Alan Gowling Profile

Alan Gowling

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.

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