Alexandria, Dunbartonshire born right half or centre half Jimmy Brown began his football career with Renton Union in 1886 and played for Renton Thistle in 1887 before joining Renton in 1888. He signed for Football League club Aston Villa in July 1890, making his League debut against Derby County the same October, spending three seasons at Wellington Road. However he was not included in their losing 1892 FA Cup Final team.
He moved to Leicester Fosse in October 1893 after scoring 4 goals in 56 appearances for The Villains, and he was a regular performer over the next five seasons at Filbert Street, scoring 6 goals in 133 appearances for The Fossils. He finally moved to Loughborough in September 1899, scoring twice in 13 appearances during their final season as a League club, before retiring in 1900.