Arthur Rowley

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For the early 20th century player, see Arthur Rowley (footballer born 1870). For the Liverpool F.C. player, see Arthur Rowley (footballer born 1933).
Arthur Rowley
Personal information
Full name George Arthur Rowley Jr.
Date of birth (1926-04-21)21 April 1926
Place of birth Wolverhampton, England
Date of death 19 December 2002(2002-12-19) (aged 76)
Place of death Shrewsbury, England
Playing position Inside left
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1946–1948 West Bromwich Albion 24 (4)
1948–1950 Fulham 56 (26)
1950–1958 Leicester City 303 (251)
1958–1965 Shrewsbury Town 236 (152)
Total 619 (434)
Teams managed
1958–1968 Shrewsbury Town
1968–1969 Sheffield United
1970–1976 Southend United
c.1976 Knighton Town
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

George Arthur Rowley Jr., (21 April 1926 – 19 December 2002), nicknamed "The Gunner" because of his explosive left-foot shot,[1] was an English football player and cricketer. He holds the record for the most goals in the history of English league football, scoring 434 from 619 league games. He was the younger brother of Manchester United legend Jack Rowley. He was shortlisted for inclusion into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2008.[2][3]

He holds the club record for the most goals in a single season at both Leicester City and Shrewsbury Town, scoring 44 goals in 42 league matches at Leicester in 1956–57[4] and 38 goals in 43 games for Shrewsbury in 1958–59. He is also Shrewsbury's record league goalscorer with 152 league goals.[5] He is Leicester's second all-time top goalscorer, netting 265 times for the Foxes, 8 goals short of Arthur Chandler's record.[6]

Playing career[edit]

West Bromwich Albion[edit]

Rowley began his career as an amateur at Wolverhampton Wanderers before turning professional with West Bromwich Albion in 1944. However, he struggled at The Hawthorns both to score goals and gain a regular place in the first team.


Albion sold Rowley early in the 1948–49 season to Fulham, where he immediately found his goal-scoring touch, scoring 19 goals in 22 appearance as he helped the side to the Second Division title.

Rowley failed to recapture his form in the First Division as he scored only 7 goals.

Leicester City[edit]

At the end of his first season in the top flight he was sold to Leicester City. There was much criticism from Leicester fans originally towards manager Norman Bullock on signing the relatively unproven Rowley as a replacement for the well-liked Jack Lee. However, after a slow start as a centre forward, Bullock moved Rowley into the "number 10" inside left role which is where he would make his name at the Foxes, on 23 September, in which Rowley scored Leicester's consolation goal in a 2–1 defeat to Coventry City."[7] By the end of his debut season, his 28 goals had appeased the crowd, though the club still finished in a disappointing 14th position.[8]

It was in his second season, Rowley began to make a name for himself as he broke Arthur Chandler's club record for the most goals in a season, netting 38 times. Then broke his own record again the following season, scoring 41 times in 42 games. 39 of these goals coming in the league, earning him the Second Division golden boot award.[9] He scored a further 36 goals in the 1953–54 season helping fire Leicester to the Second Division title.

However, Leicester lasted just one season in the First Division as they were relegated back to the second tier at the first attempt. A couple of seasons later, in 1956–57 Rowley broke the club record for the most goals in a season for the third time, scoring 44 times in 42 games (this record still stands today), again earning him the Second Division top goalscorer award and again leading Leicester to the Second Division title. Rowley scored a further 20 times in 25 games in 1957–58 to help Leicester this time avoid relegation back to the second tier.

However Dave Halliday decided to sell Rowley in the summer of 1958, as he was just 8 goals short of Arthur Chandler's club record for the all-time top goalscorer. Bullock's decision to sell Rowley led to a loss of faith by the fans and ultimately his sacking 2 months into the 1958–59 season.[7]

In his 8 seasons at Filbert Street overall, he scored 265 goals in 321 games, including 16 hat-tricks.[7]

Shrewsbury Town[edit]

In the summer of 1958 Rowley left Leicester, who were playing in the First Division, to become the player-manager of Shrewsbury Town of the newly created Fourth Division. In his first season at the Gay Meadow Rowley led Shrewsbury to promotion with a haul of 38 goals in 43 games, winning the Fourth Division golden boot.[10] He followed that up in the Third Division as he continued scoring prolifically, netting 32, 28, 23 and 24 times over the next four seasons, before falling away in his last couple of seasons with the club as he began to put on weight and became less mobile, but his influence on the pitch was still to be seen, even employing himself as a makeshift defender on occasion, before finally retiring in 1965.[11][12]

Management career[edit]

Sheffield United[edit]

After retiring as a player Rowley managed Shrewsbury for another four years before becoming manager of Sheffield United on 11 July 1968. United had just been relegated to Division Two but despite good signings who would later gain the team promotion, results were disappointing and he was sacked on 6 August 1969.

He managed Southend United from 1970 to 1976 and was also assistant manager of Telford United and manager of non-league Knighton Town and Oswestry Town before leaving football.[13]

Cricketing career[edit]

He represented Shropshire in three Minor Counties Championship matches between 1961 and 1962 as a right-handed batsman and a leg-break bowler.



Leicester City


Leicester City
Shrewsbury Town


  1. ^ The record reign of Leicester City's Arthur Rowley, retrieved 20 February 2011
  2. ^ "Bid to honour footballer Rowley". BBC News. 5 October 2007. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  3. ^ – Record goalscorer dies
  4. ^ record reign of Leicester City's Arthur Rowley, retrieved 20 February 2011
  5. ^ Tribute to Town Legend Rowley, retrieved 20 February 2011]
  6. ^ Leading Goalscorers, retrieved 20 February 2011
  7. ^ a b c Dave Smith & Paul Taylor (2010). Of Fossils and Foxes. ISBN 1-905411-94-4. 
  8. ^ English Division Two (old) 1950–1951 : Table, retrieved 20 February 2011
  9. ^ Football League Div 1 & 2 Leading Goalscorers 1947–92, retrieved 20 February 2011
  10. ^ Football League Div 3 & 4 Leading Goalscorers 1947–92, retrieved 20 February 2011
  11. ^ Obituary – Arthur Rowley – Prolific goalscorer blessed with an explosive left foot, retrieved 20 February 2011
  12. ^ Arthur Rowley – Obituary, retrieved 20 February 2011
  13. ^ "Arthur Rowley". Obituaries. Daily Telegraph. 23 December 2002. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 

External links[edit]