11 December 2006

Bill Gowdy

Name: William Alexander Gowdy
Born: 24 December 1903, Belfast
Died: 16 March 1958, Larne
Height: 5.11 ½ ft
Weight: 10.11 st
Position: Wing-Half/Inside-Forward

Representative Honours: Ireland: 6 Full Caps (1931-1936); Irish League: 4 Caps (1927-1935).
Club Honours: (with Cliftonville) Irish Cup Runner-Up 1926/27; (with Linfield) Irish League Champion 1934/35; (with Goole) Yorkshire League Champion 1936/37

Club Career:
Teams
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
War-Time
Other
Duncairn Olympic
-
-
-
-
-
-
Cliftonville Olympic
-
Amateur
-
-
-
-
Cliftonville
-
-
Amateur
-
-
-
-
Highfield
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Duncairn Old Boys
-
-
-
-
-
-
N.C.C.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Cliftonville Olympic
-
Amateur
-
-
-
-
Cliftonville
-
-
Amateur
-
-
-
-
Dundalk
26/27
-
Guest
2/0
-
-
-
Ards
27/28
-
-
-
-
-
-
Brantwood
27/28
-
-
-
-
-
-
Ards
28/29
-
-
-
-
-
-
Hull City
29/30-31/32
Jun-29
-
66/1
8/0
-
-
Sheffield.Wedneday
31/32
Jan-32
-
1/0
1/0
-
-
Gateshead
32/33
-
-
4/0
-
-
-
Linfield
34/35-35/36
-
-
-
-
-
-
Hibernian
35/36
Dec-35
-
10/1
2/0
-
-
Goole Town
36/37
-
Guest
-
(Yorkshire League)
Altrincham
37/38
-
£500
-
(Cheshire County League)
Aldershot
38/39
-
-
3/0
-
-
-
Hull City
40/41
Aug-40
Guest
-
-
3/0
-
TOTALS
-
£-
86/2
11/0
3/0
-

Biography:
Bill Gowdy came to the fore with Duncairn Olympic before playing junior and intermediate football with a number of teams. He made the breakthrough to senior football with Cliftonville, appearing in their 3-2 Irish Cup Final defeat by Ards on 26 March 1927 and earning the attentions of Burnley though Cliftonville advised him against travelling for a trial. Gowdy was exceptionally fast, he was NCC Sports' quickest man over 100 and 220 yards, though was criticised as being lightweight. He was however noted as "exceedingly clever… his footwork is neat and bewildering to the opposition… has rare command over the ball and can kill a lively sphere with grace and ease."

It wasn't until he joined Irish League minnows, Ards, in the late 1920s that Gowdy attained significant recognition. It was while with the north-Down club that he made the first two of four Inter-League appearances during the 1927/28 season, and from there he gained a move to the Football League with Hull City, following a short trial, in June 1929. During his first season in England, Hull suffered relegation to Division Three (North), but a strong showing at a lower level brought Gowdy to the attentions of the Irish selectors, and he made his international debut as left-half in a 3-1 defeat by Scotland in September 1931.

The following January, Gowdy was transferred to First Division Sheffield Wednesday. His time at Hillsborough proved unhappy, and he made just two first team appearances in a year with the club - a 2-2 FA Cup 3rd Round draw with Spurs, and a 3-1 home win over Portsmouth in the League. In September 1932 he was again selected as Ireland's left-half, and once again finished on the losing side. A mid-season transfer back to Division Three (North) with Gateshead brought little more luck, and Gowdy returned to Ireland.

At Linfield, Gowdy's form recovered sufficiently to earn him a recall to the Ireland team (he added three further caps to his total while at Windsor Park, at right-half, left-half and inside-left), two further Irish League appearances, and an Irish League title. In December 1935 Gowdy was back across the Irish Sea again, signing with Hibernian, where he was to win his sixth and final Ireland cap.

Much of the 1936/37 season saw Gowdy turning out for non-League Goole whilst he was on the Hibs transfer list. During this time he captained the club to the Yorkshire League title, before Hibernian received a satisfactory bid for his services. The surprising source of the £500 offer were another non-League club, Altrincham. Gowdy stayed just one season at Moss Lane, before having another brief spell back in the Football League with Aldershot.

Gowdy was described as "... a bundle of restless activity. Preferred the ball on the ground and endeavoured to keep it there; daring in method and inclined to rove."

Ireland Cap Details:
19/09/1931 Scotland A L 1-3 BC
17/09/1932 Scotland H L 0-4 BC
20/10/1934 Scotland H W 2-1 BC
06/02/1935 England. A L 1-2 BC
27/03/1935 Wales... A L 1-3 BC
11/03/1936 Wales... H W 3-2 BC

Summary: 6/0. Won 2, Drew 0, Lost 4.


With thanks to Terry Rowley for supplying the following information:

Bill Gowdy as appeared for Hull City during the 1940/41 season 3 games as a guest player in North Regional League.
Halifax Aug 31st 1940 H 4-2 (played at right back)
Bradford PA Sept 21st H 2-1 (right half)
York City Sept 28th H 1-3 (right half)

Thanks also to Jim Murphy.

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