Collyhurst footballer Stan Bowles has always been something of a maverick.

It was hardly a surprise when he clashed with fiery Manchester City boss Malcolm Allison during his time with the Blues in the late 1960s.

And even less of a surprise when he fell out with combative future Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty at Queens Park Rangers.

Brian Kidd and Stan Bowles watch a Sunday morning match in Moston, October 1967

Brian Kidd and Stan Bowles watch a Sunday morning match in Moston, October 1967

When asked if he believed what Docherty had promised him, Bowles famously replied: ‘I’d rather trust my chickens with Colonel Sanders!’

In another well publicised incident, again with QPR, Bowles allegedly sent the FA Cup flying from its perch at Roker Park, Sunderland, when he kicked a football against it.

Sunderland were parading the trophy at the Second Division match in May 1973 after famously winning it against Leeds United. According to Bowles, players were betting on who could hit the cup first!

Stan Bowles celebrates being called up for the England squad, March 1974

Stan Bowles celebrates being called up for the England squad, March 1974

The home crowd, of course, reacted wildly – but Bowles went on to score twice in a 3-0 victory for QPR which ended in a pitch invasion.

QPR manager Gordon Jago later said it was defender Tony Hazell who accidentally struck the cup with a clearance, but the story remains a good one!

Bowles, born in Collyhurst in December 1948, began his football career as an apprentice at Manchester City in 1967.

Not keen on flying, Stan Bowles plays cards on a train back from Newcastle, January 1976

Not keen on flying, Stan Bowles plays cards on a train back from Newcastle, January 1976

He developed as a talented forward and midfielder but his spirited temperament led to a series of off-field incidents that never sat well with coach Allison.

Bowles’ passion for the game, however, was never in doubt. He even used to watch Sunday morning matches with his friend Brian Kidd, then a United player.

Our photo shows the pair on the touchline on a soggy pitch in Moston in October 1967 after both had been booked playing against each other for their respective First Division clubs the previous day!

Stan Bowles in action against Leeds United, April 1976

Stan Bowles in action against Leeds United, April 1976

After a brief spell at Bury Town in 1970, lasting all of five matches, Bowles signed for Fourth Division Crewe Alexandra under manager Ernie Tagg.

Bowles made 51 appearances for Crewe, scoring 18 goals, before moving to Second Division Carlisle United in October 1971. He was also beginning to catch the eye of scouts from bigger clubs.

After playing 36 times for Carlisle and notching up 13 goals, Bowles was signed by Second Division QPR for a transfer fee of £110,000 in September 1972.

Malcolm Allison who coached Stan Bowles at Manchester City, December 1969

Malcolm Allison who coached Stan Bowles at Manchester City, December 1969

Oddly enough, he was replacing QPR legend Rodney Marsh who six months earlier had signed for Bowles’ former club Manchester City.

The prospect might have daunted many other players – but not Bowles. He just said he was from the North so hadn’t heard much about Marsh!

Bowles became a firm favourite at QPR, spending seven years there from 1972 to 1979. He made 255 league appearances for the London club, scoring 70 goals.

Joe Mercer during his spell as England manager, April 1974

Joe Mercer during his spell as England manager, April 1974

Perhaps his crowning season was 1975-6 when QPR finished second in the First Division, one point behind champions Liverpool – a brilliant achievement considering the team were only promoted two years earlier.

The manager at Loftus Road at the time was Dave Sexton, who left in 1977 to take charge at Manchester United. After his departure, Bowles fell out with new boss Tommy Docherty who forced him to train with the reserves.

It was during his days at QPR that Bowles made his England debut. He won his first cap against Portugal in April 1974 in what proved to be Sir Alf Ramsey’s last match in charge of the England team.

Rodney Marsh playing for Manchester City, December 1975

Rodney Marsh playing for Manchester City, December 1975

Bowles then played under caretaker manager Joe Mercer, the former boss of Manchester City, and new England manager Don Revie, once the skipper of Manchester City.

In all, Bowles made five appearances for England, scoring only once in a 2-0 win against Wales at Ninian Park in 1974.

In December 1979, Bowles was sold to Nottingham Forest where he came up against one of football’s most mercurial managers – Brian Clough.

Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty with the FA Cup, May 1977

Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty with the FA Cup, May 1977

Sparks were bound to fly – and they did. Bowles removed himself from Forest’s victorious 1980 European Cup final after Clough refused to let him take part in John Robertson’s testimonial match.

After playing only 23 games for Forest and scoring twice, Bowles was shipped out to Leyton Orient for £100,000. 

He then moved to Brentford before retiring in February 1984 and becoming a pundit for Sky Sports.

Thanks to his talent and personality, Bowles remains a cult icon. Indie rock band the Others even released a single in his name. He is also the life chairman of the QPR supporters’ association.