‘Maverick’ Stan Bowles made his England debut on this day 36 years ago.
Sir Alf Ramsey handed an England debut to Stan Bowles, the ‘maverick’ Queens Park Rangers striker, on this day in 1974.
The writing was on the wall for our World Cup-winning manager after England had failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup in West Germany. Following the Wembley draw with Poland that sealed our fate, we lost a friendly against Italy (Fabio Capello scored the goal) before Sir Alf took an experimental team to play Portugal.
The irrepressible Bowles was one of six new England caps in Lisbon’s Stadium of Light. The others were Phil Parkes, Mike Pejic, Martin Dobson, Dave Watson and Trevor Brooking.
Rodney Marsh had been the hero No.10 for Rangers fans. Now it was Bowles, with his great touch, his timing, his personality. He knew where the goal was too, scoring 70 League goals for the R's.
Bowles was involved in some good early moves against the Portuguese. His short-corner routine with Brooking ended with Mick Channon thudding a header against the bar. But it was a start that England couldn’t maintain. It finished 0-0 and Sir Alf was sacked. Bowles played four more times for England, scoring in the 2-0 win in Wales.
He remains a Rangers legend.