Gary Rowell

Gary Rowell Brighton & Hove Albion
Gary Rowell

An accomplished attacking midfielder Gary Rowell was worshiped by the fans on Wearside during a twelve year career with Sunderland, but was sadly unable to reproduce his excellent form away from Roker Park.

The son of John Rowell, the former Bournemouth, Wrexham and Aldershot forward, Gary played junior football in his native Seaham before joining the Roker staff as an apprentice in 1972. After turning professional in July 1974, the local youngster went on to become one of the club’s greatest heroes of recent times, scoring 99 goals in nearly 300 League and Cup games.

Top scorer in five of his ten seasons as a professional, he converted no fewer than 24 penalties and won an England under-21 cap in 1977 However, all good things come to an end, and Gary’s Sunderland career finished in 1984 following a dispute over the terms of his contract.

He moved on to Norwich City, but his time at Carrow Road was wrecked by injury and twelve months later he returned to his native North-East with Middlesbrough. ‘Boro, though, went into receivership during the 1986 close season and, with Ayresome Park padlocked, Gary was released to join the Albion in August 1986; Brighton manager Alan Mullery, in his second spell at the helm, thus finally signed a man he had pursued in the “Seagulls'” First Division days.

The classy midfielder’s debut came somewhat ironically at his spiritual home, Roker Park, but he was unable to establish himself in the Albion side until December, and then a toe injury suffered on 27 December effectively ended his career in Sussex.

Making only three more appearances before his contract was paid up in February 1988, Gary joined Dundee on a month’s contract and also had spells with Carlisle United (March 1988) and then Burnley (close season 1988), where he made nineteen appearances in the Fourth Division before he left the Football League.

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