A player who represented Exeter City over two spells, between 1973-1976 and 1977-1980, Keith Bowker made 203 appearances for the Grecians in total.
He began his career with Birmingham City as a talented forward featuring in a team which lifted the FA Youth Cup. In 1973, he opted for a move to the Grecians where he netted 38 times. Spells at Cambridge United and Northampton Town followed before he returned to St James Park to register a further 28 goals. Bowker rounded off his career in Devon spending time with the likes of Torquay United and Bideford.
Ben Strange caught up with the former Grecian, who regularly watches City matches, to talk about some of his first, best and worst moments at the club.
...game for Exeter City
That match was at Workington away. It was mine and Peter Hatch’s debuts and there were around 690 people there, that was all. It’s something that stays in your mind. It was absolutely freezing that day, and we went up and I remember after the game the players had to have their shoelaces cut because they were all frozen! Jonny Newman came up to me and Peter Hatch and said: “They’re not all like this by the way!” It was a bit of an eye opener, and with only 690 people there, we were a bit confused.
Oh, Jimmy Greaves, definitely. I got the chance to play against him and, believe it or not, it was in a reserve game against Tottenham Hotspur and Steve Perryman played as well! I recall it because I spoke to Steve about it last year. Greaves played, Perryman and Alan Gilzean, it was a midweek game and I think they were playing because they were being rested from the first team or they were coming back from injury. Particularly with Greaves, I think it was around the time when he was coming to the end of his days at Spurs. He went off at half time having scored three goals! What a memory.
...memories of St James Park
I loved every minute of playing at that stadium. The trouble is it comes and goes so quick, but I absolutely loved it at Exeter. I liked the players that I played with, and they’re still around now and we love going to the games together. There’s around nine of us ex pros that go the home games.
...goal for Exeter City
I’m not sure about an individual goal, but I can remember scoring a hat trick playing away from home against Hereford. I was told at the time that it was a perfect hat trick- right foot, left foot and a header. At St James Park, I can remember when I wasn’t in the side, I was sub and the crowd was chanting for me to come on which was really good to hear.
...moment in a City shirt
Going to play against Liverpool, I think. When you go and play against the best it’s always nice to go and test yourselves. It’s certainly the type of memory that you don’t forget.
...player you played with
I’d probably have to say Alan Beer. He had everything, he was quick, he scored goals, he created goals and he was going onto better things until he had a bad injury which was a real shame.
...moment in a City shirt
That’s a really tough question, actually, but I can remember playing against Cambridge United. We played the game at St James Park, and to put it lightly, they were taking the mickey which was very hard. When you’re trying to make it as a professional footballer and the other team are taking the mickey out of you, it was very hard to take and that’s why there were a few kicks in that match.
...tackle you’ve received or done
To be honest I can’t remember anything too violent that I’ve suffered and I don’t recall doing any bad challenges myself.
...decision against you
Again, there weren’t any that really stick in the mind. Overall I look back on my time at Exeter City with a smile as I enjoyed every minute I played for the club. I enjoy following the team now and I’ve enjoyed some fantastic results this season.
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