Bradford Park Avenue 1967-70: Part One – The Jack Rowley era by Ian Brown

  1. Introduction

I started following Avenue during the 1967/68 season when I got into football in a big way. Born & brought up in Southampton, I naturally supported the Saints, as did all my schoolmates. 1 of them suggested we should each support a Scottish team, so having just read in the football annual I’d got for Christmas about Berwick Rangers beating Glasgow Rangers in the Scottish Cup, I chose them & they remain my “Scottish” team to this day [I failed my Geography O level].

I then suggested that we should have a team at the wrong end of the Football League to support. The idea didn’t catch on but I followed Avenue – I first became intrigued by their name when I got some of those league ladders free in a comic & wondered what “P.A.” meant, not easy to find out in those pre-Google days.  Anyway, I followed them as best I could, mainly through reading “Soccer Star”, though once Avenue dropped out of the league and “Soccer Star” ceased publication at about the same time, information was scarce. Sadly I never saw a game at Park Avenue, money was tight & I’d only been to the Dell a couple of times.

My interest was reawakened in the 1980s – by now living in Northampton – when Graham Carr became manager of the Cobblers. After their promotion season of 1986/87 I read an article in which he recalled being on holiday in Cornwall with Terry Dolan when they discovered that Avenue hadn’t been re-elected. I thought it’d be a good idea one day to write about Avenue’s final season in the league when Carr won the player of the year award.

I discovered the British Newspaper Library, then at Colindale, where I spent some time poring over old copies of the Telegraph & Argus. 30 years & a lot of research later & I’ve finally got round to writing something down – although I decided to extend my ramblings to cover 1967 – 1970.

This is intended to be the first of 2 articles about Avenue’s last 3 seasons in the Football League. It isn’t a history of the club which has been [& is being] written about better elsewhere.

But to set the scene for those last 3 unsuccessful seasons, it’s worth looking back as far as 1960/61. At the beginning of that season Walter Galbraith, a Scot, was the manager & he’d assembled a successful side which included several Scottish players. He departed in mid-season to take over at Tranmere Rovers, leaving Avenue in a strong position, 4th in the Division 4 table.

Enter another Scot, Jimmy Scoular, appointed as player/manager, who finished what Galbraith had started. Avenue ended the season in 4th place, 9 points clear of 5th placed York City, & they were promoted along with Peterborough United, Crystal Palace & Northampton Town. Northampton’s top scorer with 22 goals in 33 appearances was a young North-easterner named Laurie Brown, of whom more in Part 2. For Avenue, Jock Buchanan top scored with 21 goals from 42 games.

1961/62 saw Avenue finish a respectable 11th in Division 3; top scorer this time was Tommy Spratt with 22 goals from 44 games.  But in 1962/63 they finished 21st – level on points with 20th placed Reading, but with a much inferior goal difference, scoring 79, but conceding 97 & they were relegated. This time the leading scorer with 19 was young striker Kevin Hector who’d been given his debut in August 1962, aged 17.

Back to Division 4 in 1963/64 & Hector top scored again with 17 out of 75 – but 81 were conceded this time around, leading to a disappointing 13th place finish.  One of the season’s highlights was a 7-3 home win over Bradford City in the 1st round of the League Cup. Scoular was dismissed in May 1964 & Jock Buchanan took over.

1964/65 saw Avenue much improved defensively, conceding 62 but scoring 86. The ever present Hector led the way with 29, with strong support from Jim Fryatt with 16 & Ronnie Bird with 15. The side finished 7th, only 4 points off a promotion place.

In 1965/66, Kevin Hector scored an amazing 44 goals in 46 league games, with Bobby Ham weighing in with 24 in 45. In total, Avenue scored 102 goals, more than any other team in the entire Football League except for Hull City, who scored 109 as champions of the Third Division. But the defensive frailties had returned – 92 goals conceded resulted in a disappointing 11th place finish.

Incredibly, Hector was still with Avenue at the start of 1966/67 – but 6 goals in as many games, 4 in the league & 2 in the League Cup saw him move to Derby County in September 1966 for a reported record fee of £34,000.  Peter Deakin, a £4000 buy from Peterborough & Bobby Waddell, £8000 from Blackpool were signed as replacements but neither came near to Hector’s goalscoring achievements.  As has been said many times, 1 player doesn’t make a team – but the loss of Hector really was a blow from which Avenue never recovered.

From a league position of 2nd in mid-September, Avenue slumped into the bottom 4 after Christmas – & stayed there. Against a background of shareholder unrest & talk of a merger with neighbours City, team manager Buchanan & Walter Galbraith, who’d returned as general manager both resigned in March 1967. Within a day, 50 applications had been received for the manager’s job, including 1 from a 15 year old boy, who said he “wasn’t kidding”!  But the board knew who they wanted & 2 weeks later, they announced that Wrexham boss Jack Rowley would be their next manager.

  1. Jack Rowley

46 year old Wolverhampton born Jack Rowley arrived with a good reputation. As a centre forward with Bournemouth, Manchester United, Plymouth Argyle & England he’d scored more than 200 goals.  As a manager he’d got Plymouth promoted to Division 2 in 1958/59 & Oldham Athletic to Division 3 in 1962/63. However, he’d been sacked by both clubs, in both cases after declining their requests that he should resign. His sacking at Plymouth was perhaps not unexpected, as they were close to the foot of Division 2 at the time – but the final announcement of his sacking at Oldham was made at virtually the same time that their promotion was confirmed!

He spent 1963/64 coaching at Ajax in Holland before returning to England. Wrexham, then struggling in Division 4, appointed him as their manager in January 1966 on a 2.5 year contract.  At the time he said “I am a strong one for discipline…I expect nothing less than 100% effort….I regard my appointment as a challenge…I did not want a job where I would have to be a yes-man. I shall be in sole charge of the playing side & the directors have told me there will be no interference.”  He went on to comment “I still don’t know why Plymouth & Oldham sacked me. Maybe it’s because I’m a straight-talker & there was a clash of personalities”

There was an improvement in Wrexham’s performances following Rowley’s appointment. Ron Chaloner in the Wrexham Leader attributed this to “the fact that Mr Rowley has the priceless asset of being able to get the best out of his men. He is a psychologist with the human touch….He is respected & liked by the players, who describe him as ‘firm but fair’….”

