Tom Cowan

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Tom Cowan
Personal information
Full name Thomas Cowan [1]
Date of birth (1969-08-28) 28 August 1969 (age 54)
Place of birth Bellshill, Scotland
Position(s) Defender
Youth career
Holytown Colts
Netherdale Boys Club
Senior career*
1988–1989 Clyde 16 (2)
1989–1991 Rangers 12 (0)
1991–1994 Sheffield United 45 (0)
1993–1994Stoke City (loan) 14 (0)
1994Huddersfield Town (loan) 10 (0)
1994–1999 Huddersfield Town 127 (7)
1999–2000 Burnley 20 (1)
2000Cambridge United (loan) 4 (0)
2000–2002 Cambridge United 46 (3)
2002Peterborough United (loan) 5 (1)
2002–2003 York City 33 (1)
2003 Dundee 5 (1)
2003–2005 Carlisle United 52 (3)
2005 Barrow 21 (3)
2006 Workington 20 (1)
2006–2007 Hucknall Town 18 (0)
2007 Stalybridge Celtic 6 (0)
2007–2008 Hyde United 8 (1)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Thomas Cowan (born 28 August 1969) is a Scottish former footballer who played as a defender.


During his career he played for Clyde, Rangers, Sheffield United, Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, Burnley, Cambridge United, Peterborough United, York City, Dundee, Carlisle United, Barrow, Workington, Hucknall Town, Stalybridge Celtic, Hyde United and Retford United. [2] [3]


Cowan was born in Bellshill and began his career with Holytown Colts [4] and Netherdale Boys Club before joining Clyde in 1988; he spent most of the 1988–89 season playing for Clyde while also working in a Lanarkshire steelworks [5] and was then signed by Rangers before the end of that campaign, at the end of which the Glasgow club won the Scottish Premier Division.

Cowan was at Ibrox for another two years, both of which also ended in championship success, but was competing for a place with the experienced Stuart Munro and fellow youngster Chris Vinnicombe and had only a peripheral role. He did feature in the European Cup against Bayern Munich in Germany (the team having lost at home in the first leg), and in what proved to be his final appearance, took part in the title decider in 1991 when a depleted Rangers squad defeated Aberdeen 2–0; however he suffered a broken leg during the match (attempting to play on with the injury for several minutes before being substituted) [6] [7] and the club then signed the left back of the opposition on that day, David Robertson, to fill the position. [5]

He next moved to English club Sheffield United, and played in 24 matches in 1991–92 as the Blades finished 9th in the Football League First Division. They finished in 14th position in 1992–93 (the inaugural season of the new Premier League) with Cowan playing in 25 matches. He lost his place in the side under Dave Bassett [5] and joined Stoke City on loan in 1993–94. He played 18 matches for Stoke, 14 of which came in the league. Cowan joined Huddersfield Town, initially on loan in March 1994, and then permanent for a fee of £150,000 in July 1994.

Cowan enjoyed the most successful period of his career with the Terriers as he made 155 appearances for the club in six seasons (including one in which he did not play at all after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee), [8] helping them gain promotion in 1994–95 and reach the 1994 Football League Trophy final where they lost on penalties to Swansea City. [9] He then had short spells at Burnley, Cambridge United, Peterborough United (scoring once against Wrexham) [10] and York City (scoring once against Bury). [11]

He returned to Scotland in August 2003, joining Dundee. [12] He made his debut for Dundee on 31 August against Kilmarnock [13] and scored on his second appearance in a 2–0 victory over Aberdeen on 20 September. [14] However, after making six appearances for the club his contract was terminated after Dundee entered administration and he joined Carlisle United on 27 November 2003. [15] His first season ended with the Cumbrian club being relegated to the Conference National, though he did help them gain an instant return to the Football League as they beat Stevenage Borough in the play-off final. [16] He decided not to sign a new deal at Brunton Park and was released at the end of the season. [17]

After leaving Carlisle, Cowan joined Barrow in the Conference North. [18] From there he played for Workington, [19] Hucknall Town and Stalybridge Celtic. [20]

After football

After retiring from playing, Cowan became a firefighter and joined the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, [21] [5] speaking of the profession's collective ethos and camaraderie as being similar to his experience as a footballer. Tom is based at Parkway Fire Station and is one of the only ex professional footballers to hold a Turntable Ladder license.

