The unique Stan Bowles

Friday, 29 March 2024 | News, In Focus, Heritage, Memorial

Each player would prepare in different ways. Stan Bowles was a late changer, never putting his kit on before 2.30pm and often not until 2.40. Fred Callaghan let them do their own thing. Jonathan Burchill has compiled this collection of facts and figures to remind us that Stan was unique  
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He first played at Griffin Park in 1971 when he was with Crewe Alexandra. Bees keeper Gordon Phillips saved when a ball was flicked through to Bowles.

He narrowed the angle well and safely gathered the shot. Bees won 3-1.

On that day, Bowles was watched by scouts from Ipswich, Norwich and Fulham.





In that last week of October 1981, Brentford signed Chris Kamara, 23, from Portsmouth as part of a swap deal with winger David Crown.

Then ex-England international (5 caps) Stan Bowles, 32, joined from Leyton Orient.



Pre match with Burnley, Bowles was only able to have one training session with his new teammates, and Kamara was with them for just under a week. Their debuts attracted the largest Griffin Park crowd of the season so far of 6,929. It ended 0-0. Bowles was booked, Kamara was Man of the Match.



Later in the season manager Fred Callaghan gave an insight into the pre-match routine of the team. He announced the team to the players the day before the match, and for home games they would report to Griffin Park an hour before kick-off…..Each player would prepare in different ways. Stan Bowles was a late changer, never putting his kit on before 2.30pm and often not until 2.40.

Fred let them do their own thing.


In May 82, despite losing 1-2 to Reading in the final game of the season, and finishing 8th in the 3rdTier, Stan Bowles was carried off the pitch shoulder high.

In October 82, “The Bees Band”, which included Stan Bowles, released a (45 rpm) record.The A-side was a song called “Come on you Brentford”, with “Somebody Gimme The Ball” on the reverse.


At around 11:30pm on Tuesday 1 February 1983, a fire broke out in the boiler room near the players’ tunnel of the Braemar Road stand. The club’s maintenance man, Alec Banks, who had worked at the club for ten years, had been asleep in a room at the ground. Stan Bowles’s wife, Jane, who lived in Braemar Road, had been woken by the fire, knew he was there, and went to wake him. Alec ran to the press box and dialled 999.

Fred Callaghan

Manager Fred Callaghan admitted that when he gave a team talk, he told Stan Bowles he didn’t have to join, as they both knew he would respond by playing as only he could on matchdays. He left at the end of the 1982-83 season but re-signed in December 1983 on a week-to-week basis (to help out with an injury crisis). He was released when new manager Frank McLintock (a former team-mate from QPR) took over in February 1984.

Wore the number 10 shirt for all 95 league & cup games he started.
Was captain 5 times.

Only Jim McNichol, Chris Kamara & Gary Roberts were in the starting XI of his 1st & last games He scored 11 penalties (1 missed), which ranks him at 4th highest for Brentford.


May 1987 Griffin Park hosted a testimonial game for him against QPR.

He switched sides during the match and scored a Brentford penalty as the visitors won 3-2 Crowd of 7,049 raised £17,361.

It was the 2nd best attendance of the season and higher than the home average of 3,684.

He returned to Stripes Bar at Griffin Park when it hosted an evening with Stan Bowles on 9 September 2004 as he talked about his new autobiography.




In 2010 the game with Peterborough was a celebration of 121 years since the club was founded.

At half-time, some former players were invited onto the pitch, including Peter Gelson, Ken Horne, and Stan Bowles.


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