Rowley himself said that a manager “must treat players as individuals & with respect for their dignity.”  Of his sacking from Oldham he said “I believe it was because I disciplined certain players who were friends of some directors. There was a split on the board & the vote went against me”

He wasn’t able to halt Wrexham’s slide & they finished at the foot of the table in 1965/66, but in the following season he brought in several new faces & turned things around. They briefly topped the table in October 1966 & by March 1967 were in 8th place, with an outside chance of promotion.

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Rowley’s assistant at Wrexham, Ken Roberts joined him at Avenue. The Wrexham Leader commented:

“Both have landed 3 year contracts at terms probably as good as any outside the 1st Division. Mr Rowley is understood to be getting £3000 a year with a house & car. Mr Roberts, who will be trainer-coach, will be getting a ‘fantastic’ salary – believed to be about twice as much as he was being paid at Wrexham”.

Wrexham chairman Bill Evans said “We tried our best to keep Mr Rowley, but we could not match the terms Bradford offered”. Rowley himself told it rather differently & perhaps mindful of his earlier dismissals, commented “Wrexham did not offer an increase to keep me & I must look to the future & think about my career”.  The comment about him getting a house appears inaccurate since he’d run a newsagents in Shaw for some years, where he continued to live during his time at Avenue.

Following his appointment, Dick Williamson wrote a glowing appraisal in Yorkshire Sports describing Rowley as “much of a modern Midas of the game, since well-nigh everything he has touched, as both player & manager, turns to goal(s), literally & metaphorically…..he is a forceful character who is nobody’s ‘yes-man’. Either he manages with a free hand or he won’t manage at all…..Wherever he has been it has been success all along the line. If the pattern is repeated in Bradford, Avenue stock will soar – & even the tiresome bleatings of the amalgamationists will die a more or less natural death.”

In the same publication Stanley Pearson sounded a note of caution: “The job is one of the most difficult any man could face in English football today. Gates are down, club spirit is not high; & the season long bickering between rival factions has only just subsided…The task facing Mr Rowley…is gigantic.”

For his first game in charge, at home to Newport County on 8 April 1967, Rowley switched formation from 4-3-3 to 4-2-4, omitting Findlay McGillivray, previously ever-present at right-back in favour of part-timer Trevor Peel, a Chemistry student newly arrived from Huddersfield Town. He also left out the season’s priciest player, Bobby Waddell.  Clearly the Avenue support weren’t as enthused by the new manager’s arrival as Dick Williamson had been. In front of a crowd of 2724, the lowest of the season, Avenue ran out 3-1 winners.  3 days later, the same team beat Lincoln City 2-1 at home, by which time the crowd had increased to 3713.

3 draws followed, 1-1 at Brentford, 0-0 at home to Luton Town & 2-2 away at Lincoln, where the Telegraph & Argus reported that Avenue could justifiably claim to have been robbed of victory by an offside decision. As against that, the 2-0 defeat at Hartlepools United on 29th April was described as “a lethargic end of season display”. In fact, there were 2 more games to play, both ending in draws, 2-2 at home to Exeter City including a goal from debutant Richard Sumpner, & 0-0 away to Halifax Town.

Stanley Pearson in Yorkshire Sports on 22nd April commented on the new Rowley-Roberts regime “what a change they have brought with them. Before….there was more of a ’family’ type of atmosphere about the place. Now it is as hectic as a stockbroker’s office on market day. Obviously these 2 make up a perfect pair….Each knows the other’s mind on soccer matters to such an extent that one can speak for the other if necessary…. Working out who does what between these 2 would make an exercise for anyone studying psychology…..Rowley appears to be the management ‘thinker’ with Roberts the human dynamo who buzzes between the administrative scene, the field & the outside world…..One leading member of the side said ‘You wouldn’t believe the difference in the dressing room now. Everyone is so keyed up & keen’…

Rowley’s record was therefore played 8, won 2, drawn 5, lost 1.  Avenue finished 23rd, on 35 points, 4 points ahead of bottom club Lincoln.  Bobby Ham top scored with 16, but no-one else managed double figures. Peter Deakin & Bobby Waddell managed 13 goals between them in a total of 59 league & cup appearances. The total scored in the league was a miserly 52, with 79 conceded.

At the Football League annual meeting on 3rd June, Avenue were re-elected to the league with 41 votes, together with Lincoln City [46], York City [45] & Rochdale [38].  Of the non-leaguers applying, Romford & Wigan Athletic fared best, with 5 votes each.

There were surprises amongst the 8 names on the free transfer list – they included experienced Republic of Ireland international & club captain Mick McGrath, the £8000 man Waddell, Findlay McGillivray & Peter Madden. Also released was Ken Taylor, who wished to concentrate on his other sporting career as a Yorkshire cricketer. The departing players had more than 1,000 senior games experience – McGrath, Madden & Taylor accounting for some 950 of them.

It was reported that Rowley wanted all of the players to be on a similar wage next season & so some of those re-signed would be taking a small cut in wages. One new signing had already been announced, Hull-born midfielder Alan Turner on a free transfer from Shrewsbury Town, who were managed by Arthur Rowley, brother of Jack. Defender Bill Barnes, who had played as a part-timer in 66/67 was offered & accepted full-time terms.

 

  1. 1967/68

2 more signings were announced in early July, both former Welsh amateur internationals from Rowley’s old club Wrexham. Geoff Lloyd, a 24 year old centre forward & winger Ian Hughes, 20. Hughes would play part-time whilst completing a physical education teacher training course at a college near Stoke.

Next up was Peter McBride, a 20 year old Scottish wing-half who after leaving school had spent 4 years at Manchester United without making a first team appearance.  He was another free transfer, this time from Southport, for whom he’d only made 3 appearances, 2 as substitute in his single season there.

Centre half Trevor Burgin & goalkeeper David Walters were both signed as amateurs from Wombwell, with Burgin soon making the step up to professional.  They were quickly joined by John Clancy [18], a winger who’d been with Spurs & Bristol City without making the first team; he was signed on an initial 3 month trial which was soon made permanent.  John Sykes [16] from Almondbury, John McTigue [15] St Bede’s & Bradford schoolboy, Gordon Town [15] from Bingley, Ken Spiby [16] from Bolton-on-Dearne & Max Taylor a 15 year old from Holmfirth were all signed as apprentices.

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Avenue faced Mick McGrath’s Bangor City in a pre-season friendly on 6th August, a Phil Robinson goal earning them a draw in a game in which they were “a shade the better side” in Stanley Pearson’s view. He thought Alan Turner the most impressive of the newcomers.

