2 August 2006

Gerry Bowler

A player who took his time to find his feet in English football, after unspectacular spells with Portsmouth and Hull City, Gerry Bowler developed into a Millwall legend...

Name: Gerard Columba Bowler
Born: 8 June 1919, Londonderry
Died: 28 March 2006, Crawley (England)

Height: 6.00 ft
Weight: 12.00 st
Position: Right-Back/Right-Half

Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 3 Full Caps (1949-1950); Irish FA Representative (North American Tour 1953); Regional “War-Time” League: 4 Caps.
Club Honours: (with Distillery) Irish Cup Runner-Up 1945/46; Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1945/46; (with Millwall) Football League Division Three (South) Runner-Up 1952/53.

Club Career:
Clubs
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
Other
Derry Municipal College
-
-
-
-
-
Derry City
-
-
-
-
-
-
Distillery
42/43-45/46
Apr-43
-
*122/1
-
-
Portsmouth
45/46-48/49
c/s-46
-
8/0
1/0
-
Hull City
49/50
c/s-49
-
38/0
4/0
-
Millwall
50/51-54/55
c/s-50
-
165/0
15/0
-
APV Co.
-
-
-
(Sussex County League)
TOTALS
£-
333/1
20/0
-
* all games

Biography:
Gerry Bowler began his senior footballing career with Derry City immediately prior to World War Two, having previously turned out for Derry Municipal Training College.

On 24th April 1943 he was signed by Distillery, in an Irish League record £1,000 deal , where he played 122 first-team games, scoring just once (a penalty against Cliftonville in 1946). At Distillery Bowler played in the 1946 Irish Cup Final, losing out 3-0 to Linfield, and the same season picked up a Co. Antrim Shield winner's medal (defeating Bangor Reserves 3-0 in a replayed final).

In the summer of 1946 Bowler was signed by Portsmouth (at the time one of the top teams in the Football League), but made just eight League appearances in three seasons, missing out on a championship medal in 1948/49 and his desire to return home was well reported.

Signed by Hull City for the 1949/50 season, Bowler made 38 Division Two appearances, and found his way into the Irish squad. That season he played in all three Home Nations/World Cup Qualification matches. Normally a centre-half, all three of his international appearances were made in unfamiliar positions - two at right-back, and one at right-half.

In 1950 Bowler moved on again, signing for Division Three (South), Millwall. He helped the club to runners-up position in 1952/53, but in those days that was not good enough for promotion. Although he never added to his collection of international caps, Bowler was a member of the Irish FA's touring party to North America in the summer of 1953.

After 165 League appearances for the Lions, Gerry Bowler was forced to retire due to injury in 1955, although he did continue to turn out as player-manager for his work team, the Crawley based APV Chemical Company, until the 1962/63 season.
Having settled in the south of England, Bowler passed away in Crawley in March 2006.

Northern Ireland Cap Details:

01/10/1949 Scotland H L 2-8 WCQ/BC
06/11/1949 England. A L 2-9 WCQ/BC
08/03/1950 Wales... A D 0-0 WCQ/BC

Summary: 3/0. Won 0, Drew 1, Lost 2.

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