Career statistics

ClubSeasonLeagueFA CupLeague CupOther [A] Total
Clyde 1988–89 Scottish First Division 162000000162
Rangers 1988–89 Scottish Premier Division 4000000040
1989–90 Scottish Premier Division3000001040
1990–91 Scottish Premier Division5010001070
Sheffield United 1991–92 First Division 200102010240
1992–93 Premier League 210103000250
1993–94 Premier League4000000040
Stoke City (loan) 1993–94 First Division140001030180
Huddersfield Town 1993–94 Second Division 100000010110
1994–95 Second Division372204050482
1995–96 First Division432414000513
1996–97 First Division424105100485
1997–98 First Division0000000000
1998–99 First Division5020000070
Burnley 1998–99 Second Division121000000121
1999–2000 Second Division80002010110
Cambridge United 1999–2000 Second Division4000000040
2000–01 Second Division412101000432
2001–02 Second Division5100000051
Peterborough United (loan) 2001–02 Second Division5100000051
York City 2002–03 Third Division 331001000341
Dundee 2003–04 Scottish Premier League 5100001061
Carlisle United 2003–04 Third Division201000000201
2004–05 Conference National 292300050372
Career Total3562016123119041422
A.  ^ The "Other" column constitutes appearances and goals in the Anglo-Italian Cup, Conference National play-offs, Football League Trophy, Football League play-offs, Full Members Cup and UEFA Cup.



Huddersfield Town

Carlisle United


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  1. "Tom Cowan". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  2. "Tom Cowan". Soccerbase. Retrieved 6 August 2007.
  3. "Tom Cowan". SoccerFactsUK. Retrieved 6 August 2007.
  4. Celtic being stunned in cup by Holytown remembered 40 years on, Daily Record, 10 September 2021
  5. 1 2 3 4 Fireman Tom Cowan on life after Sheffield United with Dave Bassett, being spat on at Rangers and feeling the ire of Brian Clough, Danny Hall, Sheffield Star, 17 November 2020
  6. "Rangers and Aberdeen's epic duel for the 1991 Scottish title – 25 years ago". BBC Sport. 11 May 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  7. "Flashback: 1991, Mark Walters and Scott Booth recall their part in Smith's maiden final-day triumph". The Herald . 14 May 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  8. Tom Cowan: From Stoke to Town, Huddersfield Town AFC, 19 November 2020
  9. "Keep it quiet, but Tom Cowan is backing Huddersfield Town in the battle of his former clubs". Huddersfield Examiner. 24 May 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  10. "Peterborough 2-3 Wrexham". BBC Sport. 2 February 2002. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  11. "Bury 2-1 York". BBC Sport. 6 September 2002. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  12. "Cowan poised to join Dundee". BBC Sport. 6 August 2003. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  13. "Two fine strikes combine to enliven one average day". 1 September 2003. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  14. "Dundee end Dons hoodoo". BBC Sport. 20 September 2003. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  15. "Cowan joins Carlisle". BBC Sport. 27 November 2003. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  16. "Stevenage 0–1 Carlisle". BBC Sport. 14 May 2005. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  17. "Defender Cowan leaving Carlisle". BBC Sport. 15 June 2005. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  18. "Barrow snap up ex-Blue Cowan". Carlisle News & Star. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  19. "Reds' alert to snap up Tom Cowan". North-West Evening Mail. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  20. "Tom Cowan on the Move Again". Carlisle United Mad. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  21. "Blades can learn Ibrox lesson". Sheffield Telegraph. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  22. Lynch. The Official P.F.A. Footballers Heroes. p. 150.