In contrast to the players freed in May, between them, the new signings had played fewer than 50 league games.  In search of experience, Rowley didn’t have to look far – Baildon based wing-half Peter Dinsdale, a 28 year old who’d made more than 200 appearances for his only previous club, Huddersfield Town. Dinsdale had recently been transferred to Vancouver Whitecaps, managed by Bobby Robson. He was due to emigrate to Canada with his family in January 1968 for the start of the new US league season & it suited all parties for him to be loaned to Avenue in the meantime. He signed on 8th August & Rowley announced that he would be his new team captain.

The following day Dinsdale made his debut at home in the second pre-season friendly. This time Arthur Rowley’s Shrewsbury Town were the visitors, with young trialist David Lawson in their goal. Shrewsbury ran out winners in a high scoring game, 4-5 after being 0-3 up at half-time.  For Avenue the goals came from Peter Deakin [2 – 1 a penalty], Phil Robinson again & Ian Hughes. Perhaps not surprisingly, Stanley Pearson’s headline was “Avenue’s defence must be tightened”.

In the 3rd & final pre-season friendly, Avenue, without Barnes, Ham & Lloyd through injury, travelled to face Midland Counties League champions Gainsborough Trinity, who beat them 3-0. Stanley Pearson reported a lack of method in midfield & “something missing in Avenue’s play & their too square defence needs tightening”.  Warning signs for the season to come.

Just days before the start of the season it was reported that Mansfield Town had approached Jack Rowley to be their manager, but that he had turned them down.  Out of the blue, the Welsh FA announced that Geoff Lloyd had been fined 10 guineas & suspended for a week because of comments made whilst watching his old team Llangollen in a Welsh amateur game the previous season. With Ham injured, midfielder Alan Turner wore the number 9 jersey for the opening game at Swansea Town. Other newcomers McBride, Dinsdale, Hughes & Clancy were also selected.

The game finished 1-1 with Turner scoring a late equaliser. Avenue were overrun in the first half – but at their best in the second, when the injured Dinsdale was replaced by Geoff Gould. The unfortunate Dinsdale was ruled out for several weeks with a groin injury.

A midweek League Cup match at Halifax Town followed. Ham was fit again & replaced Turner, with Bill Barnes coming in for Dinsdale at centre-half. Turner dropped to the bench in place of Gould who’d suffered a back injury. Stanley Pearson commented that Avenue were “second best in every aspect of the game” & “their defence…is not good enough”.

Following a youth match, Avenue announced the signings of forward Colin Penrose [17] & full-backs Garry White [17] & Gary Halliday [16] as amateurs. Also signing on amateur forms on a month’s trial was centre forward Trevor Codd, recently released by Scunthorpe.

For the first home game of the season against Hartlepools United, the axe fell on Paul I’Anson & Peter Deakin, who were replaced by Turner & Lloyd.  But Avenue went down 0-1 with Pearson contrasting the fact that United had “generals” in attack & defence – ex-Avenue man Albert Broadbent & John Gill respectively, whilst Avenue were aimless.

On 30th August came the surprise announcement that Peter Deakin’s contract had been cancelled. There was more surprise expressed when he later re-signed for his old club, Peterborough. On 1st September, a new trainer was appointed, Terry Oldfield, who had been at Wrexham with Rowley & Roberts.

For the next game at Newport County, Rowley switched winger Phil Robinson to right back & introduced John Rowley – his son, signed on amateur forms – at left back. Despite this, & some positional changes, County ran out 4-0 winners. Just 2 days later, Avenue drew 1-1 at home with Barnsley, with Lloyd off the mark. That scoreline was repeated in the 2 following games, home to York City [Turner] & away at Rochdale [Ham].

Off the field, Dinsdale was back in light training, but Gould was expected to be out for about 6 weeks with his back injury.  Director Leon Jackson resigned for personal reasons, after 5 years on the board & chief scout Arthur Lunn also resigned, citing commitments at his hotel business in North Wales – though he later reversed this decision. Goalkeeper Pat Liney moved across to Bradford City for a reported fee of £2500.  Wolves reserve full back Glen Andrews, a former Manchester United trainee with no first team experience signed for Avenue for a small fee.

In Yorkshire Sports, Stanley Pearson was critical of the Avenue wing halves, reiterating his view that the bite & experience provided by Mick McGrath was sadly missing. He was impressed by Alan Turner though, who he felt looked better than 4th Division material.

On 23rd September, a goal by Geoff Lloyd gave Bradford, for whom Andrews made his debut, their first win of the season at home to Brentford. The same side travelled to Barnsley the following Tuesday, but lost 2-0, with keeper John Hardie the hardest worked player on the field according to Pearson. Half back I’Anson, who had played only 4 games, asked for & was granted a transfer.  Avenue signed 20 year old half back Graham Tanner from Bristol City – another player with no league experience. In an unpopular move, the price of Avenue’s programme was doubled from 6d [2.5p] to 1s [5p]!

Avenue then signed a player with some league games under his belt – 24 year old Derek Draper cost around £4000 from Derby County & had previously played for Swansea Town & Wales at Under-23 level. He went straight into the team for the visit of Bradford City – but City won 1-2, with Robinson scoring Avenue’s goal.

Jack Rowley’s son John, after 8 games as an amateur, was signed on part-time professional forms, keeping his day job as an electrician. 2 new directors joined the board – dairy manager George Sutcliffe & restaurateur James Burkinshaw. Then came a new centre forward David “Dickie” Down, a 19 year old from Bristol City, who signed in time for a Monday night debut at Southend. Ham scored Avenue’s goal in a 2-1 defeat, which saw Dinsdale back in the side after his injury.

The following Saturday, Down limped off during the first half of a goal-less draw at Notts County. He was replaced by Peter McBride, making his final appearance being freed to join Morecambe. Next up Port Vale at home, with Graham Tanner making his debut. It finished another draw, 2-2 with goals from Ham & Turner from the penalty spot – the first time Avenue had scored more than 1 goal in a game this season.  Tanner made an early impression on Stanley Pearson, who said “he looked an accomplished performer in everything he did”

A 3rd consecutive draw followed away at Chester, 0-0 this time. 2 days later at home to Southend, Avenue undeservedly went down 0-1, with Turner subsequently injured. Pearson wrote that despite the spending of some £10,000 on Down & Draper, the attack “completely lacks punch or zip”. He questioned why one of the most skilful forwards, Geoff Gould was overlooked. The final game of October at home to Chesterfield brought a 2nd win of the season 2-1, Lloyd & Robinson scoring. The first half performance impressed Pearson – “quite breath-taking” with Hardie, Tanner, Lightowler & Draper the stand-out performers.

