John Bowman (footballer)

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John Bowman
Personal information
Full name John William Bowman
Date of birth (1879-04-23)23 April 1879
Place of birth Middlesbrough, England
Date of death 26 January 1943(1943-01-26) (aged 63)
Place of death Sudbury, Middlesex, England
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing position Defender
Youth career
Shelton Juniors
Hanley St. Jude's
Burslem Park
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1899 Burslem Port Vale 0 (0)
1899–1900 Stoke 4 (0)
1901–1905 Queens Park Rangers 103 (2)
1905 Norwich City 7 (1)
Total 114 (3)
Teams managed
1905–1907 Norwich City
1912–1916 Croydon Common
1930–1931 Queens Park Rangers
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

John William Bowman (23 April 1879 – 26 January 1943) was an English football player and manager.

He played one cup game for Burslem Port Vale in 1899, having previously appeared for a number of nearby amateur sides. He then spent two seasons with Stoke, playing four games in the Football League, before he joined Queens Park Rangers in 1901. In four years with QPR he played more than 100 matches, before he was selected to serve Norwich City as manager. He stepped down in 1907, returning to the game in 1912 for a four-year stint as Croydon Common manager. He then returned to QPR as a director, though briefly took the managerial reins in 1931.

Playing career[edit]

Bowman moved to Staffordshire at a young age and started with Shelton Juniors before moving on to Hanley St. Jude's and Burslem Park, before joining Burslem Port Vale of the Second Division in February 1899. He played at left-half in a 1–1 draw with Walsall in a Birmingham Senior Cup semi-final match on 13 March 1899, but was not selected again.[1] After being released at the end of the season he moved on to their local rivals Stoke. He played two First Division for the "Potters" in both 1899–1900 and 1900–01, before he signed for Queens Park Rangers in June 1901, playing as centre half. At this time he weighed 11 st 7 lb (73 kg) and was 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m) tall. He went on to play 103 league games for the Southern League club, scoring two goals.

In addition to playing football, Bowman was also a renowned athlete (a strong runner and swimmer) and was a teetotaller and non-smoker.

Management career[edit]

Bowman was Norwich City's first-ever manager, and was in charge for 78 matches between 1905 and 1907, winning 31, losing 24 and drawing 23 games.[2] He also played several matches for the club.

Bowman is also the first person recorded as referring to the club as "the Canaries". The reference comes in an interview recorded in the Eastern Daily Press with the newly appointed manager in April 1905. The paper quotes him saying "Well I knew of the City's existence... I have... heard of the canaries."[3] Norwich City historian Eastwood notes:[3]

This as far as we can tell is the first time that the popular pastime of the day ie... rearing... canaries was linked with Norwich City FC... the club still played in blue and white, and would continue to do so for another two seasons."

After leaving City he took up the position as manager of Croydon Common before returning to old club QPR as a director and later as team manager. Appointed in May 1930, he had to retire due to ill health in November 1931. Bowman remained in the North West London area and ran a sports shop at 7 Park Parade, Harlesden with branches in Wembley and Marylebone.


Playing statistics[edit]

  • Sourced from John Bowman profile at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
Club Season Division League FA Cup Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Burslem Port Vale 1898–99 Second Division 0 0 0 0 0 0
Stoke 1899–1900 First Division 2 0 0 0 2 0
1900–01 First Division 2 0 0 0 2 0
Total 4 0 0 0 4 0

Managerial statistics[edit]

  • Sourced from John Bowman profile at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
P W D L Win %
Queens Park Rangers 31 May 1930 1 November 1931 58 23 9 26 39.7


  1. ^ Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 39. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0. 
  2. ^ "Manager History for Norwich City". Eastern Daily Press. Archived from the original on 12 December 2004. Retrieved 21 March 2007. 
  3. ^ a b Eastwood. Canary Citizens. p. 24. 

External links[edit]