Jack Bowers

Leicester City In 100 Players: Jack Bowers

Club Historian John Hutchinson reviews the careers of 100 of the most outstanding players to represent Leicester Fosse and Leicester City in the Club’s 137-year history.
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The series continues with the England international centre-forward, Jack Bowers, whose goalscoring feats were a major factor in City’s Second Division title win in 1937.

Jack Bowers began his professional career in the Midland League, playing for Scunthorpe and Lindsey United alongside his future Leicester team-mate and fellow striker Arthur ‘Digger’ Maw.

He signed for Derby County in May 1928 and, in his eight seasons at the Baseball Ground, he was the First Division’s top scorer on three occasions, also winning three England caps, scoring twice. 

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Sep Smith and Jack Bowers, both pictured here in happy times, during their spells at the Club.

He spent most of the 1935/36 season in the reserves, following a serious knee injury, but he still scored 12 goals in Derby County’s first team at the start of the 1936/37 season, before joining Leicester for a fee of £7,500 in November 1936.

Bowers’ impact at Filbert Street was huge and immediate.   

A letter in the Club’s archives, written many years ago by a fan named Bill Warner, gives a contemporary account of Bowers’ influence on the team. He wrote: “Jack was the best header of the ball I had ever seen other than the legendary Dixie Dean. Signing Jack was (manager) Frank Womack’s greatest achievement.”

Bill had arrived at this conclusion because Bowers, benefitting from the crosses from left-winger Eric Stubbs, who was another new signing, scored 14 goals in his first 11 games for Leicester City. During this run, he scored twice in four games in succession, followed by a hat-trick in the fifth.

In the 27 games he played that season after his transfer to Filbert Street, he scored a total of 33 goals which, added to his 12 goals at Derby early in the season, gave him a seasonal total of 45 goals. In the space of six months, these goalscoring feats helped propel Jack’s new club from the lower reaches of the table to the Second Division title and a place in the top flight.

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Jack Bowers
Jack Bowers

Jack Bowers made a significant impact at the Club, both on and off the field of play.

Back in the old First Division, Bowers netted a further 19 goals in 52 games before City were relegated four months before the outbreak of the Second World War.

In the first wartime season, he scored 14 goals in 28 appearances, but his Leicester career effectively ended following the year-long suspension imposed on Bowers, together with several other players and directors, following an FA Enquiry into City’s pre-war financial practices. 

However, Bowers’ 56 goals in 84 league and FA Cup appearances for Leicester City constitute an impressive statistic, especially as his 33 goals in his first 27 games for the Club were the biggest single factor in the side winning the Second Division title in 1937. 

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