Winger Ian Hughes suffered a recurrence of a knee injury & was to see a specialist. Transfer-listed Richard Sumpner was loaned to Frickley Colliery for an indefinite period. Geoff Gould requested & was granted a transfer. Goalkeeper David Lawson was signed from Shrewsbury Town on a 2 month trial, later extended by a further month before being made permanent.

On 3rd November, Avenue were at their overnight stop in Bridgwater when they heard that next day’s game at Exeter City had been called off. Wasted costs were said to be around £200 for hotel bills, meals & travel.  Most of the first team were selected for a reserve game against City at Valley Parade the following Wednesday. Secretary George Brigg announced that OAPs would be admitted to the end stand for 3 shillings [15p] in league matches.

Phil Robinson gave Avenue a half-time lead at home to Darlington after a bright display, but the game ended in a 1-2 defeat. The following Monday, the lowest home crowd of the season, 2991, saw a 0-2 victory for Newport County. Many supporters walked out before the end & of those who remained, a large group gathered under the directors’ box chanting “we want our money back” & “we’re off to City” afterwards. Stanley Pearson commented “The most striking thing was the blanket of silence which covered the 90 minutes. There wasn’t a scrap of atmosphere…” In Yorkshire Sports, Pearson wondered for how long Rowley could continue to pick the same team, despite poor results.

There were changes as Burgin, Barnes, Lloyd & Gould came in for Lightowler, Dinsdale [at a Spanish training camp for British players moving to the US league], Down & Robinson for the trip to Aldershot. Lloyd scored the goal in a 1-1 draw, a much improved performance. Despite that, the next home crowd was even lower – 2745 to see an unchanged team draw 1-1 against Workington, with Lloyd netting again. Pearson felt that the talent was there, but needed “welding together into a team” with the players needing more self-belief. He singled out Lloyd & Tanner as players with a good on-field attitude.

Off the field the club published its balance sheet ahead of the AGM to be held on 21st December, showing a profit of £12,667 – mainly due to the sale of Hector. Worryingly though, expenses were up & gate receipts down.  Regardless, Rowley signed another new player, half-back Stephen Gibson [18] from Huddersfield Town, who had appeared in Avenue’s reserve side as an amateur. He went straight into the team to face Lincoln City at Sincil Bank due to injury to Graham Tanner.  Rowley could have selected Paul I’Anson, but as he was transfer listed & Cambridge United were said to be interested, chose not to.

For Gibson it was a debut to remember for the wrong reasons – Lloyd was on the scoresheet again but Lincoln were 4 up in the first quarter of an hour, eventually running out 5-1 winners. “Avenue’s worst display in a league match this term” was Pearson’s closing remark. Avenue sank to the bottom of the league.

There was off-field trouble too. Ian Hughes was fined for failing to turn up for a reserve game at Mansfield, & Geoff Gould was suspended for 2 weeks for what the club said was “disorderly conduct on the coach returning from Aldershot”. The Telegraph & Argus speculated that this would cost Gould between £40-60 in lost wages.  Gould appealed to the Football League against his ban [the appeal was rejected] & also made an unsuccessful attempt to sign on at the Labour Exchange. Pearson felt that Gould’s punishment was excessive compared to that given to Hughes.

With injury worries over Andrews [ankle], Hughes [flu], Down [gashed shin], Turner [pulled muscle] & Tanner [groin strain], Peter Dinsdale was recalled from his Spanish training camp to join the squad for the first round FA Cup tie at Grimsby Town, but wasn’t selected as Tanner was passed fit in time. The match resulted in a 1-1 draw with Down scoring for Avenue. In the replay at Park Avenue just 2 days later, a 5243 crowd saw a 4-1 win, with Down again, Ham & Lloyd [2] scoring to set up a home second round tie against Tranmere Rovers in January.

Avenue returned to league action on 16th December at home to Swansea Town.  Dickie Down scored again for Avenue, but former Welsh international Ivor Allchurch, on his 38th birthday, scored twice for the Swans, who won 1-2.  A Friday night trip to Hartlepools ended in a 2-0 defeat notable only for the debut of winger Andy Haddock – on a month’s trial after being released by Rotherham & the exclusion of senior pro Gerry Lightowler, though Lightowler at least had better news when his wife gave birth to their first child, a daughter.

Christmas cheer was thin on the ground at the club’s AGM on 21st December. Former chairman Gordon Phillips was critical of the standard of play, the results & most importantly in his view, the club’s financial position. He questioned whether any club, let alone one in Avenue’s position, needed 2 managers, 2 secretaries, a trainer, a physiotherapist, a full time scout & other part time trainers.  Current chairman Leonard Evans vigorously defended the position on the grounds that “you get what you pay for” & expressed full confidence in Jack Rowley & his staff, who he said would have to be given time.  He went as far as to say “in a matter of a few years we could have a First Division club. The only way to build this is to get professional people to do this”

Rowley himself responded to questions, saying “I go home at night & wake up worrying…If anyone could find a solution to this, no manager would ever get the sack.” His assistant Ken Roberts said he wished that fans would forget about Hector & look instead to the young players coming through the current youth set-up. A female shareholder responded “what about the first team? You are going lower & lower. Saturday after Saturday it is the same old tale.”

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The next game was on Boxing Day – a Tuesday – but it was the same old tale – though Avenue put up a courageous display in the 2-0 defeat at promotion chasing Luton Town in front of a crowd of nearly 17,000.  On the 30th, Luton came to Park Avenue & were beaten 2-1 in the return fixture, with Lloyd & Down scoring. Stanley Pearson described it as “Avenue’s best home display this season”.

Tranmere came to town for the FA Cup second round tie on 6th January, but there was no Happy New Year as they ran out 2-3 winners, Ham & an own goal for Avenue

Peter Dinsdale’s loan spell came to an end in January as he & his family emigrated to Canada. Injuries & the Spanish training camp had restricted him to just 9 starts in the league & 2 cup appearances, 1 as substitute. He had been due to play against York City on the Saturday before he left, but the match was postponed. Might things have been different had he been involved in all 23 games played prior to his departure?  Stanley Pearson reiterated his view that an experienced man [like McGrath!] was needed to hold things together on the field. He also queried why Alan Turner had been out of the side for so long, had this all been due to injuries?

