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Club News


18 July 2012

Richard Day looks back on the career of the inside-forward

Peter Tasker Sowden was born in Bradford on May 1st 1929.

Paddy, as he was better known in football, began his playing career as an amateur at Blackpool, signing junior forms in 1945 before turning professional two years later.

After a season at Bacup Borough he moved to Hull City. He did his National Service in the Royal Engineers, where he gained a physical instructors certificate, and he was able to appear for both Elgin City and Aldershot where he made 4 appearances before returning to Hull.

His opportunities were limited however and in August 1952 Gillingham manager Archie Clark paid out £3,000 to bring him to Priestfield Stadium. Small in stature he may have been at 5' 5" but he had plenty of natural ability, he was a crowd pleaser and whatsmore he also knew where the goal was.

He made his Gills debut on the opening day of the 1952-53 campaign in a 2-1 away win at Newport County but had to wait nearly a month before scoring his first goal - in a 2-1 loss at Coventry City.

After scoring 28 goals in 140 appearances, in all competitions for the Gills, he left the club in the summer of 1956 after turning down a new offer and returned north, signing for Accrington Stanley in a £4,000 deal.

While at Peel Park he scored another 13 goals in 54 games before moving onto Wrexham where an injury forced him to leave the professional game.

He continued in the non-league circle around the north-west region which included player-manager posts at both Great Harwood and Darwen.

In the early Seventies he was youth team manager at Blackpool, assistant-manager at Luton Town and Cambridge United, under John Docherty, then stepping up to become general-manager at the Abbey Stadium in 1977. In 1980 he moved to Canada to become general manager of Vancouver Whitecaps where he oversaw a team which included the likes of Bruce Grobbelaar, Peter Beardsley, Steve Kember and Peter Lorimer.

Paddy was one of the former players that returned to Priestfield Stadium for the Centenary game back in 1993. 

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