John Brogan was signed in February 1977 by Manager Jim Storrie from Albion Rovers for a reported fee of £7,000.
Saints had been relegated from the Premier League at the end of the previous season and, although the 1976/77 Division 1 campaign had started reasonably well, by New Year the alarm bells were ringing loud and clear. New additions were urgently needed to the squad to avoid a further relegation. Walter Borthwick, Davie Ross and Derek O’Connor had already been brought in and Drew Rutherford would soon join “Brogie” as all areas of the team were strengthened.
John made his debut on 19 February 1977 against Dumbarton at Muirton Park in a match that the “Sons” would win 2 – 0 in front of 1,497 fans.
The team that day was: Dave Nicoll, John Mackay, Sandy Smith, Phil Roberts, Bobby Thomson, Ian Anderson, Ian Taylor, John Brogan, Micky Lawson, Derek O’Connor, Davie Ross. Subs: Jock Sampson and Lindsay Hamilton.
His 6 goals were vital in the final games of a season that would see Saints eventually avoid relegation on the final day with an incredible 4 – 1 win at Palmerston against Queen of the South. This result saw Saints leapfrog over both East Fife and Raith Rovers to avoid the dreaded drop.
John Brogan is of course Saints record goalscorer with a total of 140 goals.
1,772 fans would see his 44th minute goal in a 2 – 0 win at the Recreation Grounds, Alloa on 20 November 1982 be his 117th in a Saints jersey and break the previous individual goalscoring record held by Ian Rodger from the 1950’s. A few weeks later, in a nice touch, Rodger would present a Golden Boot and Scroll to John on the pitch at Muirton prior to a match against Dumbarton.
For the record the team that played at Alloa was : Mike McDonald, Don McVicar, Tom McNeil, Stuart Beedie, Alex Caldwell, Drew Rutherford, Derek Addison, John Brogan, John Pelosi, Jim Morton, Andy Brannigan. Subs: George Fleming and Doug Barron. Beedie sored the other goal that day.
“Brogie” famously scored 5 goals against Falkirk in a 6 – 1 League Cup match at Brockville in August 1982.
Only Willie McIntosh with 6 goals against Albion Rovers in a 9 – 0 League Cup match in 1946 has scored more goals in one match.
Ian Rodger also managed 5 goals in a match in January 1955 v Morton, also 6 – 1.
John also recorded 3 hat tricks, 1 against Queen of the South and 2 against Raith Rovers.
He seemed to particularly like playing against Rovers as 18 of his goals were scored against them. In fact he scored in 11 of 16 matches against the Kirkcaldy side and was only on the losing side once.
In 1982/83 he scored a total of 36 goals and his goal in a 1 – 0 win against Dunfermline Ath at Muirton on the final day of the season secured Saints promotion to the Premier League. Saints were Champions 1 point ahead of Hearts.
John Brogan was not only a very good goalscorer but, strangely for a striker, I have no recollection of him ever taking a penalty. He was an intelligent player who would create goals for other teammates. With Saints he formed exellent playing partnerships with Derek O’Connor, then Ally McCoist and also Andy Brannigan.
John was an extremely popular player with both players and fans alike and was twice voted the Supporters Club Player of the Year – in 1979/80 and again in 1982/83.
He represented Scotland in a 4 Nations Semi Professional Tournament in Aberdeen in 1982. The other Countries involved were England, Holland and Italy.
A crowd of 4,879 saw his final Saints match in a 2 – 0 defeat at Dens Park on 12 May 1984. The team was: – Roy Baines, Derek Addison, Jim Morton, Ray Blair, Doug Barron, Drew Rutherford, Joe Reid, John Brogan, Gordon Scott, Alan Lyons, Stuart Beedie. Subs Ian Gibson and Joe Woods.
Following relegation from the Premier League, John joined Hibs for a transfer fee of £15,000. He would later play for Hamilton Accies and Stirling Albion. Subsequently he became manager at Stirling.
His 285 appearances ( 276 + 9 sub ) places him at 9th equal with Harry Ferguson ( pre War ) in the all time Appearances list.
After 8 years service to Saints, creating records and some wonderful memories, John Brogan was inducted into the St Johnstone Hall of Fame on Saturday night, an award that he very richly deserves.