There were few games in January due to bad weather; in a reserve match against Halifax, Geoff Lloyd scored 5 of 6 goals scored by Avenue.  Down sprang a surprise by asking for a transfer, just 3 months after signing, saying that he was unable to settle in Bradford. He eventually came to an agreement that he would live & train in Bristol, & travel to matches at his own expense; he took a £5 a week cut in wages as well. Meanwhile, already listed Geoff Gould & Paul I’Anson were rumoured to be interesting non-league clubs Hereford United & Bangor City respectively.

The York postponement was followed by 2 home games in a row – a goal-less draw with Rochdale & a 1-2 defeat by Crewe, with Lloyd scoring again & Alan Turner returning to action. The club remained rooted to the foot of the table.  Pearson was glowing in his praise for Graham Tanner saying “Some of his work is in a class way above this division while his coolness under pressure is a joy to see”

On 30th January came the shock announcement that assistant manager Ken Roberts had been dismissed, & physio Colin Kaye had resigned to start his own business. Chairman Evans described the moves as “normal business economy”, a significant shift from his position at the AGM a month earlier.  There was “no panic” he maintained. Roberts said that he could understand the club’s position “but it doesn’t help mine any. There is so much I could say. Such as why I didn’t sign my 3 year contract. But I don’t want to say anything while I still feel bitter about the matter”.

Evans went on to say that had Avenue progressed in the FA Cup, they could have carried on, but with the players on the books [27 including the full time, part time & apprentice professionals], they needed gates of 7000 just to break even. Perhaps his most extraordinary claim was that “in soccer it is 60% luck – & we have had very little this season” Pearson well understood the financial issues, but thought that the good work done by Roberts with the youth team would have reaped benefits in the future.

The club said that there would be no special celebration to mark its Diamond Jubilee this year – it had too many other things to think about.  A pity, thought Pearson, as an event such as a special match would have given the long-suffering fans something to look forward to.

On the pitch, despite a spirited performance, Avenue lost 2-1 at Brentford, with Down on the scoresheet again.  Geoff Gould was in the club’s bad books once more, being fined £5 for arriving late for the game at home to Crewe, even though he wasn’t due to play.  Shortly afterwards Paul I’Anson was fined £20 for being seen on licensed premises [The Old House At Home] within 48 hours of a game – for which he too wasn’t selected. Landlord Tom McGuinness defended him, saying that he was there to quote for electrical work [he was a trained electrician] & drank no alcohol.  Within days Gould was shipped out on a month’s loan to Lincoln City, & I’Anson was playing as a trialist for Corby Town.

At least things perked up on the pitch. Avenue travelled to Valley Parade & beat their promotion seeking neighbours 1-2, with Bobby Ham & Down scoring, though keeper John Hardie was the man of the match. Within the week, the recently married Ham had made the trip permanent, signing for City for a fee of around £2500.  The club also announced that Rowley had now signed a 3 year contract, dated from 1 March 1968. It remains unclear why he & Roberts didn’t sign the contracts originally offered in March 1967. Pearson thought the timing of the announcement, so soon after the sacking of Roberts, was insensitive. His view on the sale of Ham was that the club had effectively written off the rest of the current season.

2 players who hadn’t seen much first team action were in the news – Ian Hughes, who was declared fit again after injury, flu & jaundice, & Trevor Burgin, who needed 5 stitches in a head wound. Burgin was hit on the head by a hammer whilst playing with his 2 children at home in Monk Bretton! Glen Andrews, like Ham recently married, moved into Pat Liney’s old club house in Little Horton.

Dickie Down put Avenue ahead at home to Doncaster Rovers on 17th February, but Alick Jeffrey grabbed an equaliser. Stanley Pearson bemoaned that Avenue “threw away a precious league point – made the mistake of sitting back on a slender lead.” Keeper Hardie, who with his wife had recently opened a greengrocer’s shop at Horton Bank Top was “outstanding as usual”.  Home again the following week, & the same story, a 1-1 draw with Aldershot, Down netting for the 4th consecutive game. It was their 4th point out of the last 6, the best run since the previous September.

News of 2 wingers – Geoff Gould broke his leg playing for Lincoln in a reserve game at Halifax &  Andy Haddock rejected the offer of a further month’s trial, instead signing for Chester for the rest of the season.

Regardless of both current & earlier chairmen’s comments about the size of the playing staff, Jack Rowley signed up 2 more players from Bristol City – 19 year old midfielder John Giles on loan for the rest of the season, & shortly afterwards Chuck Drury, the experienced former West Bromwich Albion wing-half, who would live & train in the West Midlands. Stanley Pearson expressed surprise at the signing of Giles since “a goal scorer had been the crying need all season”. Meanwhile Gerry Lightowler, unhappy at losing his starting place, requested a transfer which Avenue granted. Young Gary Hudson went off to London to play in a trial game to decide on the English Catholic grammar schools side to visit France.

Only captain Barnes & sub Lightowler played “anywhere near his true form” in Stanley Pearson’s opinion in a 4-0 defeat at Port Vale, in which Giles made a “fairly effective” debut. John Rowley broke & chipped a toe bone & would be out for 3 weeks. The following week saw another 4-0 defeat, away at Crewe, with Ian Hughes back at number 7 for the first time since September & free transfer signing Drury making his debut as captain. Pearson praised Down & Tanner; he felt Avenue had played better than at Vale Park, but again pointed out that the introduction of Giles & Drury had no effect on the lack of a goalscorer.

Surprisingly there was only 1 change – Lloyd back for Hughes for the side at home to Chester, now managed by Ken Roberts & with Haddock in their forward line. The away side went home with the points, winning 0-2 & both Lloyd & Andrews picked up injuries; the latter’s ankle problem turned out to be a season ending one.  Stanley Pearson was scathing: “The message was loud & clear – the attack is not good enough & the defence cannot be relied on”. Fans left long before the end.

Lightowler brought his long association with the club to an end by signing for Los Angeles Wolves in the US soccer league on a 6 month contract with the option of a further 2 years, with Avenue receiving a small fee.  Avenue reportedly rejected an offer from Stoke City for centre forward Dickie Down, in whom Wolves were also rumoured to be interested. Down failed to score in his final 13 appearances though, and was still at Avenue the following season.

Rowley rang the changes for the next game at Chesterfield, introducing a trio of 17 year olds, right back Peter Hart & centre half Brian Lyons, both amateurs, & apprentice Kenny Hibbitt in the number 10 shirt. Hibbitt replaced Draper – still yet to score, who was moved to the right wing. Avenue failed to score for the 4th game in a row, losing 2-0.  According to Pearson, the performance was slightly improved; Hibbitt was the pick of the 3 newcomers but Lyons was “clearly some way off in the experience department”. Drury went close with a free kick & Hardie “gave his usual immaculate performance”.

