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John "Jack" Cowan - Dundee FC 1949-1953

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 10:03 pm
by dpcowan
I've been feeling a little nostalgia lately and doing a bit of reasearch on my uncle Jack. I know very little of the league or the team at the time he played there. He is unfortunately no longer with us and I never really talked much about his career with him when I was younger, he was just my uncle that never got more than 20 feet from a soccer ball. Any information or anecdotes about his playing time there would be appreciated.

One story I do remember him sharing with me when I was younger was that they would buy their boots 2 sizes to small. Then he would put them on with the laces loose and immerse his feet in a tub of water. As the water made the leather more pliable, he would tighten up the laces more and more until he could do them up all the way. That way his boots would be more like a second skin, giving him a better feel for the ball.

Stats and things don't interest me so much as things like how he was regarded by fans and teammates, whether there was any backlash about him being a Canadian born player.

Thank you in advance for any information you can provide.


Drew Cowan

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:37 am
by Scottish
Hi there and welcome to the forum. Norrie Price's history of Dundee -'Up Wi' The Bonnets' - is the best place to look for info regarding Dundee players. I don't know what it says about your Uncle though. It's available on Amazon.

I wouldn't have thought there would have been any 'backlash' about him being Canadian-born. Most Scots - even back then- have a Canadian connection somewhere in their families.

Your Uncle was one of the original inductees in the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame. There's a piece about him here

I know you're not really looking for stats but for the record he played 151 times for Dundee - 115 league, 13 Scottish Cup, 22 League Cup and once in the St Mungo Cup. The highlights of his playing career were appearing in the League Cup winning team in 1951-52 and the losing Scottish Cup Finalists the same season.

Full-backs weren't encouraged to cross the halfway line in those days and his only goal for Dundee came on December 22nd 1951 against Stirling Albion in a league game.

His time at Dundee ended in a dispute between his and the club when he wanted to return to Canada and the Dens side tired to hold on to hsi registration and prevent him from playing elsewhere.

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 4:55 pm
by dpcowan
Thank you for the information. I'll have to try and track down a copy of the book.

Interestingly, I did find a bit in the University of British Columbia newspaper proudly talking about their young student making the big leagues and helping raise the profile of the sport locally.

Page 4 of this document... ... _11_04.pdf

My fathers family did not have a great deal of money and not everyone in it was able to attend university so I know it was a real obligation my Uncle Jack felt to finish of his schooling so he would have a career after sports. He ended up having a very successful career back in Canada.