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A-Z of West Midlands Football

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: May 27, 2014

  • Arthur Rowley

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JOE ROULSON scored four goals from the right-half position in 125 first-class appearances for Birmingham between August 1912 and April 1923.

A Yorkshireman, born in Sheffield in 1890, he was a steel worker before turning professional at St Andrew's and after leaving Blues he joined Swansea Town, later assisting Clapton Orient before retiring through injury at the age of 36. He died circa 1960.

STEVE ROUND, born in Dudley in February 1963, made 22 of his 28 League and Cup appearances for Walsall as a substitute forward, scoring a total of four goals. He joined the Saddlers in 1980 and left Fellows Park in 1983, entering local non-League football.

FRED ROUSE was a bruising centre-forward, rough and ready, who certainly put himself about!

Born in Cranford, Middlesex in November 1882, he played initially for High Wycombe, Wycombe Wanderers, Shepherd's Bush FC (London), QPR, Grimsby Town, Stoke, Everton and Chelsea (being the London club's first £1,000 signing) before joining West Bromwich Albion for £250 in May 1909.

He netted 11 goals in 42 appearances for the Baggies before transferring to Croydon Common in September 1910. Later with Brentford and Slough Town he retired in May 1915. Fred became a licensee in Buckinghamshire where he died in 1953 after a short illness.

NORMAN ROWE, who still lives in the Black Country, was born in nearby Halesowen in March 1940 and was on Aston Villa's books as an amateur before joining Walsall in March 1959.

He remained with the Saddlers for two full seasons before leaving Fellows Park in May 1962 and entering non-League football. A winger with good pace, Norman made just six League and two FA Cup appearances for Walsall, both against Fulham in January 1962 when the Saddlers lost 2-0 at home in a 4th round replay after drawing 2-2 at Craven Cottage. Norman helped Walsall gain promotion to the Second Division as runners-up in 1960-61.

GARY ROWETT scored 11 goals in 103 first-class appearances for Birmingham City, whom he served as a defender for two full seasons, from August 1998 until July 2000.

Born in Bromsgrove in March 1974, he played his early football with Cambridge United and after spells with Everton, Blackpool on loan and Derby County, he joined Blues for £1 million. A sterling performer with a good technique, Gary left St Andrew's for Leicester City in a £3m+ deal and later assisted Charlton Athletic, being signed for £3.5m in 2002 by ex-Blues midfielder Alan Curbishley.

He joined Burton Albion as a player in 2005 and is now manager of the same Staffordshire club, a position he has held since March 2012 when he replaced another former Birmingham City and WBA player, Paul Peschisolido.

ARTHUR ROWLEY holds the record for scoring most goals in the Football League during his career. Between 1946 and his retirement in 1965, he netted a total of 434 while serving with West Bromwich Albion, Fulham, Leicester City and Shrewsbury Town.

Born in Wolverhampton in April 1925, he was on Wolves' books and had a trial with Manchester United during the first part of World War Two, before joining Albion as an amateur in March 1944, turning professional soon afterwards.

Before the end of the War he turned out as a guest player for Middlesbrough, Brighton & Hove Albion, Lincoln City, his former club Wolves and also for Manchester United.

He scored just 15 goals in 41 appearances for the Baggies who allowed him to leave The Hawthorns for Fulham in December 1948 in an exchange deal involving Ernie Shepherd. And by coincidence, both Albion and Fulham gained promotion from the Second Division that season (1948-49).

From Craven Cottage Arthur joined Leicester City where he played his best football, claiming 251 of his League goals with the Foxes (in 303 games). He helped City win promotion to the First Division in 1954 and after leaving Filbert Street did likewise with Shrewsbury Town, who rose from the Fourth Division into the Third.

He was leading scorer in Division Two in 1952-53 and topped the entire FL charts in 1956-57 and again in 1958-59.

Indeed, his total of 44 in 1956-57 is still a record for most scored in one season. He also beat the great Dixie Dean's record of scoring 20 or more League goals ten seasons running.

Arthur played for England 'B' and represented the Football League – and one feels that if he'd been with a high profile club (perhaps in London) he won surely have gained full international honours.

After retiring Arthur stayed on to manage Shrewsbury and later took charge of Sheffield United, Southend United, Knighton Town and Oswestry Town and was assistant-boss of Telford United. Arthur died in Shrewsbury in December 2002, aged 77.

I wonder how Manchester United, Wolves and certainly Albion allowed him to leave?

JACK ROWLEY, brother of Arthur (above), played as a guest for Wolves, Distillery (Ireland), Tottenham Hotspur and Walsall during the Second World War, scoring eight goals in one Regional game for Wolves against Derby County in November 1942.

Born in Wolverhampton in 1920, Jack also assisted Bournemouth and Cradley Heath and joined Manchester United in 1937 for £3,500. he went on to net 20 goals in 422 games over a period of 18 years, during which time he won two League Championship medals, won the FA Cup (in 1948), played six times for England at senior level, once for the 'B' team and he also starred for the Football League.

After leaving Old Trafford Jack served as player-manager of Plymouth Argyle and later guided Oldham Athletic to the Fourth Division title, bossed Ajax of Amsterdam and also took charge of Wrexham. Jack died in Shaw near Oldham in June 1998.

By coincidence, Arthur and Jack both reached the milestone of 200 League goals on the same day, 22 October 1955 – Arthur for Leicester City against his previous club Fulham and Jack for Plymouth versus Burnley.

* Between them brothers Arthur and Jack Rowley scored a grand total of 722 goals in 1,240 club games at various levels. Some record!

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