|Debut:||06-Nov-26, League, (A) v. Bohemians|
Inside-forward cum wing-half Bill Gowdy was one of the many Northern Ireland players who found themselves double-jobbing in the 1926-27 season, attracted to Dundalk by the promises of manager-coach Joe McCleery while continuing to lineout in the Irish League. He was also one of seven players introduced to the Athletic Grounds by McCleery who would receive full International Caps with Northern Ireland—Frank Rushe, Billy Pollock, Bertie Fulton, Jackie Coulter, Hugh Blair and Billy Mitchell.
Duncairn Olympic, Cliftonville Olympic, Highfield, Duncairn Old Boys, NCC in the Amateur League and then a second stint at Cliftonville Olympic, was Bill’s progression to a first team slot with Cliftonville in the 1926-27 season and a place in their Irish Cup final team when Ards came back from a 2-nil half-time deficit to lift the Cup with three second half goals.
‘Is fleet of foot…at the NCC Sports he headed the field in the 100 and 220 yards races.….on the small side but exceedingly clever…his footwork is neat and bewildering to the opposition…has rare command over the ball and can kill a lively sphere with grace and ease…’ [Ireland’s Saturday Night March 1927].
During the 1926-27 season he lined out twice with Dundalk in League games, on Nov 6 v. Bohemians, and Dec 12 v. Shelbourne. A move to Ards for the following season brought the first of four Inter-League Caps. A successful trial with Second Division Hull City led to his transfer in June 1929 and although Hull were relegated in his first season his performances earned him his first International cap in Sept 1931.
After an unsuccessful stint with First Division Sheffield Wednesday—just two match appearances during the 1931-32 year—and a brief 4-match stay with Gateshead, Bill returned home, spending the next two seasons with Linfield, collecting a League Championship medal in 1934-35, three further International caps and two more Inter-League caps.
His sixth and final Irish cap came at Hibernians (1935-36). Spells with Goole Town (whom he captained in 1936-37 to the Yorkshire League title) and Altrincham (1937-38, Cheshire County League) preceded his last English League involvement, when he was with Aldershot in the last pre-war year of 1938-39. During the 1940-41 War-time North Regional League he lineout in a number of games with Hull City.