Ray Bowden

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Ray Bowden
Personal information
Full name Edwin Raymond Bowden[1]
Date of birth (1909-09-13)13 September 1909
Place of birth Looe, England
Date of death 23 September 1998(1998-09-23) (aged 89)
Place of death Plymouth, England
Playing position Inside forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Looe ? (?)
1926–1933 Plymouth Argyle 145 (82)
1933–1937 Arsenal 123 (42)
1937–1939 Newcastle United 48 (6)
National team
1934–1936 England 6 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Edwin Raymond "Ray" Bowden (13 September 1909 – 23 September 1998) was an English footballer who played as an inside forward. He appeared in the Football League for Plymouth Argyle, Arsenal and Newcastle United. Bowden was capped six times by England, scoring once for the Three Lions.[2]

Club career

Born in Looe, Cornwall, he started his playing career with local non-league side Looe. A prolific inside forward, despite his slight frame he scored over 100 goals in a season for Looe. He was signed by Plymouth Argyle, and made his debut for them in March 1927. For the 1928–29 and 1931-32 seasons, Bowden topscored for Plymouth. He also won the Third Division South championship of 1929-30 with the club. A sum of 82 goals were scored in 145 league matches by Bowden for Argyle.[3]

Bowden signed for Herbert Chapman's Arsenal in March 1933 for £4,500, as the intended replacement for David Jack. He at first featured sporadically with only six league games in that season, not enough to win a First Division winners' medal. As so, he thereafter became a regular at and away from Highbury for the club. Playing mainly as an inside forward, behind Ted Drake, he still scored his fair share despite his slight build in what was a very physical game at the time. His goalscoring included a haul of 13 in 1933–34, which made him Arsenal's joint-top scorer in the league, along with Cliff Bastin. Bowden's feats saw him go on to win with the Gunners the First Division title of 1934. In 1934-35 Bowden went on to score 14 times within the league. Bowden also netted a hattrick which came in an 8-1 rout of Liverpool during the season. As such he was highly instrumental in Arsenal victoriously lifting the First Division title of 1935.[3][4]

Bowden as well went on to win with Arsenal the FA Cup of 1935–36. He began suffering from ankle injuries of which limited his appearances for the club within that season and the one subsequent. By the start of the 1937–38 season he had seemingly bounced back, playing ten matches in the first two months of the season. However in a reshuffle of the Arsenal side he was sold to Second Division Newcastle United in November 1937 for £5,000. Arsenal, with Bowden being insufficiently capped, won that season's First Division title. In all he played 158 matches for the Gunners, scoring 55 goals.[4][2]

Bowden was a regular feature for Newcastle with the club narrowly escaping relegation in his first season. He also spent the following 1938-39 season at St James Park. With the outbreak of World War II, first-class football was suspended, and the 30-year-old Bowden then decided to call it quits in his footballing career.[2]

International career

Bowden won his first cap for England, against Wales on 29 September 1934. Two months later, Bowden was one of the seven Arsenal players who played for England against World Champions Italy in the "Battle of Highbury" match, which England won 3–2. Bowden represented the three lions upon six occasions, scoring once, against Wales in February 1936.[2][5]

Personal life

Bowden worked as a solicitor's clerk before his footballing days. After he hung up his boots he returned to Plymouth, where he ran a sports shop with his brother Austin. He died in 1998, aged 89, by which time he was the last surviving player of the great interwar Arsenal side.[2][4]


Plymouth Argyle[2]


  • Harris, Jeff (1995). Hogg, Tony, ed. Arsenal Who's Who. Independent UK Sports. ISBN 1-899429-03-4. 
  1. ^ Joyce, Michael (2004). Football League Players' Records 1888 to 1939. Nottingham: SoccerData. p. 31. ISBN 1-899468-67-6. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Ray Bowden". Spartacus Educational.com. 
  3. ^ a b c "Ray Bowden". GoS–DB. Greens on Screen. Retrieved 2 May 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c "Ray Bowden". Arsenal Player Database. Arsenal F.C. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  5. ^ "Ray Bowden". The FA.com. 
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