The same team went to York for a rearranged fixture on Monday night & were beaten 6-2. The goals came from Tanner & Draper, off the mark at last from 40 yards with, said Pearson “one of the best shots I have seen anywhere this season” Skipper Drury was forced off injured at half time but Pearson thought that substitute Turner was Avenue’s best player in the second half, after Tanner & Hibbitt had looked outstanding in the first half.

The team that finished the York game started the next one, at home to Exeter City, with Turner starting in place of the hamstrung Drury. The crowd was the lowest ever league gate for a Saturday fixture – 1956 & they saw Avenue lose again, 0-1. Hardie was as competent as ever, but Pearson found no-one else worthy of praise. So a miserable March came to an end – played 6, lost 6, goals for 2, goals against 19.

The 6 match losing run ended with a goal-less draw at Darlington. Hart & Lyons, never to appear in the first team again, were replaced by Barnes & Drury; Lloyd replaced Draper. Pearson said that Tanner, Turner, Hibbitt, Draper [on as sub for the injured Hibbitt] & Down stood out.  But there was little that was good about the Good Friday trip to Wrexham. Manager Rowley & his son John were delayed in holiday traffic, so the game kicked off 6 minutes late. Skipper Drury limped off before half time with a recurrence of his hamstring injury & only another heroic performance by John Hardie kept the score down to 3-0.

For the home match with Notts County the following day Paul I’Anson reported unfit, so Trevor Burgin replaced Drury for his first start since the beginning of December.  Ian Hughes made another rare start. Geoff Lloyd scored & County had John Murphy sent off for a clash with Avenue’s stand-in captain Turner, but the game ended in a 1-4 defeat, with the unfortunate Burgin scoring an own goal.  Loanee Giles made his final appearance as his season was cut short by injury.

Wrexham came to Avenue for a Tuesday night game & went away with the points in a 0-1 win, Stephen Gibson coming into the team to replace Burgin.  In the next match, a hard won point was gained – & 2 goals scored for only the 6th time in the league that season at Workington. Draper & Turner, with a penalty, were on the scoresheet.

A Monday night game at home to local rivals Halifax ended in another defeat though, 0-1, with a debut for local amateur 18 year old David Blunt, the leading scorer for Bradford’s junior side in the Northern Intermediate League.  Phil Robinson was switched to left back in place of the injured John Rowley.  John Clancy was injured & detained overnight in Bradford Royal Infirmary with a cut to his face & concussion.

Avenue gained swift revenge by beating Halifax 1-2 at the Shay in the semi-final of the West Riding Senior Cup, Draper & Lloyd netting, to set up a final against Huddersfield Town. But back in the league, their final home game was a massive disappointment – beaten 1-5 by Lincoln City in a game which Stanley Pearson described as “one of their poorest displays of an unhappy campaign”. It was an eventful night for Geoff Lloyd, who scored Avenue’s goal then had to don the keeper’s jersey near the end, when Hardie went off with a hip injury. Graham Tanner also injured his back & ribs; both he & Hardie would miss the last 3 games.

It was a night for unwanted records – the 13th home league defeat; Lincoln were the 6th side to complete a double over Avenue; the biggest 2 match tally of goals against by the same team & Avenue’s 15th successive league game without a win. Finishing bottom of the division for the first time was now a certainty. Another blow came when Hardie, who’d just been voted Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, requested a transfer. His reasons weren’t made public & the request was later withdrawn.

With Hardie injured, young David Lawson came in for his debut at Exeter, who were also re-election candidates. Burgin replaced the injured Tanner, Drury returned after his injury & 17 year old Gary Hudson made his first league appearance at left back, after receiving his headmaster’s permission to play.  Stanley Pearson gave Lawson a glowing review: “the pressure was never off him, he remained cool & dealt with everything that came his way. Twice his brilliance stopped what looked like certain goals…”- Avenue hung on for a point in a 0-0 draw.

The same eleven took on Halifax at the Shay, losing 1-0. Pearson praised Turner’s hard work in trying to get the attack going, but said that Down & Lloyd were “far too slow to take advantage”.  Just 2 days later, Avenue went to Huddersfield for the West Riding Senior Cup final, with the superior Town side winning 4-1. Chuck Drury scored Avenue’s consolation goal. So on to the final game of the season, which brought another defeat, 2-0 at Doncaster, which Pearson called an “almost creditable performance”; Lawson was again singled out for praise, though he picked up an injury & spent much of the game limping.

So the 1967/68 league season came to an end with a run of 18 successive games without a win. The final tally was played 46, won 4, drawn 15, lost 27. Goals for only 30, goals against 82. A total of 23 points left the club firmly in 24th position, 8 points shy of 23rd placed Workington & needing to apply for re-election again. The Midas touch that Dick Williamson had referred to when Jack Rowley was appointed seemed to have deserted him. Years later, Gerry Lightowler when asked about Rowley, referred to him as being poor on tactics & communication – 2 of the most basic requirements for the job, you’d have thought.

Rowley released 10 players, 5 of them his own signings – leading scorer Geoff Lloyd, midfielder & sometime captain Alan Turner, Rowley’s son John, Trevor Burgin & Ian Hughes. Also leaving were Geoff Gould, Paul I’Anson, Bill Barnes, Trevor Peel & Jack Oliver.

The full list of retained players was Hardie, Lawson, Andrews, Drury, Tanner, Gibson, Clancy, Down, Draper & Robinson, with apprentices Hibbitt, McTigue, Spiby, Sykes & Taylor. In addition professional terms had been offered to young defenders Gary Hudson & Gary Halliday, & an apprenticeship to Michael Walker, all 3 of whom were signed up. In the event, Avenue had to retain Gould as he was recovering from injury when his contract expired & he signed a new 1 year deal. John Giles returned to Bristol City after his loan spell expired. 3 of the youngsters who’d made their debuts in 67/68, Blunt, Hart & Lyons were retained as amateurs, though Blunt departed to turn professional with Chester shortly afterwards.

At the Football League’s AGM, Avenue were re-elected with 44 votes, the same as Chester, with York [46] & Workington [38] also voted back. The 15 non-league applicants managed only 21 votes between them, Cheltenham Town with 3 being the highest.

