50 years ago, Dowd stepped forth

On this day in 1961 Manchester City were beaten 4-1 by Blackburn Rovers in their Division One game in the penultimate season of Les McDowalls reign as City boss.

This date, however, also saw the debut of Harry Dowd and although he would only make the one other appearance that season would go on to make 219 appearances in goal for City, and even getting on the scoresheet in the process.

Dowd wasn’t as interested in football as he was in other things and it was just a job for the local boy who, as one story went, had to be told, when they played Arsenal, that ‘they’re the ones in red’.

With Dowd being an understudy to German legend Bert Trautmann Dowd did well to even get a decent run in the team in the 62/63 season. That year he made 27 league appearances and was in all but one of Citys cup games. That season City were relegated and manager McDowell was replaced with George Poyser. 

It was that first season in the Second Division in which Dowd and Trautmann reversed their roles with Dowd making the majority of the starts and Trautmann just a handful before leaving at the end of the season. On February 8th 1964 Harry Dowd broke his finger and was unable to continue his role between the posts and as there were no substitutions at that point he was forced to play the rest of the game up front. From there he scored the equalising goal. 

In the Second tier Manchester City struggled for a few seasons until promotion under Mercer in 1966. The arrival of Mercer and Allison revitalised everyone at City and in particular the local boys. Dowd started the first season in the Division One return as first choice but then lost his place due to injury and Alan Ogley replaced him.

The next season played out with almost the same script, this time Dowds replacement was Mulhearn and so missed out on a Championship medal as City stormed to the top of the Division.

The following season Dowd did manage to reclaim his starting place, not least for the heavy criticism received by Mulhearn after the European cup defeat by Fenerbache in the European Cup first round. Dowd made almost all the starts in goal in the League and Cup from October 1968 including the FA Cup winning side and so eventually Dowd had his medal.

At this time a young goalkeeper by the name of Corrigan was making his way and the rest as they say is history. Dowd failed to hold down his first team place and went on loan with Stoke before moving to Oldham although he was given two last games at the end of the 1969/70 season. 

Despite his short stature in comparison to other goalkeepers his reflexes more than made up for that and he would go on to be a good servant for Oldham before retiring in 1974.

PA Cityboy


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