John Rowlands (1943 – 2020)

Another former Workington player has died with the sad news confirming the passing of John Rowlands.  He was 73.

Born in Liverpool in 1947, John played his football in three countries – England, South Africa and America – but never featured for any clubs on Merseyside.

He was well travelled and had played for Mansfield Town, Torquay United, Exeter City, Cape Town City, Stockport County and Barrow before George Aitken signed him for Reds in 1972.  It was the first of three spells he had with the club.

Home supporters got their first glimpse of big John in a pre-season friendly against Newcastle United (who included Tommy Cassidy) in August, 1972 and he created an immediate impression, scoring twice in a 3-2 victory.  His league debut followed a week later and that was the first of 53 appearances he made for Reds, scoring eleven goals in a sixteen month stay.

He was off on his travels again with a £3,000 deal taking him to Crewe Alexandra but, after a brief stay at Gresty Road, he sampled American soccer for the first time at Seattle.  John returned to England, and a spell in the north east with Hartlepool United, before crossing back over ‘the pond’ for a longer stay serving the likes of San Jose Earthquakes, Oakland Stompers and Tulsa Roughnecks.

John Rowlands

John returned home during the off season and linked up with Reds for a second time in October, 1978 playing in two NPL matches and a friendly (v. Zambia) but, by then, he was operating as a centre half and not the target-man forward.

We welcomed John back a third time in 1986 and he played for the first team and Reserves during the 1986-87 campaign.  In fact, his last goal in a Workington shirt was scored at Parton in a West Cumberland League fixture.

John’s eleven league goals for Reds included strikes against former clubs, Exeter City and Torquay United. Our condolences go to John’s family and friends.

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