  1. 1968/69 [Part 1]

The lack of experience in the 1967/68 squad had been a major factor in its failure. Surely then, Rowley would opt for some old heads in his summer recruitment? One of the first signings met that criteria, but he wasn’t signed as a player. Don McCalman came in as trainer to replace Terry Oldfield, who had resigned for personal reasons. McCalman was well known to Avenue fans, having made more than 300 appearances for the club between 1959 & 1966. Freed to join Barrow in the summer of 1966, he had been forced to retire after only 13 games due to a serious knee injury.

Meanwhile, Geoff Lloyd, who had been linked with moves to Halifax & Aldershot, returned to Wales to sign for Rhyl, who also signed Ian Hughes.  Bill Barnes reverted to part-time football with Arnold Town, as did Trevor Burgin with Frickley & John Rowley with Buxton. Avenue sought Crewe centre-forward John Regan in an exchange deal with Dickie Down – but it fell through.

On the playing front, there were 3 new arrivals, all from Barnsley – Mike Booker, a 20 year old full back & 2 part-timers, winger Keith Cockburn [19] & inside forward Brian Hemstock [18]. Between them they’d played 4 senior games.  An experienced centre half, Brian Purcell, available on a free transfer from Swansea had been to Bradford to look around but obviously didn’t like what he’d seen – he pocketed his expenses & disappeared to sign for non-league Hereford United. Tragically, he & team-mate Roy Evans were killed in a car crash in January 1969 on their way to a game.

Another one who got away was midfielder Joe Ashworth, who’d begun his professional career at Avenue. Available on a free from Southend he preferred to join Rochdale, who he helped to promotion in 1968/69. The next signing was 17 year old Leeds born midfielder Stuart Darfield, from Wolves. He had local connections – his parents ran the White Cross Hotel in Guiseley, but no senior experience. 2 defenders with more game time did come in – Tony Harris [22] from Shrewsbury Town & Tommy Singleton [27] from Chester, who’d previously been with Blackpool & Peterborough United.  The amateur ranks were swelled with 17 year old goalkeeper David Lockwood from Shipley Juniors, forwards Thomas Traynor [16, from Huddersfield], Robert Cuthbert [17, of Brighouse] & brothers Martin [17] & John Johnson [19] both from Doncaster. None of these amateurs progressed to the first team.

The side was back in training on 8th July 1968, except for the holidaying Geoff Gould, who later saw a specialist for checks on his broken leg, following which he started light training. Stephen Gibson must have been involved in some more robust training as he needed an operation on a splintered elbow bone. Kenny Hibbitt also needed a manipulative operation on an injured instep. Part-timers Cockburn & Hemstock, who normally only trained in the evenings, both used a week of their holidays to join in with full-time training. Down & Drury, based in Bristol & West Bromwich respectively, spent a month living in Bradford during pre-season training.

The first pre-season friendly saw Barrow visiting on 31st July. The T&A reported that the defence had been greatly strengthened by Singleton & Harris, but the attack was still lacking – though Cockburn looked useful as a second half substitute.  Another of the new signings, Mike Booker, had been due to play, but failed to arrive. The reasons for this were never made public & he was included in the side for the following friendly against neighbours City, which, despite good performances from Hardie & Harris ended in a 1-4 defeat, Derek Draper scoring for Avenue for whom “a sense of urgency & know-how were lacking” said Don Alred.

Avenue were reported to have been in touch with former City midfielder John Reid, available on a free transfer from Rochdale. He’d recently opened a newsagents shop in Thornbury though & didn’t want to commit to travelling to away matches. In Yorkshire Sports, Stanley Pearson highlighted the lack of firepower in the forward line – no major signings & last season’s top scorer Lloyd having been released being cause for concern.

For the first league game of 1968/69 at home to Swansea Town, there were 2 surprising omissions – second leading scorer Down & Graham Tanner. Rowley later released a statement to the effect that Tanner had been omitted because he was overweight & unfit.  Newcomers Harris, Singleton & Hemstock were included, along with youngsters Hudson & Hibbitt. The game finished 1-1 between “2 mediocre teams” [Stanley Pearson], Avenue’s goal came from stand-in centre forward Draper, who Pearson described as standing out like a beacon in the Avenue front line.

Down was restored to the side in place of Hemstock for the midweek League Cup first round tie at home to Darlington. Despite territorial advantage, Avenue couldn’t find the net – apart from Glen Andrews, but that was an early own goal. Defensive blunders let in Darlington for 2 late goals & it finished 0-3 to the Quakers.

Fans’ protests made the front page of the next day’s T&A, which reported “More than 200 fans kept up a ‘Rowley must go’ chant outside the club offices…The chanting went on for more than an hour. As players & their wives were leaving the clubhouse after the game, the crowd shouted at them as well”

The following Saturday brought another 3-0 defeat away at Wrexham, when Andrews, Hemstock & Hibbitt were omitted. Avenue’s only shot of note came from debutant Booker.  Tanner returned for this game, having impressed his manager with his attitude in training. Rumours were rife that Rowley would be sacked, following comments attributed to the chairman in both the Daily Mail & Goal magazine – but which Mr Evans said had been misrepresented.  2 lengthy board meetings ensued in quick succession, but there were no public announcements.

At home to Notts County, Hemstock & Hibbitt replaced Booker & Clancy; the first point of the season being gained in a 1-1 draw. Tommy Singleton got the goal & Stanley Pearson was impressed by him but bemoaned the fact that “his colleagues couldn’t match [his] consistency”. There was another home game the following Monday night, when Aldershot won 0-1, with Keith Cockburn introduced at number 11. Pearson thought he, Hardie, Singleton & Down played well but called it an “apathetic display” with Avenue lacking leadership in midfield.

A trip to Halifax Town on August Bank Holiday weekend resulted in the third 3-0 beating of the season. A foot injury kept Tanner out so Stuart Darfield was drafted in for his league bow. Hemstock made his 4th & final appearance in an Avenue shirt. Andrews made only his 3rd start of the season at right back; he was dropped again after this game, asked for a move & was placed on the transfer list.

Promising 17 year old forward John Sykes had scored a hat-trick for the juniors the previous Monday & was handed his first senior start at home to Grimsby. He showed further promise, before having to go off injured. Derek Draper put Avenue ahead & should have scored a second. Grimsby’s Doug Collins was sent off, but Avenue couldn’t make the man advantage pay, though Drury hit the post with a free kick. A late in-swinging corner went in off Hardie to give Grimsby a 1-1 draw.

