Stan Bowles - the legend - the character - the maverick - and there are many other names that I could call him and that he has probably been called before (good and bad).
It was during his time in the latter part of his career at Orient that I personally had a minor run-in with Bowles as my father and I were leaving Corley Services on the M6 near Coventry. I recognised John Chiedozie flying past me as the Orient team coach had just pulled in. As we walked beside the coach, we could see manager Jimmy Bloomfield having a quiet snooze near the front whilst near the back of the coach clouds of smoke were clearly visible. As we reached that part of the coach we looked in to see Bowles alongside Ian Moores and several other players involved in a game of poker. Bowles was armed with a cigar and upon realising that we were looking in, blasted a whole load of obscenities at us through the window although we could not hear them - I am assuming this by his aggressive body language at the time!
Bowles would make 315 appearances for Rangers scoring 97 goals and was a regular in the side that came so close to winning the league title in 1975-76. Naturally this success along with flair and natural playing ability saw international recognition rewarded and he made his England debut against Portugal in 1974 which happened to be Sir Alf Ramsey's last game in charge. Despite his abilities sadly he would only get 5 caps for his country scoring 1 goal. Bowles was therefore put into the same category of other flair players of the era (Currie, Worthington, Hudson etc) who were mainly overlooked at international level as England settled for "safer options".
A dispute between Bowles and then manager of QPR Tommy Docherty saw him sold to Nottingham Forest where he never really settled under Brian Clough. A year later he started to wind down his career with Orient and finished it in 1984 with his three last years being spent at Brentford.
Bowles was interviewed for Sky's "Times of Our Lives" show which gathers together players from an era of a club to have a nostalgic look back at that period in time. Along with Dave Thomas and Gerry Francis who also appeared it is quite clear that Bowles maverick ways were legendary all the way through his time at Loftus Road. From his many gambling traits to even using a van that had been used in an arm robbery the day before - Bowles was not only a personality on the pitch but off of it and his stories are quite something!
Here some links to some other in-depth material regarding Bowles.
From The Guardian - Did Stan Bowles take a pot shot at the FA Cup?
From The Daily Mail - Interview with Stan and more on Sunderland and the FA Cup incident
An interview recorded in 2004 with BBC Radio Nottingham about his time at Nottingham Forest can be heard below (may not be available on some mobile devices)
There are three videos to accompany this article. In the first one (at the top of this article) we see action from the 1975-76 season along with interviews with Bowles, Gerry Francis and Emlyn Hughes talking about life with England under Don Revie. The video finishes with Bowles viewpoint on the same situation that happened between Hughes and Revie.
The other two videos concentrate more on the interview from the “Time of Our Lives” show which featured Bowles along with Gerry Francis and Dave Thomas as the three guests. It is obvious even from these clips that Bowles charisma still has an affect on those around to this day!
There were loads of articles on the old site and I have began to transfer some of the most popular ones over to this site.