Bower Ronnie Image 1 Millwall 1938

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Description

Wrexham, Flintshire born right back Ronnie “Bill” Bower began his senior football career with Third Division (North) club New Brighton, making his Football League debut at Rochdale two days after Christmas 1932, playing three more matches during the following two weeks. He made 22 appearances for The Rakers during the 1932-33 season but played just once more in February 1935 before joining non-league outfit South Liverpool later the same year. He returned to Football League action when he signed for First Division club Bolton Wanderers in January 1936, and where he made three top flight appearances during 1936-37 for The Trotters before moving to London to play for Millwall in June 1937, however he failed to feature in Millwall’s 1937-38 Third Division (South) Championship team, although he stayed with them as they moved into the higher division.

The outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 curtailed his professional career without ever making a first team appearance for Millwall, but during the War Bower did make guest appearances for a number of clubs. He made 39 appearances for Southend United, 40 appearances scoring once for his first club New Brighton, and 44 appearances for Aldershot, scoring five goals. Bower then joined Southern League club Colchester United as a guest player for their 1945-46 campaign, where he made ten appearances prior to signing a full time contract with the club on 28th November 1945. Bower was ever-present for an entire season where Colchester used 80 players, playing all 20 league fixtures and 10 cup ties, being one of only four players to be retained at the end of the 1945-46 season.

With Colchester’s squad already possessing two players by the name of Ronald, manager Syd Fieldus decided to refer to Bower as Bill, owing to his middle name of William. In his second season with the club, Bower made a further 30 League appearances, seven Southern League Cup games and two FA Cup outings, missing just one game all season. Bower stepped aside to allow the developing Digger Kettle to progress in Colchester’s first team for the 1947-48 season, during which The U’s produced one of the most notable FA Cup runs by a non-league side, defeating fellow non-leaguers Banbury Spencer in the first round, before beating Football League clubs Wrexham, Huddersfield Town and Bradford Park Avenue. They finally fell to Blackpool in the fifth round. This set them in good stead for potential election to the Football League.

Meantime Bower was acting as cover whilst captaining and coaching the reserve team in the Eastern Counties League. After failing to make an appearance in the 1948-49 season, Bower undertook an FA coaching badge during the 1949-50 season, while spending the summer months providing local schools with his coaching knowledge. He made his final two Colchester United appearances during the season, replacing the injured Kettle for games against Hereford United and Dartford on 1st October 1949. Bower left Colchester to join Sudbury Town at the end of 1949 after 45 post-war appearances, where he played until his playing retirement in 1956.

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