John Fowler (footballer, born 1933)

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John Fowler
Personal information
Full name John Fowler
Date of birth (1933-10-17)17 October 1933
Place of birth Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland
Date of death 28 March 1976(1976-03-28) (aged 42)
Playing position Fullback
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
?–1955 Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic ? (?)
1955–1966 Colchester United 442 (5)
Heybridge Swifts
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

John Fowler (17 October 1933 – 28 March 1976) was a Scottish professional footballer, who played for Colchester United.


Fowler was born in Leith. In his early days he played for junior side Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic, during which time he played for a Scotland amateur team against England at Middlesbrough.

Fowler was one of three players brought down from Scotland to Colchester United,[1] along with Sammy McLeod[2] and Bobby Hill[3] from Easthouses Lily, by manager Benny Fenton in 1955. Astute purchases, all three gave lengthy service to the club. Fowler made his debut along with Hill on 20 August 1955 in a goalless draw away to Exeter City. Initially an inside left, he switched to left back later that season.[4]

In thirteen seasons at Layer Road Fowler made 442 appearances, including one as substitute, 21 FA Cup matches and 7 League Cup matches and scored five goals. Fowler still holds sixth place in Colchester's all-time list of long serving players and fifth on the League appearances list and made the number 3 shirt his own for the majority of his career, being an integral part of the promotion sides of 1962 and 1966.

Between 1956–1963 Fowler missed only eight matches, becoming known as "Mr Reliable". He was an ever-present during the 1957–58, 1959–60, 1961–62 and 1962–63 seasons and only missed one game during 1960–61.

Although he left the club at the end of the 1965–66 season, Fowler returned briefly for three games during 1967–68, his final appearance occurring on 13 November 1967 at home to Barrow.

Retirement and death[edit]

After leaving Colchester United, Fowlern became player-manager at Heybridge Swifts. He then moved on to Eastern Gas and finally onto Severalls Athletic where he helped to win the East Essex League Knockout Cup against Stanway. He was also a regular member of Peter Wright's Ex-Colchester United XI.[citation needed]

Playing against Layer Fox, Fowler collapsed and died, aged 42. Leaving behind his wife Shirley , Son Scott and a daughter Karen .[citation needed]

John Fowler Memorial Cup[edit]

This is played for each season by teams in the Colchester & District Sunday League. Fowler's son, Scott, won the cup in the 1994-95 season. The cup has since been renamed The Fowler Memorial cup in memory of John and Scott, who has also died.[5]



Colchester United[6]


  1. ^ Colchester United History: The 50s Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Sammy McLeod at Colchester United Archive Database
  3. ^ Bobby Hill at Colchester United Archive Database
  4. ^ John Fowler at Colchester United Archive Database
  5. ^ John Fowler Memorial Cup
  6. ^ "Tier Four Honours".

External links[edit]