James Cowan (footballer)

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James Cowan
Cowan with Aston Villa in 1897.
Personal information
Full name James Cowan
Date of birth (1868-10-17)17 October 1868
Place of birth Jamestown, Dunbartonshire, Scotland
Date of death 12 December 1918(1918-12-12) (aged 50)
Place of death London, England
Playing position Half back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
18??–18?? Renton
18??–1889 Vale of Leven
1889–1890 Warwickshire County
1890–1902 Aston Villa 354
National team
1896–1898 Scotland 3 (0)
Teams managed
1906–1913 Queens Park Rangers
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

James Cowan (17 October 1868 – 12 December 1918) was a Scottish football player and manager.

Born in Jamestown, Dunbartonshire, Cowan was a Scottish international half-back who played with local sides Renton and Vale of Leven before moving to England in 1888 to play for the Warwickshire County FC. The following season, he wished to pursue a professional career and joined Aston Villa and spent 14 years with the Birmingham side. When Cowan played for the club in the 1890s and early 1900s, they were the giants of the Football League. While at Villa, he won five First Division titles and two FA Cup winners medals. In all he played 354 times for Aston Villa and is considered to be one of the finest players of the Victorian era. He was renowned for his speed. On one occasion he missed a Villa match due to his attending (and winning) the illustrious 100 yard New Year Sprint event held at Powderhall. The club fined him but he still made a healthy profit due to the prize money!

After retiring from playing in 1902, he coached the young players at Villa for a few years before deciding to accept the role of manager of Queens Park Rangers in 1907. QPR had just moved to a new ground designed By Archibald Leitch at Park Royal and Cowan was the club's first official manager. In his initial season he led them to the Southern League title and held Manchester United to a fine 1-1 draw in the Charity Shield.

Four years later he led QPR to another Southern League title. Off-the-field problems however prevented him from leading the club into the Football League. Prior to the start of the 1913/14 season he offered his resignation on the grounds of ill health which the directors accepted. He died at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, in December 1918.

Managerial statistics[edit]

Nat. Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
England Queens Park Rangers 1 August 1906 31 March 1913 296 128 85 83 043.24
Total 296 128 85 83 043.24