Remembering John Rowland, who played for Vale between the years 1962-1966.
John was born in Riddings, Derbyshire on 7th April 1941. He began his football career on the right wing with Ironville Amateurs before signing for Nottm Forest in 1960. He was also an England youth international and he joined Vale in Aug 1962 for £6,000. He made his debut that month in a 1-0 victory at Wrexham and soon became a regular in the side, being famous for his pace and his ‘hammer-shot’.
In the 1963/64 season he was part of the team that won 2-1 at then First Division Birmingham City in the FA Cup, followed by a 0-0 draw at champions elect Liverpool, losing in the last minute of the replay.
Towards the end of the 1964/65 season he moved across to centre forward and it was a roaring success in 1965/66 as he finished up as top scorer with 23 goals. That contained a spell of scoring in seven successive league games which no Vale player has achieved since. It’s a club record he shares with Wilf Kirkham and Basil Hayward. In total, Rowland scored 43 goals in 166 appearances during his time with the Valiants.
In September 1966 he was sold to Mansfield Town for £6,500 even though he didn’t want to leave, a Vale director told him they needed the money! After two years at Mansfield he played for Tranmere Rovers, South Shields and Derry City. He passed away in Derby hospital.