Alan Gowling Profile
Alan Edwin Gowling, born Stockport, England, March 16, 1949. Hailing from nearby Stockport, Alan Gowling joined Manchester United as an apprentice in August 1965 and signed professional forms two years later. After scoring 21 goals in 87 appearances in all competitions for United, he went on to play for Huddersfield Town, Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers, and finally Preston North End where he finished off his footballing career in May 1983.
Alan Gowling was granted his First Division debut for Manchester United by legendary head coach Matt Busby in a 4-2 victory against Stoke City at Victoria Ground on the 30th of March 1968, scoring one of the goals. He made his second Division One appearance in a 2-1 loss against Liverpool at Old Trafford on the 6th of the following month and finished the season with five first team matches under his belt. During the 1968-69 campaign, under new manager Wilf McGuinnesss, he only made two First Division appearances, playing in a goalless derby draw with Manchester City at Maine Road on the 17th of August, and then in a 2-0 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield on the 12th of October. The following season, he netted the winner in a 2-1 top-flight win against Nottingham Forest at City Ground on the 31st of March 1970, and in the penultimate home fixture of the campaign, he hit two goals each side of the half-time whistle in a 7-0 mauling of West Bromwich Albion, scoring a total of three goals in eight first class outings. With Busby back in a charge of United, Gowling netted eight times in 22 first team appearances during the 1970-71 term, including four goals in a 5-1 First Division win against Southampton at Old Trafford, but still struggled to make his breakthrough at the club. And with the appointment of new gaffer Frank O´Farrell in the summer of 1971, he knew his playing days at Manchester United were numbered. He scored both of the goals in a 2-0 win over Second Division club Preston North End in front of over 37,000 people at Deepdale in the FA Cup Fourth Round on the 5th of February 1972, but the increasingly frustrated frontman was already on his way out the door at Old Trafford.
And as destiny would have its course, Gowling appeared in his final match for Manchester United in a 3-0 First Division victory over bogey team Stoke City at Old Trafford on the 29th of April 1972 before he was dispatched to recently relegated Second Division outfit Huddersfield Town for a bargain transfer fee of £65,000 at the end of the rollercoaster 1971-72 season. But despite contributing a creditable 17 Second Division hits in 42 outings for Huddersfield during his inaugural year with the once powerful side, he could not prevent the Yorkshiremen from suffering yet another relegation. In the 1973-74 campaign, he found the target 25 times in 45 Third Division appearances for The Terriers as the club finished in tenth position in the standings. Gowling notched another 17 goals in 41 Division Three outings in the 1974-75 term, but once again Town suffered relegation. Then, after having amassed a fine total of 58 goals in 128 Football League appearances for Huddersfield under Leeds Road head coach Ian Greaves, the industrious goal plunderer left West Yorkshire for First Division Newcastle United for a modest transfer fee of £70,000 at the beginning of the 1975-76 campaign.
Following his Division One debut for Newcastle in a 3-0 season opener triumph against Ipswich Town at Portman Road on the 16th of August 1975, Gowling found the net for the first time for his new employers when he registered a hat-trick in a resounding 5-1 top-flight victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers at St James´ Park on the 20th of September. After hitting a brace in a walloping 5-2 win at home to Norwich City on the 18th of October, he was on target again as he grabbed the opening goal in a 1-1 away draw against Stoke City on the 25th of the same month and he scored another opener in a 2-0 home triumph over Arsenal a week later. As the calendar flipped from 1975 to 1976, his good scoring form continued and he notched his second hat-trick of the campaign in an emphatic 5-0 triumph against Everton at St James´ Park on the 10th of January. He bagged the equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on the 17th of the same month and then netted one of the goals in a 3-3 draw against Middlesbrough at Ayresome Park a fortnight later. The goals kept coming and he got himself on the scoresheet in a 4-3 defeat at home against former club Manchester United on the 20th of March and scored a second-half goal in a 3-2 home loss to Leeds United on the last day of the month. On the 3rd of April, he registered a consolation in a 2-1 home defeat to Queens Park Rangers before he rounded off the season by scoring the second goal in a 4-0 victory at home to Birmingham City four days later.
During his first year in the North East, Gowling managed to accumulate a respectable 16 First Division goals in 41 appearances for the club and he was a member of the team that reached the League Cup Final at Wembley on the 28th of February 1976, only to suffer a close 2-1 loss at the hands of Manchester City. The Citizens, who had lost the League Cup Final to Wolverhampton Wanderers two years earlier, went in front against the early run of play as Mike Doyle nodded an Asa Hartford free-kick across goal where Peter Barnes hammered the ball past Newcastle shot stopper Mike Mahoney and into the net after eleven minutes of fierce action. As the final progressed, Gowling equalised for Newcastle when he converted a low dangerous cross from Malcolm Macdonald ten minutes before the interval, but Tony Book´s boys had their winning goal as Tommy Booth headed on a high ball from Willie Donachie to Dennis Tueart who found the back of the net with an astonishing overhead-kick a mere minute into the second half. Needless to say, the defeat to City was a bitter blow to the Newcastle supporters who had been outsinging the Maine Road fans for most of the afternoon.
Despite the departure of Frank Clark, Terry Hibbitt, Bobby Moncur, John Tudor, and Supermac during the hot summer of 1976, Newcastle United finished fifth in the First Division standings in the 1976-77 season to qualify for the UEFA Cup, but the following campaign proved to be a disaster for The Magpies who found themselves stuck in the relegation zone from early September. The North Easterners were relegated long before the season was over and several players were already on their way out of the club. Coincidentally, Gowling´s final appearance for Newcastle came in a 1-0 First Division defeat to Ipswich Town at St James´ Park on the 25th of February 1978, the winner being scored by Norwich born winger Clive Woods. As a Newcastle player, Gowling scored 30 goals in 92 First Division outings for the Tynesiders under managers Gordon Lee, Richard Dinnis, Willie McFaul, and Bill McGarry before he was transferred to Second Division Bolton Wanderers, now managed by former Huddersfield boss Ian Greaves, for a fee of £120,000 in the spring of 1978.
At Burnden Park, Alan Gowling would be playing alongside experienced players with the likes of Tony Dunne, Roy Greaves, Garry Jones, Willie Morgan, John Ritson, Peter Thompson, and Frank Worthington, and he was an integral constituent of the Wanderers side which won the Second Division Championship in the 1977-78 campaign, finishing one point above runners-up Southampton and two points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur in third spot. Still an accomplished and dynamic performer, the flying chip recorded his first Division One goal for Bolton in a narrow 2-1 defeat against Bristol City at Burnden Park on the 19th of August 1978 and went on to register 15 goals in 36 top-flight appearances for The Trotters in the 1978-79 season. At Bolton, the seasoned campaigner gave sterling service and accumulated 28 goals in 149 Football League outings for Wanderers before he signed with Third Division outfit Preston North End where persistent injuries ultimately forced him to retire from the round ball game at the end of the 1982-83 term. Internationally, he gained England caps at amateur, Schoolboy, and Under-23 level, and the affable character was part of the British Olympic team at the Summer Olympics in Mexico in 1968. Alan Gowling Playing Career: Manchester United, Huddersfield Town, Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End. Playing Honours: None.
Alan Gowling Quickfacts
While still a junior player with Manchester United, Alan “Bamber” Gowling attended the University of Manchester where he studied for a Master´s degree in economics and he would later become the general manager of a chemicals company based in the small spa town of Buxton in Derbyshire.