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Opinion

Last of the ‘Busby Babes’…

2 months ago
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At Manchester United he was nicknamed “Bamber” after University Challenge’s Bamber Gascoigne, due to studying for his University degree in Economics.

He was also one of the last discoveries during the Matt Busby era and scored on his debut for the Reds.

Alan Gowling was quite versatile and played in midfield or as a forward. He once scored four in a game for Man Utd and made his last appearance for them by coming on as a substitute for Bobby Charlton.

After a spell at Huddersfield Town, Alan Gowling became one of Gordon Lee’s “New Kids on the Block” as it were.

Everyone on the terraces knew that Lee disliked club hero Malcolm Macdonald, and Supermac’s new side-kick Gowling didn’t initially hit it off with the fans, due to being a Lee acquisition.

However, Alan Gowling was made of sterner stuff.

In 1975/76 he became Newcastle’s top scorer with 30 goals (Supermac also chipped in with an impressive 24 goals in his final season at the club).

Newcastle also reached their only ever League Cup final (on my birthday), and put in a spirited performance before going down 2-1 at Wembley to Tony Book’s talented Manchester City and a Dennis Tueart overhead kick.

In the run-up to the game, the Newcastle United squad had been ravaged by illness and injury. The Macdonald / Gowling double act conjured up our only goal – Alan sticking the ball past big Joe Corrigan.

After Macdonald’s departure to Arsenal, Newcastle finished fifth in the First Division in 1976/77, qualifying for the UEFA Cup.

Micky Burns was NUFC top scorer with 17 goals, followed by my big pal Paul Cannell who bagged 13.

Alan Gowling had began playing in slightly deeper positions, but scored a decent total of 12, as the goals were spread out a little bit more.

One of Alan’s nicknames on the terraces was the “Galloping Chip” but he did his bit before leaving for Bolton Wanderers in 1978.

Now aged 72, after his retirement from football, Alan Gowling became a General Manager for a chemicals company in Buxton, Derbyshire.

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