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24 September 2014

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You are in: Shropshire > Sport > Sporting Heroes > Tribute to Town legend Rowley

Arthur Rowley

Tribute to Town legend Rowley

Shrewsbury Town FC's goalscoring legend of the 1960s, Arthur Rowley, died at the age of 76 in December 2002. His record tally of 434 league goals is unlikely ever to be broken.

He was often seen at the Gay Meadow in recent times, and his last game - the home encounter against Bournemouth - was just days before he died.

Sadly he died only a few weeks before Shrewsbury Town's FA Cup victory over Premiership club Everton - a game he would have enjoyed immensely. After all, as Town manager he too had beaten the Toffees (in the League Cup).

But then he also didn't live to see the string of awful performances that led to Town's relegation to the Conference in May 2003.

George Arthur Rowley joined Shrewsbury Town on 5 June 1958 and in the next decade scored 152 goals for the club as player manager.

That still stands as the club record today, and his tally of 38 league goals in the 1958-59 season is a mark no Town player has ever matched.


He'd arrived at the Gay Meadow already renowned and with 251 goals to his credit for Leicester - but he'll also be fondly remembered at Fulham and West Bromwich Albion.

His 434 goals in 619 games over 19 years earns him a place in the football league's legends website, which says: 'Arthur Rowley stands head and shoulders above anybody else in league history for goalscoring'.

He was player manager when Shrewsbury beat First Division giants Everton in the League Cup and were within minutes of reaching the final before losing out to Rotherham.

Rowley left Shrewsbury to manage Sheffield United and Southend, but returned to the town when he retired and was regularly seen at Gay Meadow, despite his ailing health.

Born in Wolverhampton in 1926, Rowley went to Manchester United at the age of 14, but signed for West Brom when he turned professional at the end of the war.

But he didn't set the world alight, scoring only four times in 23 games, and was transferred to Fulham, where he did much better, netting 27 goals in 56 outings.

But it was at Leicester City's Filbert Street where he made his mark over eight seasons, twice helping them gain promotion to the old First Division, and becoming the club's top scorer.

From Leicester it was on to Shrewsbury Town, guiding them to promotion to the Third Division in his first season as player manager - and scoring 38 goals in 43 games.

He finished his playing career at the Town, hanging up his boots in 1965, although he stayed on as manager for another three years.

And after his spells with Sheffield United and Southend, he returned to Shropshire, firstly to manage Oswestry Town for a brief spell and then Knighton in Powys.

Former Shrewsbury Town captain and manager Jake King led the tributes to Rowley immediately after his death was announced.

He said: "He was a quiet man. It's a sad day for Shropshire."

last updated: 05/10/07

Have Your Say

Should Arthur Rowley be honoured in the Football Hall of Fame? Tell us what you think

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Peter Harrison
Arthur Rowley, my boyhood and teenage hero. I would be at Filbert Street in the queue every home match with my father 2 1/2 hrs before kick off come rain or come shine just to see that left foot come back to strike the ball and see it hit the back of the net. His record speaks for itself and there will never be another goalscoring forward (not a striker) like him again. I can still see the back of the net bulging today (50 odd years on)

Peter Young
Naturally, no question.

Keith Phillips
Artur Rowley was my boyhood hero. I was lucky enough to see him play at Leicester as a boy in the 50's RIP Arthur you will never be forgotten. Arthur deserves to be in the hall of fame together with Stanley Mathews and co. He was the greatest player that the city ever bought I put him in Gary Liniker's class.

dave palmer
come on he is the greatest goalscorer in english football and he always will be

Nigel Roberts-Powis
Absolutely, Arthur deserves his place in the Football Hall of Fame. A personal friend, golfing partner and opponent, his interest and often discussions of and in my involvement, commitment and development of athletes in British Track & Field Team Management was interesting and quite a revalation in one so versed in his own area of sporting abilities and management. He also wanted information on how sports injuries suffered by athletes were dealt with as he did suffer with serious knee problems and other injuries later and whether he used any of the specialists discussed I never discovered.My involvement as Stadium Manager and Safety Officer of Molineux Stadium in late eighties early nineties interested him also as he was born in Wolverhampton. He was a pleasure to watch as the greatest goalscorer [a sight all goalkeepers feared when he bore down on them - at that time shoulder charging was permitted and many keepers landed with ball in the back of the net!] and to know ultimately as a friend. A great man sadly missed. RIP BIG MAN.

John Giddins
Arthur was an inspiration to all young footballers in Salop in the 1960's. His achievements with, what was a very ordinary team up until his arrival, were phenomenal. And how I wish that Arthur was the man to take the penalties for England nowadays in their penalty shoot-outs. When Arthur stepped up to take one you could guarantee the goalie would be removing it from the back of the net. Forget all these million pound earners of today, they do not even compare with Arthur Rowley who probably never earned much more than three or four thousand a year for his efforts. I cannot think of a better candidate for a Hall Of Fame

David Greathead
I am a Villa supporter but also respect other players that rise above average status. This man was a legend of his day and will always be remembered for his unique skill and ability to score goals. If Arthur Rowley cannot find his way into any Hall of Fame nobody should. It would be a travesty not to highlight his achievements on the soccer field. He may have scored most of his goals at the lower end of the leagues but that should not be any reason not to honour the man.

C John Woolford
Yes, of course he should but, I suppose we'll get Beckham instead........

Terry elly
I saw him play. His record speaks for itself. His record will not be repeated by an Englishman.He should be there

Thomas Rowley -Jones
yes i think that this man should be in the hall of fame and yes we are a relation thank you Thomas

Malcolm Boswell
Arthur Rowley was a legend in his own time

eric price
i knew arthur personally and played golf with hime many times. He was a quiet unassuming man and probably the greatest goal scorer, in my opinion, that any british club ever had. He was equally good with his head or either foot, sadly a skill that many of todays overpaid stars, lack. Arthur should be one of the first footballers to be entered into any hall of fame about football.

MICHAEL SPEED from australia
to me ARTHUR ROWLEY will always be number 1 in the world so will shrewsbury.well done MR ROWLEY

David Howells
Although he scored most of his goals in lower divisions,he had staying power and scored high numbers consistantly, every season. He had a tremendous shot. He should definitely be honoured.

Gary Howorth
Nobody will beat his goal scoring record - and a gentleman as well.

Huw Nathan
This honour is long overdue. The facts speak for themselves. He is an all-time great.

John Grant
Arthur Rowley was the most gentlemanly of giants as the inside left for Leicester City. He was uncompromising in his efforts to score and often took the goalkeeper or a defender into the net as he scored. Playing alongside Johnny Morris, Derek Hines and Derek Hogg, he was part of a formidable team that was regularly supported by over thirty thousand whether City were in Div.1 or 2. The power with which he struch a ball (the old leather one) had to be witnessed to be believed.He was a truly great sportsman and gave great satisfaction to the supporters of the teams he played for and managed.

Kevin Walford
Of course he should be honoured in the Football Hall of Fame. He should also be honoured by the club! A statue outside the "new meadow" and one of the stands named after him. I have been a supporter since 1964 and currently have a season ticket for the South stand, which I would love to be called the "Arthur Rowley Stand".

Kenneth John Davies
yes Arthur Rowley should honouredhe was nice man good plyaer and manager and he love shrewsbury town fc

Robert Chatfield
I think to score that number of goals at all levels is an achievement that will never be surpassed and so Arthur Rowley should be inducted without reservation.

Richard Hillyard
YES! And so should Jimmy Dickinson.

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