Record goalscorer Ken Bowron reflects on time with Gers

Ken Bowran Berwick Rangers
Ken Bowran Berwick Rangers

Former Berwick striker Ken Bowron was back at Shielfield Park on Saturday, exactly 50 years after his record-breaking 50-goal season.

Bowron, 74, was a guest speaker at Berwick Rangers Supporters’ Trust’s AGM and spoke about his life and career in football.

Ken Bowran Berwick Rangers

Ken Bowran Berwick Rangers

After starting as a goalkeeper in the youth ranks at Newcastle United, he became a striker through sheer luck after turning up to one junior game as a spectator.

With only 10 players on the field and a keeper already in place, Bowron started in attack and netted four times in a 4-0 win over Grimsby Juniors.

He said: “We won the league and cup that season and when the whole team was rewarded with professional terms, I declined as I wanted to be a sports teacher so went to Loughborough University.”

When he was there, Bowron hit 69 goals in a season, alerting Nottingham Forest, where he played a couple of reserve team games with one notable opponent; 1966 World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore.

He then moved up to Berwick with his wife as both got teaching jobs in the town and continued to play for Whitley Bay and then Crook Town while constantly being urged to turn out for the Gers.

And he eventually did as a trialist against Queen’s Park one Wednesday night.

“All the school kids had come to watch and we were 4-2 down with two minutes left,” he recalls.

“I then scored twice to make it 4-4 and the place went wild.”

Bowron signed for Berwick in the summer of 1963 in what was to be a memorable season.

He scored 33 league goals and 16 in the cup, the most famous coming in the Scottish League Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden Park.

“I got the ball and flicked it around the defender one way and ran the other.

“I collected it and ran goal-ward before firing into the top corner with my weaker foot.

“It was without doubt the greatest goal I ever scored and the highlight of my career.”

As the season came to a close, Bowron netted twice in each of the last three league games to finish on 49 goals before counting a friendly goal against Ashington to reach the milestone.

And after 30 goals in his second season, he signed for Workington for £2,500 but was back at Berwick soon after and recalls some intense training sessions with Jock Wallace, who went on to manage Rangers.

“Jock took us to the dunes at Scremerston where some of the players were physically sick and I couldn’t play an upcoming friendly as I just couldn’t move.”

Bowron was released by Wallace’s successor Harry Melrose in 1969 and hadn’t been in touch with the club since he left until a chance meeting six years ago.

“My daughter was in the town and saw a Supporters’ Trust stall on the High Street.

“She said that I used to play for Berwick and before long we were in touch.

“I was made guest a few years ago and that pleased me as I’ve got many happy memories of my time here.”