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Page Last Updated 26 September 2014
Players Index

Ray Bowden

Arsenal FC, Newcastle United FC

6 appearances, 1 goal

P 6 W 4 D 0 L 2 F 18: A 9
67% successful


disciplined: none
minutes played:


Full name Edwin Raymond Bowden
Born 13 September 1909 in West Looe, Cornwall [registered in Liskeard, December 1909].

Census Notes

According to the 1911 census, Edwin Raymond is the youngest of four children to Tom and Ethel. They live in North Road in West Looe.  His father is a signal porter.
According to Passenger Lists, Edwin Bowden was one of eighteen footballers on an FA Tour, courtesy of Canadian Pacific Railway Company, had left the port of Liverpool on 11 May 1931, bound for Montreal, Canada, on the Duchess of Richmond. They returned from Quebec, arriving at Southampton on 23 July 1931, on board the Empress of Britain. He was living at 2 Rockville in East Looe.

According to the 1939 register, the single Edwin is living with his widowed mother, Ethel, at 26 Green Park Avenue in Plymouth. He is a dockyard stores assistant.
Married to Vera M. Martin [registered in Devon Central, December 1942].
Died 23 September 1998 in Plymouth, aged 89 years 10 days [registered in Plymouth, Devon, September 1998].
Height/Weight 5' 9½", 10st. 12lbs [1936].


Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990] & FindMyPast.com

Club Career

Club(s) Started with his local non-league club, Looe FC. He signed amateur forms with Plymouth Argyle FC in 1926, turning professional the next season. He had scored 82 goals in 145 league appearances when Arsenal signed him for £7000 in March 1933, where he scored another 42 goals in 123 league appearances. Newcastle United FC signed Bowden on 5 November 1937 for £5000. He retired in September 1939 after 48 league appearances and six goals.
Club honours Football League Division Three South winners 1929-30; Football League Champions 1933-34, 1934-35; FA Cup winners 1935-36;
Individual honours Football League (two appearances)
Distinctions For Newcastle United FC, Bowden scored against Swansea Town FC on 2 September 1939.  War broke out, and he never played competitive football again.


Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990].

England Career

Player number One of six who became the 600th players (604) to appear for England.
Position(s) Inside-right
First match No. 194, 29 September 1934, Wales 0 England 4, a British Championship match at Ninian Park, Sloper Road, Cardiff, aged 25 years 16 days.
Last match No. 207, 2 December 1936, England 6 Hungary 2, a friendly match at Arsenal Stadium, Highbury, London, aged 27 years 80 days.
Major tournaments British Championships 1934-35, 1935-36;
Team honours British Championships shared 1934-35;
Individual honours FA Tour of Canada 1931;
Distinctions Only the third Cornwallian to represent England

Beyond England

Later employed as a sports outfitter in Plymouth, he had once been an auctioneer's clerk. - An English Football Internationalists' Who's Who. Douglas Lamming (1990). Hatton Press, p.39.


Ray Bowden - Career Statistics
Squads Apps Comp.
Mins. Goals Goals Av.min Comp.
Capt. Disc.
9 6 3 540 1 540 min 1 none none
Due to the fact that many matches rarely stuck to exactly ninety minutes long, allowing time for injuries, errors and substitutions.  The minutes here given can only ever be a guideline and cannot therefore be accurate, only an approximation.


Ray Bowden - Match Record - All Matches
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts % W/L
Home 3 2 0 1 10 6 +4 0 0 2.667 2.00 66.7 +1
Away 3 2 0 1 8 3 +5 0 1 3.333 1.00 66.7 +1
All 6 4 0 2 18 9 +9 0 1 3.00 1.50 66.7 +2


Ray Bowden - Match Record - By Type of Match
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
British Championship 3 2 0 1 8 3 +5 0 1 2.667 1.00 66.7 +1
Friendly 3 2 0 1 10 6 +4 0 0 3.333 2.00 66.7 +1
All 6 4 0 2 18 9 +9 0 1 3.00 1.50 66.7 +2


Ray Bowden - Match Record - Tournament Matches
British Championship Competition
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
BC 1934-35 1 1 0 0 4 0 +4 0 1 4.00 0.00 100.0 +1
BC 1935-36 2 1 0 1 4 3 +1 0 0 2.00 1.50 50.0 =0
BC All 3 2 0 1 8 3 +5 0 1 2.667 1.00 66.7 +1
All Competition
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
BC 3 2 0 1 8 3 +5 0 1 2.667 1.00 66.7 +1
All 3 2 0 1 8 3 +5 0 1 2.667 1.00 66.7 +1


