|Full name||Walter James Rowley|
|Date of birth||14 April 1891|
|Place of birth||Little Hulton, England|
|Date of death||22 March 1976(aged 84)|
|Place of death||Shrewsbury, England|
|Little Hulton Wednesday|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Walter James Rowley (14 April 1891 – 22 March 1976) was an English footballer around World War I and a manager during and after World War II. He spent some 47 years playing and coaching in the Football League.
He played for Oldham Athletic and Bolton Wanderers, spending 13 years with the latter club. After spending many years as part of Bolton's back-room staff, he was appointed as manager in August 1944. He spent six years in charge before retiring due to ill health. He coached Middlesbrough from June 1952 to February 1954, before again stepping side due to illness. His final management role was at Shrewsbury Town from July 1955 until June 1957.
Rowley played village football before joining Oldham Athletic of the Football League First Division in 1910. The "Latics" finished seventh in 1910–11 and 18th in 1911–12 (just one place and one point above the relegation zone). He left Boundary Park and moved on to Bolton Wanderers in 1912, and made his debut against West Bromwich Albion in February 1913. The "Trotters" finished eighth in 1912–13, sixth in 1913–14, and 17th in 1914–15. During the war he played two games for Port Vale in 1919 in the war league, before returning to Burnden Park. Bolton finished sixth in 1919–20, third in 1920–21, sixth again in 1921–22, and 13th in 1922–23. Wanderers also won the FA Cup, though Rowley missed the 1923 FA Cup Final against West Ham United because he was serving a six-week suspension for being sent-off against Huddersfield Town. They went on to finished in fourth place in 1923–24 and in third place in 1924–25. He retired through injury in May 1925, and joined the club's coaching staff. He had made 191 league and FA Cup appearances for the club, scoring seven goals.
Rowley became a coach with Bolton before he took over as manager at the latter end of World War II, before the League proper started, following Charles Foweraker's retirement in August 1944. During his reign the club won the Football League North War Cup, and made First Division league finishes of 18th in 1946–47, 17th in 1947–48, 14th in 1948–49, and 16th in 1949–50. Rowley had to resign due to ill health in October 1950. He was made a life member of the club for his 37 years of service as player, coach and manager. His successor, Bill Ridding, led Bolton to eighth spot in 1950–51.
Fully recovered, he took over at Middlesbrough in 1952. He led the Ayresome Park club to 13th in the First Division in 1952–53. Ill health again forced him to resign in March 1954, and his replacement, Bob Dennison, failed to steer the club away from the relegation zone by the end of the 1953–54 campaign.
Fully fit again, Rowley returned to management at Shrewsbury Town in 1955. Under his stewardship, the "Shrews" posted 13th and ninth-place finishes in the Third Division South in 1955–56 and 1956–57. He left the game after departing the Gay Meadow.
- Sourced from Walter Rowley profile at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
|Club||Season||First Division||FA Cup||Total|
|Bolton Wanderers||1 August 1944||1 October 1950||197||64||44||89||32.49|
|Middlesbrough||1 June 1952||1 February 1954||73||22||16||35||30.14|
|Shrewsbury Town||1 July 1955||1 June 1957||97||33||32||32||34.02|
- Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 255. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.
- "Walter Rowley". spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- "Only shown are players with surnames beginning with the letter R". bwfcstats.com. Retrieved 21 December 2012.