Cult Hero 18: Jon Bowden

Cult Hero 18: Jon Bowden

An all-action midfielder with a ‘play anywhere’ mentality, Jon Bowden was a fans favourite of the mid-1980s…

Name: Jon (that’s Jon, not John) Bowden
Cult credentials: All action displays, a team player, fans’ favourite
Time at Vale: 1985-1987
Games: 86
Goals: 7

Jon Bowden always had the right credentials to be a cult hero.

A strapping six footer with flowing, albeit receding, blonde locks, his all energy displays in the midfield engineroom (and occasionally as an emergency forward) quickly endeared him to the Vale crowd.

A strapping six footer with flowing, albeit receding, blonde locks…

He certainly made the required start for future cult heroes, playing through the considerable pain of a dislocated elbow during his debut – a 4-1 win over Cambridge United in 1985.

One of Bowden’s most memorable games was against the team who were then Vale’s deadliest rivals – Walsall.

Vale had an injury to striker Richard O’Kelly, so Bowden was forced to play upfront partnering Andy Jones. Jones opened the scoring, then made it 2-0 from the penalty spot after Bowden’s shot was handled on the line. Bowden himself made it three and Robbie Earle completed the Vale scoring.

This game has been recently featured in Phil Sherwin’s Memory Match column in the Sentinel and Bowden was interviewed for the piece.

He commented: “My main role was in midfield, but with Richard O’Kelly being out, the gaffer (John Rudge) had tried different players up front and I was surprised that he asked me to have a go at it. I must have done well enough because I stayed there for the next game, against Walsall, and scored as well, but I’d play anywhere if asked.”

That quote really sums Bowden up and his willingness to play anywhere to benefit the team. Bowden only lasted two years at Vale before he moved on to Wrexham, but although his time at the club was short, he’ll always be fondly remembered.

And in no small measure that’ll be thanks to his efforts in downing the old enemy!

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