Stan the Man’s First England Cap

12 Oct

Stan Bowles first England Cap – 1974. Courtesy S. Bowles

This is the first England cap awarded to Collyhurst footballing legend and one of the game’s most colourful characters, Stanley ‘Stan’ Bowles.

Scene from hit show Porridge showing Bowles headlining again. Series 1 – “A Night In”  – Episode 3 which was first aired on the 19th September 1974. BBC © 2012

Bowles won the cap on his debut game for England v Portugal in April 1974 at the  Portuguese national stadium in Lisbon, the Stadium of Light (Estádio da Luz). The game ended 0-0, and would put Bowles briefly on the international stage. Unbeknown to many, although not to be unexpected in an era when English caps weren’t given out like confetti, the relationship like much of Bowles’ life, would not an endearing long held love affair.

Overall he only won five caps for England, although widely regarded as one of the most talented football players of his generation. Some said, second only to George Best.

Stan Bowles playing for QPR in 1974. Courtesy S. Bowles.

Bowles was considered to be one of the most entertaining sport personalities of the 1970s, with his skill on the pitch only matched by his ability to court the headlines off  it. Often appearing on the front pages of the tabloids as much as he was on the back. Provoking the unwanted attention of those in authority seemed an occupational hazard for Bowles, whose greater focus lay in entertaining the crowd. Sentiment lost on the majority of modern football players whose only concern it appears is promoting themselves.

Bowles’ unique combination of talent, self-confidence, charisma and maverick style has meant that in almost 30 years since he last kicked a ball, his many exploits are still the subject of much pub banter from fans who were fortunate to have seen him play or those who can only dream of having his undoubted skill.

The cap is a light green velvet 6 panel cap with silver braid and tassle with the English Football Association badge to the front with ‘Portugal‘ underneath. It has 1973-74 on the peak.

Polish keeper Jan Tomaszewski makes one of the many saves to deny England. Tomaszewski would later become known as “The Man That Stopped England”. Courtesy S. Bowles.

Bowles’ first game for the national team would be most notable as it would become that last game that 1966 World Cup-winning manager Sir Alf Ramsey was in charge, as England failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup in West Germany, following only 1 win out of 4 in a group that included Wales and was topped by Poland who got 1 -1  draw at Wembley.

Ramsey’s England fate was sealed prior to the Portugal game following a defeat to Italy in which ex-England manager Fabio Capello scored.

Bowles would only score once for England in a win against Wales (2-0) at Cardiff City’s Ninian Park in Leckwith, Cardiff on the 11 May 1974.

Stan Bowles in action for QPR taking on Liverpool’s Alan Hansen in 1977. Courtesy S. Bowles.

Bowles enjoyed a long career from his professional debut for Manchester City in 1967, to Bury Football Club, Crewe Alexandra, Carlisle United, his notable career at Queens Park Rangers (In 2004, a fans poll saw Bowles voted QPR’s greatest player of all time) ; playing for Brian Clough’s and Peter Taylor’s   1979 European Cup  winning  Nottingham Forest side and earning a medal on his debut against Barcelona at the Nou Camp. Bowles later had a spell at Leyton Orient, before retiring in 1984 at Brentford Football Club .

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4 Responses to “Stan the Man’s First England Cap”

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  1. Stan Bowles Fan Club – 1973 | historyme - March 11, 2013

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    […] was also the season the future QPR legend Stan Bowles made his debut for Manchester City , showing great early promise on the pitch. Sadly for City […]

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