Arthur Rowley – 56/57 – 44 goals

Remembering Arthur Rowley’s City Career

On the anniversary of his Leicester City debut (19 August, 1950), delves into the archives to recall the career of one of the Club’s most legendary forwards, Arthur Rowley.

Across his eight years at the Club, ‘The Gunner’ made 321 appearances, scoring an astonishing 265 goals, placing him second on Leicester’s all-time top goalscorers list, behind Arthur Chandler.

Born in Wolverhampton in 1926, his career started at West Bromwich Albion following the conclusion of the Second World War, when he served in the military. 

After only managing to find the net four times in two years at the Hawthorns, he transferred to Fulham and helped the Cottagers secure the Second Division title with 19 goals in 22 games.

Following another eight strikes for the West Londoners in the following season, City, under the management of Norman Bullock, moved to secure his services.

Rowley joined a month prior to his City bow, with the Foxes bringing him to Filbert Street for £14,000 - a club record transfer fee.

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Arthur Rowley
Arthur Rowley

Rowley went on to score 265 goals for the Club.

On Saturday 19 August, 1950, Rowley stepped onto the pitch as a Leicester player for the first time. He started with a goal, scoring in the 3-2 away victory over Bury on the opening day of the 1950/51 season.

Rowley’s powerful left foot led to him scoring 33 goals a season on average for City, netting a hat-trick 16 times and converting 41 spot kicks.

Bringing up a century of goals for the Foxes in just 122 appearances, the forward racked up 145 in his first four years, leading to enquiries from high-flying Arsenal about his availability.

Rowley stayed loyal to the Foxes and contributed 30 goals in the 1953/54 promotion-winning campaign, adding a further Second Division title to his CV as Leicester scored a then club record 97 league goals to reach the First Division.

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Leicester City 1953/54
Leicester City 1953/54

City, powered by 30 goals from Rowley, won the Second Division title in 1953/54 under the stewardship of Norman Bullock.

A 14-game unbeaten run from August to October, the highlight of which was a 5-0 hammering of Leeds United, included nine goals from Rowley as the Club moved closer to a first trophy in 17 years and a top flight return after a decade and a half away.

Promotion was secured on the final day of the season and the title decided on the tightest of margins. After beating Brentford, Leicester’s goal average was 0.3 better than second place Everton’s, who finished level on points with the Foxes and one ahead of Blackburn Rovers.

Despite relegation the following season, the inside left added a further 23 goals to his City tally from 36 games, continuing his strike partnership with Derek Hines.

And Rowley followed that up with 29 goals back in Division Two, earning a call-up to the England B squad, finding the net against Switzerland.

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Arthur Rowley
Arthur Rowley

Rowley was the star of City's side, but he was supported by several other exciting attacking talents too.

In 1956/57, his 44 league goals in 42 games earned him the league’s top goalscorer award for the second time and broke a Club record for the most goals scored in a single season for the third time - a record that is yet to be beaten. Those goals helped City to win the second tier once again, this time finishing seven points clear of Nottingham Forest.

During 1957/58, Rowley scored 20 goals in 25 games, finishing off his career as a Fox in style. He departed in 1958 to become player-manager at fourth tier Shrewsbury Town, where he would continue his impressive scoring, recording 152 goals in 236 games.

Rowley spent his whole 19-year career in the Football League and no player has scored more than his 434 strikes during spells at West Brom, Fulham, Leicester and Shrewsbury.

But it is at City where he remembered most fondly for a brilliant, eight-year, trophy laden spell on Filbert Way.

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