twice for Brentford.
Bain became assistant to manager Harry Curtis at Brentford in 1934. Under Curtis, he was a part of the most successful period in the club’s history, which saw The Bees crowned Second Division and London Challenge Cup Champions in the 1934-35 season, finish fifth in the First Division in 1935-36 (the club’s highest ever League placing) and win the 1942 London War Cup. After Curtis’ departure in 1949, Bain served as assistant to Jackie Gibbons (1949-1952), Tommy Lawton (1953) and Bill Dodgin, Sr. (1953-1956).
Bain was named as successor to manager Jackie Gibbons in August 1952. He lasted until January 1953, before being replaced by player-manager Tommy Lawton. Prior to the appointment and dismissal of Eddie May in 1997, Bain’s tenure was the shortest on record for a permanent Brentford manager. Bain retired from football at the end of the 1955-56 season and received a Football League Long Service Medal for the contribution he made at Griffin Park. He was awarded a testimonial in 1956, in which Brentford drew 1-1 with an All-Star XI.
In 2013, Bain placed fifth in a Football League 125th Anniversary poll of Brentford’s best ever captains and was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in May 2015.
Bain’s younger brother David was also a professional footballer who played for Manchester United (the siblings coincided on the club staff for two years, but never appeared together in a competitive fixture), and also Everton, Bristol City, Halifax Town and Rochdale, his career similarly ending in 1934.