Player name in full: Samuel Cowan
To/from dates: As player: 1924-1935, as Manager: 1946-1947
Number of appearances: 407
Goals scored: 24
Biography and City Career:
Sam Cowan was born in Chesterfield on 10th May 1901
Sam was signed from Doncaster Rovers, making his debut in December 1924 against Birmingham City. The defender’s reputation for his magnificent heading ability grew quickly earning him respect from his fellow professionals. Teammate Matt Busby said of Sam, “he could head a ball as far as most of us could kick it.”
Sam’s record of being the only man to represent City in 3 FA Cup finals stood from 1934 to 2019. Although on the losing side in 1926 & 1933 it was third time lucky as he lifted the trophy for Manchester City in 1934. In 1933 as Cowan received his runner up medal from the Duke of York, he remarked City would come back next year to win.
Sam’s many attributes ensured he was a great team captain. He excelled in making nervous players feel at ease before important matches by reassuring them of their qualities.
Sam played 3 times for England; he made his debut against Belgium in May 1926 as left half rather than as centre half where he played for City.
During Sam’s time at City the team won promotion from Division Two as champions in 1928 and finished third in Division One in 1930.
In December 1946 Sam accepted the role of manager at Manchester City. He was still living in the south of England and took the appointment with the proviso he could live in Brighton with his family then travel up to Manchester from midweek before returning home immediately after the game. After a fantastic start City played 30 games with only 4 defeats becoming Division Two champions thus gaining promotion. During the close season Cowan resigned as manager. Neither club nor manager gave reasons, but rumours of friction behind the scenes or the strain of commuting from Brighton were cited in the media. Whatever the reason most City fans were angry as they felt the team had been in the ascendance.
Sam remains one of City’s most popular players and managers of all time
In 1935, aged 34 Sam left the club and signed for Bradford City before joining Mossley as their player manager in 1937. His leaving angered some City fans especially as his replacement failed to excite. After 11 months with Mossley Sam joined Brighton and Hove Albion as coach. Here his reputation for the quality of his physiotherapy work grew.
After leaving City as Manager in 1947 he went on to develop a successful physiotherapy business.