Forward George Brann was born in Eastbourne, East Sussex and was educated at Ardingly College, near Haywards Heath, West Sussex, where he spent ten years and represented the school at football.
After leaving school he joined The Swifts based in Slough, which in 1890 merged with Slough Albion and Young Men’s Friendly Society to form a new club, Slough F.C., which later became Slough Town. Being an amateur, Brann was free to play for more than one club, and he joined the famous amateur club The Corinthians in 1885. He made his first appearance for them in a 3-1 defeat against Preston North End on 28 November 1885. In the 1885-86 season he played eight times for Corinthians, in all five forward positions, scoring three goals.
In the 1885-86 FA Cup tournament Brann was part of The Swifts’ team, together with Charlie & Arthur Bambridge, which reached the sixth round stage, where they were eliminated by the Cup holders Blackburn Rovers. His first England appearance came at Cathkin Park, Glasgow in a 1-1 draw against Scotland on 27th March 1886 in the British Home Championship. England’s goal was scored by fellow Corinthian Tinsley Lindley, also a first class cricketer. Brann was retained for the next match against Wales at The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham two days later, and scored in a 3-1 victory.
His Corinthian appearances over the next few seasons were fairly infrequent, and he ended his career in 1893, having made 32 appearances, with eight goals. He made his third and final England appearance against Wales on 7th March 1891 when he played on the right wing alongside professionals including Johnny Goodall, Jack Southworth, Alf Milward and Edgar Chadwick. England were too strong for the Welsh and won 4-1 at The Ashville Ground, Sunderland with each of the other forwards scoring.
He was also a first class cricketer of some note. He made his debut in first class cricket for Sussex against Hampshire in May 1883, although he made little impact scoring a duck as Sussex won by an innings and 42 runs but his career really began in 1885. His highest first class score was 161 against Cambridge University at Hove in 1899, although he did score 219 against Hampshire in a non-first class match in June 1886. In 1899 he and C.B. Fry opened the two Sussex innings against Middlesex at Lord’s with partnerships of 135 and 148. In 1892 he enjoyed what was then the rare distinction of scoring two centuries in a match scoring 105 and 101 against Kent. This had only been achieved previously by W. G. Grace (three times) and William Lambert, also of Sussex.
Brann went to Australia in 1887-88 as a member of Arthur Shrewsbury’s Team, visited South Africa under Walter Read in 1891-92 and America in 1899 when K.S. Ranjitsinhji was captain. His last significant season was 1904, although his final first class match for Sussex was against Cambridge University in June 1905. In his first class career, he scored a total of 11,205 runs at an average of 25.69, including 25 centuries and 43 half-centuries for Sussex. Standing nearly six feet tall, he was also a fine fielder taking 145 catches during his career; as a fast bowler he claimed 69 wickets at an average of 44.31, with a best of 5-73.
According to his obituary in Wisden, he was “originally a very free batsman and powerful hitter, (but) forsook his dashing methods during his last few years of county cricket, (and) although becoming a far more watchful type of batsman he continued to make many runs”.