In a nine-year professional career dogged by injury and illness, Ossie Bowden made fewer than 30 first-team appearances for his four clubs. He was developed as an amateur by Newcastle Swifts, Newcastle United’s nursery club, but signed as professional for Derby County in May 1930 and played in ten First Division matches in five years at the Baseball Ground.
Ossie moved to Nottingham Forest in June 1935 where he again failed to win a regular place, he scored three times in fourteen Second Division matches, and in May 1937 Charlie Webb brought him to the Goldstone for the not inconsiderable fee of £400. He enjoyed just one outing in the absence of Jimmy Cargill, however, and was released at the end of the season to join Southampton on a free transfer. After two games for the ‘Saints’ in 1938-39, Ossie was released, and the outbreak of war shortly afterwards effectively brought his senior career to an end.