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Gordon Cowans
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Personal information
Full name Gordon Sidney Cowans
Date of birth October 27, 1958 (1958-10-27) (age 51)
Place of birth    West Cornforth, County Durham, England
Height 5ft 7in (1.69m)
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
Aston Villa
A.S. Bari
Aston Villa
Blackburn Rovers
Aston Villa
Derby County
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Sheffield United
Bradford City
Stockport County
286 (42)
094 0(3)
117 0(7)
050 0(2)
011 0(0)
036 0(0)
037 0(0)
021 0(0)
025 0(0)
007 0(0)
006 0(0)   
National team
England B
002 0(0)
010 0(2)

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Gordon Sidney Cowans (born 27 October 1958 in West Cornforth, County Durham) is an English retired football player and coach.

Cowans started his career at Aston Villa as an apprentice in 1974, and signed as a professional in 1976. During his time at Aston Villa, he won the League Cup, the League Championship, the European Cup and the European Super Cup.

Cowans left Aston Villa for the first time in 1985, signing for Bari. He then returned to Aston Villa in 1988 and left again in 1991 moving to Blackburn Rovers. When he left Blackburn he went back to Aston Villa, before moving to Derby County, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sheffield United, Bradford City, Stockport County and finally Burnley.

He was also capped 10 times by England at international level scoring two goals, against Scotland and Egypt.

Cowans has returned once again to Aston Villa in a coaching role, and now looks after their youth academy.


Playing career


Aston Villa first spell

Although born in County Durham, Cowans came to Villa as an apprentice in 1974 at 15, and was part of the talented youth team that won the FA Youth Cup, an early indication of his talent. He soon made his first team debut, on the 7 February 1976 as a substitute aged 17 whilst still an apprentice. At this time, he became a member of the England youth team. Progress continued and he was soon a regular in the Villa first team during the season Villa won the League Cup against Everton, and in 1979 he was voted PFA Young Player of the Year. In the 1980–81 season, Cowans won the league with Villa, and during the following season, the European Cup, on 26 May 1982. Cowans then broke his leg during a pre-season friendly in Spain and missed the whole 1983–84 season; upon regaining full fitness he was sold to Bari in 1985 for a fee of £250,000.[1]

In his first spell at Villa he played 286 games scoring 42 goals. He also won the PFA young player of the year award, a league championship, a European Cup and a European Cup.

A.S. Bari

Over the course of three seasons in Italy, Cowans made 94 appearances for Bari, scoring three goals.

Aston Villa second spell

During Cowans' transfer to Bari, Villa had retained the option of first refusal to buy him back should Bari decide to sell him; in 1988, Graham Taylor took up this option - much to the pleasure of Villa supporters - and Villa went on to finish as runners-up in the league during the 1989/90 season, before Taylor left the club to manage England.

During his second spell at Aston Villa, Cowans made 117 appearances, scoring seven times.

Blackburn Rovers

Ron Atkinson sold Cowans on 28 November 1991 for £200,000 to Blackburn Rovers in which he helped them gain promotion. In his time at Ewood Park he played 50 times, scoring twice.

Aston Villa third spell

He then signed on a free transfer on back to his beloved Villa on 5 July 1993. By the time he had left Villa for the last time he had played a total of 453 games scoring 49 goals.

Derby County

Cowans was transferred to Derby County on 3 February 1994 for £200,000. He played a total of 36 times scoring one goal.


Cowans was transferred to Wolves on the 19 December 1994 for £20,000. He made his debut on 26 December 1994 in a 4–1 defeat at Oldham Athletic aged 36. He went on to make 37 appearances for Wolves six of which were as a substitute.[2]

Sheffield United

Cowans played 21 times for Sheffield United, scoring no goals.

Bradford City

Cowans was signed by Chris Kamara in 1996 for Bradford City following their promotion to Division One. He made a total of 25 league appearances (one as substitute) and two League Cup games, without scoring, before being given a free transfer to Stockport County in March 1997.

Stockport County

In his short time with Stockport Cowans made seven appearances, scoring no goals.


Cowans played six times for Burnley, scoring no goals.

Coaching career

Cowans started his coaching career at Burnley before moving back to Villa Park for a fourth time to become youth team coach.

Playing Honours

Aston Villa England

  • Football League Cup
  • League Championship
  • European Cup
  • European Super Cup

External links



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