Ray Bowden - Match History

 Club: Arsenal F.C. - six full appearances (540 min), one goal

Coach: F.A. International Selection Committee - six full appearances (540 min)x

Age 25
1 194 29 September 1934 - Wales 0 England 4, Ninian Park, Cardiff BC AW Start ir
2 195 14 November 1934 - England 3 Italy 2, Arsenal Stadium, Highbury Fr HW Start ir

Age 26
3 199 19 October 1935 - Ireland 1 England 3, Windsor Park, Belfast BC AW Start ir
4 201 5 February 1936 - England 1 Wales 2, Molineux, Wolverhampton BC HL Start 38 ir
5 203 6 May 1936 - Austria 2 England 1, Praterstadion, Wien tour AL Start ir
204 9 May 1936 - Belgium 3 England 2, Stade du Centenaire, Bruxelles AL injured reserve

Age 27
6 207 2 December 1936 - England 6 Hungary 2, Arsenal Stadium, Highbury Fr HW Start ir
208 17 April 1937 - Scotland 3 England 1, Hampden Park, Glasgow BC AL reserve

 Club: Newcastle United F.C. - no full appearances  

Age 28
213 17 November 1937 - England 2 Wales 1, Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough BC HW reserve

Age 29
221 9 November 1938 - England 4 Norway 0, St. James' Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Fr HW reserve


RAY BOWDEN was paid perhaps the ultimate footballing compliment in March 1933 when the most successful manager the English game had then known asked him to replace a star performer in one of the greatest of all club sides.

The Arsenal boss Herbert Chapman was keen for the mild- mannered Cornishman, then plying his trade with Second Division Plymouth Argyle, to succeed the brilliant but ageing inside-forward David Jack in a Gunners team which was on the verge of lifting the Championship and which would sweep all before it as the decade progressed. So keen, in fact, that when Bowden refused his first approach, he made another, and another, agreement finally being secured on Chapman's third visit to Devon.  Such apparent reluctance to embrace the big time might seem peculiar to observers of the cash carnival that football has become in the 1990s, but in an era when all players received a maximum wage, a transfer did not have the same financial implications that it has today. Eight pounds a week was still only eight pounds a week, whether it emanated from the gleaming marble halls of Highbury or the more modest surroundings of Home Park.

Still, the manager's persistence paid off and Bowden, who cost pounds 4,500 and was Chapman's last major signing before his premature death in 1934, immediately justified the great man's judgement by helping Arsenal to clinch that term's title, though he had arrived too late for a medal.  He made up for that in comprehensive manner, playing a significant role as his new club went on to complete a Championship hat-trick over the next two campaigns. In addition, he took part in the 1936 FA Cup Final triumph over Sheffield United, won six England caps and enjoyed two outings for the Football League.

Bowden was a graceful ball- player whose slender, almost frail build belied a sinewy strength, although he would have made more than his 136 league and Cup appearances for the Gunners but for a nagging vulnerability to ankle injuries. His passing was smooth and thoughtful, making him a regular creator of goals for others as well as scoring 47 of his own in League and Cup competition.

He formed a productive right-wing partnership with the dashing Joe Hulme and became an able if often unobtrusive foil for the rest of a sumptuous forward line consisting of Ted Drake, Mex James and Cliff Bastin. All his England honours were earned during his Arsenal sojourn, the highlight of his two-year international career being the so-called Battle of Highbury in 1934, when he helped to defeat the world champions, Italy. The game - in which he played alongside no less than six of his club colleagues, a record - earned its lurid tag when the visitors, apparently misconstruing the intent of a vigorous early challenge from the ultra-competitive Drake, resorted to brutal tactics.

Bowden, who had worked as a solicitor's clerk on leaving school, came to the notice of Plymouth Argyle after netting ten times in an amateur match for his native Looe. He joined the Pilgrims in 1926 and won a Division Three (South) title gong in 1929/30 before Chapman persuaded him that he had a glittering future in north London.

In 1937 George Allison, Chapman's successor, opted to reshuffle his side and Bowden was sold to Second Division Newcastle United for pounds 5,000. The West Countryman enjoyed his time with the Tynesiders, for whom he scored a hat-trick against Swansea on the day before England declared war on Germany. The last surviving major contributor to Arsenal's remarkable achievements in the 1930s saw his professional soccer career end with the outbreak of hostilities and later he returned to Plymouth, where he became a sports outfitter.

Edwin Raymond Bowden, footballer: born Looe, Cornwall 13 September 1909; played for Plymouth Argyle 1926-33, Arsenal 1933-37, Newcastle United 1937-39; won six England caps 1934-36; married (one son); died Plymouth, Devon 23 September 1998. - The Independent Obituary