Mens Team

Gerry Gow: What you see is what you get

Gerry Gow: What you see is what you get
Gerry Gow – a name to turn forwards to quivering jelly at the thought of a possible 50-50 challenge.

And rightly so.

Gow arrived at Maine Road in October 1980 as part of John Bond’s mini-Tartan Army with the intention of giving an ailing City team some much-needed backbone.

He’d been around for quite a while but was well respected within the game and, at £175,000, represented good value for a player who had made 445 appearances for Bristol City.

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Gow, along with Bobby McDonald and Tommy Hutchison, would become the catalysts in an amazing turnaround in our fortunes in 1980/81, helping us climb from the foot of the table to finish tenth and winning a place in the 1981 Centenary FA Cup final against Spurs (not to mention a narrow League Cup semi-final loss to Liverpool).

Gow – eight stone dripping wet - was inspirational in midfield; winning tackles he had no right to win and lifting his teammates and the crowd when games were finely balanced.

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In the autumn of his career, he’d found a club and supporters who appreciated everything he did or attempted to do and must have perhaps rued the fact that, at 28, he was perhaps at the wrong end of his career.

Criminally ignored by a succession of Scotland managers – he would have made a fearsome partner for Graeme Souness – he would win just one Under-23 cap for his country.

The Glasgow-born No.8 loved nothing better than a good scrap but had many more strings to his bow than just being a ball-winner.

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He could pass the ball as well as anyone in the team and was a real threat from any set piece around the opposition’s box.

In short, he was a quality player with a hard edge to his game.

Gow was popular from day one, taking over the shirt of the out-of-sorts Steve Daley and adding a new dimension to the team, growling out instructions to the younger players and leading by example.

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Nobody was more committed to the cause.

The City fans quickly related to his blood and thunder attitude and regularly chanted his name after he’d left some poor opponent prostrate after an explosive, but almost always fair, tackle.

He looked like somebody you wouldn’t want to meet on a darkened street in Paisley with his grey straggly perm and moustache, but he was the type of character you would want alongside you in the trenches.

Injury meant he played only a handful of games the following season and after battling his way back to fitness he was sold to Rotherham United.

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He justifiably felt aggrieved at not being given the chance to continue his City career, but though his star shone briefly at Maine Road, it burned with an intense glow and warmed all those who were lucky enough to witness it.

He would have been loved just as much today as he was back then – and he only played 36 games, scoring seven goals.

Gerry sadly died in October 2016 after a long battle with cancer – he was just 64.

But if you want to see a real hard man of the game in action, watch the moment when a Tottenham fan confronts him on the Wembley pitch in the 1981 FA Cup final and then think better of it as Gerry almost invites him to try his luck…

What a player…

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