Jim Towers

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Jim Towers
Personal information
Full name Edwin James Towers[1]
Date of birth (1933-04-15)15 April 1933
Place of birth Shepherd's Bush, England
Date of death 16 September 2010(2010-09-16) (aged 77)
Place of death London, England
Playing position Striker, winger
Youth career
1948–1954 Brentford
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1954–1961 Brentford 262 (153)
1961–1962 Queens Park Rangers 28 (15)
1962–1963 Millwall 21 (8)
1963 Gillingham 8 (6)
1963–1964 Aldershot 32 (15)
1964–1965 Romford (31)
1965–1968 Gravesend & Northfleet 77 (46)
Total 428 (274)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Jim Towers (15 April 1933 – 16 September 2010) was a professional English football striker, best remembered for his time in the Football League with Brentford. He is the club's all-time leading goalscorer and in 2013 was voted the club's greatest ever player.[1][2]

Career[edit]

Brentford[edit]

Born in Shepherd's Bush, Towers began his career as a schoolboy, playing for his local Gaumont cinema team.[1] He frequently played against another boy, the Acton Odeon cinema team's George Francis, with whom Towers' future professional career would be intertwined.[1] Towers, along with Francis, progressed through the Acton and Brentford & Chiswick school teams.[1] Towers also had a try-out at Fulham before signing for the junior team at Division Two side Brentford in 1948.[3] Towers was offered a professional contract in 1951, prior to departing to undertake his National Service.[3]

After returning to Griffin Park and signing another contract,[4] Towers made his professional debut on 30 August 1954 on the wing, making a dream start and scoring in a 2-2 draw with Shrewsbury Town.[5] He was soon moved back to his natural striker position by Bill Dodgin and made 37 appearances and scored 16 goals during the 1954/55 season as the Bees finished in mid-table.[1][6] The Bees challenged for promotion during the 1955/56 season, but ultimately finished in sixth place, with Towers scoring 22 goals in 41 games.[1][6] George Francis broke into the team in the following campaign and so began the most productive strike partnership in Brentford history, with one London evening newspaper dubbing the pair 'the Terrible Twins'.[1] After a lean 1956/57 season (scoring 13 goals), Towers found his form again in the following campaign, netting 29 goals in 36 games, to set a new single-season post-war club goalscoring record.[1][6] The season ended in disappointment after Brentford were edged off the top of the Division Three South by Brighton & Hove Albion.

Towers' most lethal season in front of goal came in 1958/59, scoring 37 goals in 50 appearances and finishing one goal shy of Jack Holliday's goals-in-a-season record set in the 1932/33 season. Towers was the top scorer in Division Three in 1958/59 (with 32 goals) and the Towers-Francis partnership yielded 61 of Brentford's 83 goals for the entire season.[1][3][6] A highlight of the campaign was a four-goal haul in a 6-0 thrashing of Southampton at The Dell on 9 March 1959.[1][7] Towers' profile rose and he was the subject of bids from higher league clubs Sheffield Wednesday and Norwich City, but he turned the offers down, as due to the maximum wage, he was unwilling to move for what would only have been a £2 per week increase to his £18 per week wages.[3] Two further seasons followed, with Towers' last at Griffin Park being 1960/61. In a bizarre move by the club's hierarchy (in response to the removal of the maximum wage), Towers and Francis were deemed surplus requirements and sold.[1] In 2005, Towers revealed that he was "almost begged" to leave Brentford.[3] A potential deal for Towers to return to the Bees during the 1961/62 season collapsed.[1] He was given a testimonial in 1986, which he shared with Johnny Rainford,[1] a former teammate who laid on many of the passes for Towers and Francis to score from.[3] Towers is the club's all-time top scorer with 163 goals in 282 games.[1][8][9][10][4] For a Football League 125th anniversary poll, Towers was voted as the club's greatest ever player.[2]

Queens Park Rangers[edit]

Towers and Francis joined Brentford's Division Three West London rivals Queens Park Rangers in an £8000 deal in May 1961.[1] He opened his Rangers goalscoring account by breaking Brentford hearts, scoring in a 3-0 victory in the West London derby on the opening day of the season.[11] He fired in 16 goals in 32 appearances to help Rangers to a fourth-place finish and departed the club in August 1962.[12]

Millwall[edit]

Towers signed for Division Three side Millwall in August 1962 for a £5000 fee.[1] He scored eight goals in his opening 21 games,[13] but departed in January 1963.[1]

Gillingham[edit]

Towers dropped down to Division Four to reunite with George Francis at Gillingham in January 1963.[1] He showed good form (scoring six goals in just eight games),[1] but had an agonising end to the season after the Gills missed out on promotion with a fifth-place finish. He departed the club in July 1963.[8]

Aldershot[edit]

Towers joined Division Four side Aldershot in July 1963.[8] Despite a mid-table finish in the league, he enjoyed a good 1963/64 season at the Recreation Ground, scoring 15 goals in 32 games, including a goal in the FA Cup third round giant-killing of Aston Villa.[8] He departed the club after the season.[8]

Romford[edit]

Towers dropped into non-league football and signed for Southern League Premier Division side Romford in the summer of 1964.[8] His 31 goals could not help Boro to better than a 14th place finish in the league and he departed the club in the summer of 1965.

Gravesend & Northfleet[edit]

Towers joined Southern League Division One strugglers Gravesend & Northfleet in July 1965.[4] He spent three seasons with the club, racking up 46 goals in 77 appearances.[4] He retired from football, aged 35, at the end of the 1967/68 season.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Prior to signing for Brentford, Towers grew up a supporter of arch-rivals Fulham.[3] Towers undertook his National Service alongside George Francis in Germany with the Royal Irish Fusiliers and he represented the British Army of the Rhine team.[1] After his retirement from football, Towers worked for 25 years as a baggage handler for British Airways at London Heathrow Airport.[10][12] He was married to Betty and had three children.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Haynes, Graham; Coumbe, Frank (2006). Timeless Bees: Brentford F.C. Who's Who 1920-2006. Harefield: Yore Publications. pp. 186–188. ISBN 978-0955294914. 
  2. ^ a b The Football League. "Brentford - Football League 125". Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Lane, David (2005). Cult Bees & Legends: Volume Two. Hampton Hill: Legends Publishing. pp. 118–129. ASIN B00NPZL58S. ISBN 0954368282. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Miller, Ed (23 September 2010). "Fleet mourn Jim Towers". Ebbsfleet United F.C. Retrieved 10 November 2010. 
  5. ^ http://www.brentfordfchistory.co.uk/matchdetails.php?id=1597
  6. ^ a b c d http://www.brentfordfchistory.co.uk/player.php?id=702
  7. ^ http://www.brentfordfchistory.co.uk/player.php?id=702&season_id_page=79&season_name_page=1958-1959
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Jim Towers – R.I.P.". Aldershot Town F.C. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  9. ^ "Jim Towers". Brentford F.C. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  10. ^ a b "Jim Towers R.I.P.". Gillingham F.C. 22 September 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  11. ^ Ron Norris. "QPRnet - Top Five - Season Openers". QPRnet. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Edwin James Towers – Professional Footballer – 1954 to 1965 – R.I.P. - Independent Rs". Independent Rs. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  13. ^ "Millwall Players S to Z". Retrieved 15 November 2014.