Foxes A to Z, Arthur Rowley, goalscoring records for Leicester City and The Football League

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The most prolific scorer the Football League has known, and scored only to Arthur Chandler in City’s aggregate scoring stakes, Arthur clearly gave early promise of feats to come despite Wolves’ failure to sign him on professional forms. He made his senior debut, alongside his brother Jack and only five days after his 15th birthday, in a wartime Manchester United fixture at Anfield, and also turned out as a great player for Middlesbrough, Brighton and Lincoln before military service in Germany and Palestine.

His introduction to League combat, however, was a slow process at The Hawthorns (4 goals in 24 app’s; including one 60 minute stint as stand in goalkeeper against Leicester in February 1948), and it wasn’t until he reached Craven Cottage, and gunned Fulham into First Division, that his reputation began to rise. There was still much disquiet among City fans, though, when Arthur arrived as an instant, cheaper replacement for the well liked Jack Lee; but the imminent event of the first of his sixteen Leicester hat tricks and a first seasonal scoring record with 38 the following term duly conferred on him heroic status.

Arthur went one goal better in 1953, rifled home thirty in the 1954 promotion campaign, 23 more in the First Division, then was actually toppled from the peak of the club’s League goals chart for one season by Willie Gardiner’s 34 (Arthur following with 29). The Second Division Championship year of 1957 was a matter of numerous club records for City, so Arthur just had to help himself to one that would last; 44 strikes in an ever present season. A haul of only 20 counters back in the top flight was considered such a lapse from his standards that the club rather carizly allowed Arthur to slip away to Shrewsbury Town, there to continue his path towards a career total of 434 League goals from 619 games. At the risk of representing the burly, non-hearted inside left as a merely statistical construct, it can be added that he scored in all four Divisions (50 in One, 232 in Two, 114 in Three and 38 in the basement, from which lifted The Shrews at the first attempt; That he was the League’s top individual scorer both in 1953 and 1957, and that he incidentally holds the City record for most penalties converted (41 in League and Cup).

He never added full England honours to his single appearances for each of the B team and the Football League (both in 1956) was a clear injustice (his less prolific brother Jack won 6 caps) and that City will probably never again see a forward with quite such an appetite for hitting the back of the net is an inescapable inference.

Arthur’s managerial career after hanging up his shooting boots was comparatively unremarkable, taking him from Gay Meadow to spells at Sheffield United, Southed United and Oswestry Town; and it was sad that his second belated testimonial game in 1977 was such a law key affair between Southend and City. (Twelve years earlier the celebratory participants had been Shrewsbury and Wolves, and these two clubs would meet again in May 1995 for Arthur’s benefit, when a Filbert Street collection also helped towards a financing of a knee operation. But nothing could dim the Leicester folk memory of “The Gunner” rampaging through helplessly flailing defenders, bringing his thunderbolt left peg into lethal action, and giving the Goalkeeper’s Union a collective backache. A district manager for Vernon Pools after his football were severed. Arthur lived his later years in Shrewsbury until his death, in December 2002, aged 76.

FACTFILE:

  • Full Name: George Arthur Rowley
  • Position: Forward
  • Date of Birth: 21.04.1926, Date of Death: 19.12.2002
  • Birthplace: Wolverhampton
  • Nation: England
  • Major League Career:
    • 1946-48, West Bromwich Albion (24/4)
    • 1948-50, Fulham (56/26)
    • 1950-58, Leicester City (236/152)
    • 1958-65, Shrewsbury Town (236/152)

Links: Pinterest, Wikipedia

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