Bray George Image 1 Burnley 1947

Bray George Image 1 Burnley 1947


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Wing half George Bray was born in the town of Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, on 11th November 1918. As a youth he played football for local club Great Harwood Town before signing his first contract with Football League Second Division side Burnley in October 1937, making his debut against Luton Town in October 1938. He quickly established himself as first choice, making 34 league appearances during the 1938-39 season. He played two matches at the start of the 1939-40 campaign before the league was abandoned due to the outbreak of the Second World War. During the war, Bray served in Northern Ireland and while there he played as a wartime guest with Belfast side Glentoran, where he played alongside future Burnley team-mate Reg Kirkham. In 1942 he was part of the team that reached the final of the Irish Cup before losing 1–3 to rivals Linfield.

When the Football League resumed in 1946, Bray regained his place at left-half. Along with fellow half-backs Reg Attwell and captain Alan Brown, full-backs Harry Mather and Arthur Woodruff and goalkeeper Jimmy Strong, Bray was part of the Burnley defence known as the “Iron Curtain”. The team conceded only 29 league goals during the 1946-47 season, the second lowest ever, as they finished as Second Division runners-up to Manchester City, thereby gaining promotion to the First Division. Bray appeared in all but one of the side’s matches during the campaign and also played nine matches in the FA Cup as Burnley reached the FA Cup Final for the first time since 1914. He was selected in the starting line-up for the Final but could not prevent opponents Charlton Athletic achieving a 1-0 victory.

Bray was ever-present the following season as Burnley finished third in the First Division on their return to the top flight of English football. He remained a regular first-team player for the following three seasons, playing 114 out of a possible 126 games, until losing his place ten matches into the 1951-52 campaign to youngster Jimmy Adamson. Bray made his final senior appearance for Burnley on 29th September 1951 in the 1-2 defeat away at Stoke City. After losing his starting berth, he continued to play for the reserve team until his retirement from professional football in the summer of 1952 after 9 goals in 261 appearances. Upon retiring from playing, Bray joined the coaching staff at Burnley. He was initially a trainer for the club’s A team and later assisted the reserves before being appointed first-team trainer under new manager Adamson in 1970. Bray retired from coaching four years later but remained at Turf Moor as the Burnley kit man. He left the club in 1992.

His older brother, Jackie Bray, was also a professional footballer and represented Manchester City and England.


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