Forfar, Angus born inside left or centre forward Adam Bowman began his football career with St Johnstone in 1899 from where he joined East Stirlingshire. He made only one appearance for The Shire in 1900-01 and left for a brief spell at St Bernard’s before returning to East Stirlingshire, where he scored 10 goals in 10 appearances in the early part of 1901-02, soon having the scouts flocking to have him pen his signature. Everton duly signed him in January 1902, his debut coming in a Merseyside derby FA Cup tie at Anfield in a 2-2 draw, he also played in the replay a few days later at Goodison Park which was lost 2-0. He had to wait until March for his Football League debut which came in a win at Small Heath (now Birmingham City) and he played 3 more matches before Easter, scoring in a 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday.
However he continued on the fringes of first team action for Everton the following season, although he was the leading goalscorer for the Everton Reserves with nine goals in 1902-03 season before being signed by Blackburn Rovers, in dire need of a trusted goalscorer as they were deep in relegation trouble, in March 1903 after 3 goals in 11 appearances for The Toffees, and one of his first actions was to return to Goodison Park for his sixth match as a Rover on Easter Monday and score a brace in a 3-0 win. Four days later Bowman scored another two goals in a 3-1 victory over Newcastle United and these two results meant that Grimsby Town, rather than Blackburn Rovers was relegated from the First Division.
Bowman scored 9 goals in 20 appearances the next campaign as Blackburn continued to struggle towards the lower reaches of the First Division but surely as Bowman’s contributions improved, so did Rovers’ League position, and Bowman returned 13 goals in 1904-05 and 15 goals in 1905-06, including a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in February 1906, and was Blackburn’s top goalscorer both seasons as Rovers improved to ninth place. Bowman only played a few more games in 1906-07 before moving to Southern League club Brentford in May 1907 after 45 goals in 104 appearances for Blackburn Rovers, but he stayed only a single season at Griffin Park, although he netted an impressive 21 goals in 32 appearances for The Bees, which attracted the attention of new Leeds City manager Frank Scott-Walford, who signed him for City in May 1908.
Bowman showed up well in pre-season trials for City, snatching a hat-trick as the prospective first team beat the reserves by five goals to nil. The Mercury reported that he “was repeatedly in evidence, and proved himself a deadly shot, who should do much to remedy the old weakness in front of goal”, but he never seemed to establish himself ahead of Billy McLeod, Tom Rodger and Jimmy Gemmell as their regular striker and scored 7 goals in 16 appearances during his single season with Leeds. He never again played League football after departing Elland Road, playing for Portsmouth in the Southern League from November 1909 and, back in Scotland, Forfar Athletic in 1910-11, then Leith Athletic in 1911-12. He captained his hometown club from centre half and scored 7 goals in 22 appearances while with Leith Athletic. He returned to England with Lancashire Combination club Accrington Stanley in March 1912 before finally retiring from the game.