2 days later, Exeter were the visitors, with another youngster, 18 year old Colin Penrose, making his debut in place of the injured Sykes.  Exeter went ahead after 35 minutes, following which Avenue [said Pearson] “began playing the attacking soccer everyone has wanted but no-one has seen from them. At times they were quite brilliant, with Draper a tireless worker up front.”  For once, Pearson found the defence in good form, with Singleton outstanding, despite needing 5 stitches in a gashed shin after the match – he’d ignored the club doctor’s advice not to play on in the second half. Draper got the equaliser after a Darfield shot had been blocked, & then set up Penrose for the winner. It finished 2-1, the first win of the season lifting Avenue out of the bottom to 4 to the heady heights of 18th place.

After the game Jack Rowley was quoted as saying “I’m glad for the boys’ sakes that they have broken the ice & I think they will now show the public that the sort of form displayed on Monday will be kept up”. Off the field, it was announced that Tanner had asked & been allowed to join Andrews on the transfer list, having been omitted from the side after recovering from injury.

Next up was a trip to Workington, Avenue’s near neighbours in the basement of the division last season, but then sitting in 7th place after only 1 defeat. Singleton’s injury kept him out, with Stephen Gibson coming in for his first start of the season. Draper was again on the scoresheet, putting Avenue ahead just before half-time. But the Cumbrians prevailed, beating Avenue 3-1 & had it not been for another outstanding performance by Hardie, it could have been a rout.

The biggest home crowd of the season, 3433, saw another Monday night game, a 1-1 draw against Lincoln City, with Dickie Down scoring his first of the season. Lincoln were second at the time & Pearson thought there was little between the 2 sides. If anything, Avenue were a shade better. Surely they could overcome their next visitors, 11th placed Newport County?  The answer was a resounding “no”. In a game which Pearson described as “Worst yet for Avenue” & “at all times interesting”, Avenue were thrashed 1-5, with Tony Buck scoring 4 for the Welshmen & Chuck Drury contributing both an own goal & a penalty. Unsurprisingly, Avenue slumped back into the bottom 4; they were to remain there for the rest of the campaign.

Off the field, the latest annual report for the year ended 31st May 1968 was published & the previous year’s profit of £12,667 had been transformed into a loss of £24,539, with ticket receipts dropping by £3000, & a net loss made on transfer fees. Board meetings were held on 2 successive nights to discuss the financial crisis. During the second meeting Jack Rowley advised that he had been offered the opportunity to take over as manager at one of his previous clubs, Oldham Athletic, who Chairman Evans had permitted to approach him. The board allowed his release following the away match at Darlington on Saturday 28th September 1968.

Rowley’s final selection showed several changes – there were recalls for Tanner & Cockburn, a debut for local amateur inside forward Peter Brannan [20] & a first appearance since the previous November for Geoff Gould.  The game was lost 2-0, but Stanley Pearson said it was a creditable performance – there was “a shred of hope…if the new manager can instil confidence into the players” Rowley would initially be replaced as manager by his assistant, Don McCalman.

Looking back on Rowley’s tenure, Pearson pointed out that his most successful spell had come during his first 2 months at the club. “What a pity” he said “that the team wasn’t added to instead of being broken up” At the time he wrote that, only Hardie, Gould & Robinson remained of the players on the books when Rowley arrived. During Rowley’s reign, Pearson reiterated his criticism of the decisions to release McGrath & later Lloyd, & to not give Gould an extended run in the side. He was critical too of Rowley’s transfer dealings, estimating that around £23,000 had been spent, with only about £5000 being received.

The whole of 1967/68 & 1968/89 to date had been a massive disappointment. With the financial situation as it was, the position of the club was desperate.  Within days of Rowley’s departure, 70 year old chairman Leonard Evans announced that he was resigning. He said that this was partly for health reasons but also because of “my own lack of understanding of the finer points of the game” He went on to express his disappointment that the club had experienced one of the worst seasons in its history during his time at the top, saying “This has been attributed by many supporters, & indeed by the board itself, to the present management…..As I was the prime mover in instigating this appointment which I did firmly believe would bring success, I have no alternative but to tender my resignation.” 

Commenting on the news, Rowley said “I have always worked well with Mr Evans & he is a good chairman for any manager to work with. I am very very sorry to see him having to resign in this way”

TA 68-09-27

  1. Jack Rowley – after Avenue

Jack Rowley had his most successful spell as a manager with Oldham Athletic between 1960 & 1963 – of 153 games played, 67 were won, 33 drawn & 53 lost – so nearly 44% of games had been won. Relegation threatened Oldham must have had this in mind when they re-appointed him in 1968 as they surely wouldn’t have given him a 2 year contract on the basis of his Avenue statistics – played 70, won 8, drawn 25, lost 37 – a very disappointing 11% of games won.

On his appointment, Jim Williams in the Oldham Evening Chronicle commented “If he achieves anything – & avoiding relegation this season will be quite an achievement – he will have done well” Rowley’s first signing, straight after his arrival, was Dickie Down from Avenue for a reported fee of £2000. 24th in Division 3 when Rowley arrived, Oldham rallied a little, but only got out of the bottom 4 once during the rest of the season. By game 46, they were back in 24th place & would start 1969/70 in Division 4. Down scored 1 in 10 appearances & was later given a free transfer.

Results didn’t improve as much as expected in 1969/70 either, despite several new signings. Without a win in 8 games & with the side in 22nd place, Rowley was sacked shortly after Christmas 1969. Ironically perhaps, one of the defeats that led to his dismissal was an FA Cup second round replay against non-league South Shields – who had seen off Avenue in round 1.

That was Rowley’s last managerial appointment. He was quoted as saying “I enjoyed it all, playing & managing, but all good things come to an end”.  He passed away in 1998 at the age of 77.

  1. Avenue – after Rowley & beyond

To be continued………

by Ian Brown

Sources:

“All About Avenue”, “The Avenue” & “Up The Avenue”, all by Malcolm Hartley & Tim Clapham

“Bradford Park Avenue Who’s Who: The Football League Years” by Terry Frost

“Football Players’ Records 1946 – 1984” by Barry J Hugman

The English National Football Archive – www.enfa.co.uk

The late Neil Brown’s UK A-Z Transfers – www.neilbrown.newcastlefans.com

Bradford [Park Avenue] Remembered Facebook group

The “Telegraph & Argus” & “Yorkshire Sports” [viewed at the British Library] – special thanks to Stanley Pearson for his reports & commentary on Avenue in the last 3 league seasons without which this article couldn’t have been written.

“Soccer Star” magazine

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