|BOWSER--THE FANS FAVOURITE||28th February 2004|
Over the years, Queens' fans have had many heroes--Billy Houliston, Roy Henderson, Allan Ball, Jimmy Robertson, Tommy Bryce and Andy Thomson to name but a few. However their present day favourite is undoubtedly Steve Bowey--better known of course as 'Bowser'.
Right from the day he first arrived at Palmerston he endeared himself to the fans with his robust style of play and his never-say-die attitude and he in turn openly admits to having a tremendous rapport with the Queens supporters. Says Steve "When I hear them chant 'Bowser's gonna get you' it really winds me up and makes me feel as if I could run through a brick wall. I imagine it's the same kind of feeling the Scottish players get when they hear 'Flower of Scotland' on the bagpipes before a game. I had a great time with them at the 'Player of the Year' night back in May, I won four awards and thoroughly enjoyed myself. They really are something special".
Born in Durham, Steve started football at an early age turning out for Chester-le-Street Comprehensive and then County Durham. When he was 16 he joined the Army and spent the next four years touring the world but, of course, playing football as well. "I've played in some really amazing places" he admits "West Germany, Cyprus, the South of France and in Holland for an Army XI against the Dutch Under-21 side. Their team was made up of players from clubs such as Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord and included several who went on to become big stars. We also played the Belgian Under-21s. My role was marking Philip Albert who was signed by Newcastle a few weeks later. I'll never forget turning out for the Combined Services XI in Thailand. Our opponents were an International XI, the match was played in Bangkok in front of a 50,000 crowd. It was some atmosphere". After leaving the Army Steve had a brief spell with Forest Green in the Vauxhall Conference League before being signed by Bristol Rovers. He was four years with the English Second Division side then moved back to his native North East to play for Gateshead. "It was the Conference League again and we had some really long journeys to places like Dover and Yeovil. But after being in the Army the travelling didn't bother me too much and I was well prepared for trips to Ross County, Inverness, Peterhead and Aberdeen when I joined Queens.
"Coming to Palmerston was the best move of my career. Gateshead had big financial problems at the time and I got a free transfer, but I've never ever regretted moving north of the border. Queens are a great club and the comradeship and atmosphere in the dressing room is second to none. Apart from the local lads we've players from the Glasgow area, Edinburgh, Ayrshire, the North East of England and Sean O'Connor travels all the way up from Stafford. But we all get on really well together and I think that's the secret of our success.
"We've won the Second Division Championship and the Challenge Cup and were actually top of Division One for five weeks back in November. Games I'll never forget was clinching the League Championship up at Forfar, the celebrations the following Saturday when we met Morton at Palmerston, the Challenge Cup final at Broadwood and the semi-final against St Mirren when we won 5-3. Great days--all of them!" And your most memorable goal we asked? "It's got to be the one in that cup-tie at St Mirren. It was a good strike and came at a crucial time".
Away from football, Steve likes to spend quality time with his three kids, Aaron, Fay and Tamzin and his new wife, Nicola. He and Nicola were married during the summer and spent their honeymoon cruising in the Mediterranean. "It was idyllic" recalls Steve "But it was just before the football season was due to kick-off again and I spent a lot of time running around the ship to keep myself fit. I can imagine what the early-rising passengers must have thought seeing this wee Geordie with a goatee beard and a tammy haring up and down the decks at seven o'clock in the morning".
Bowser admits to being a big Newcastle United fan and has long been an admirer of the legendary England striker, Alan Shearer. "I once met him in the Sea Nightclub in Newcastle and we chatted about football for a while. I really enjoyed it!"
And his ambitions for the future? "I'd love to play in the Premiership or the Scottish Premier League" he confessed "But perhaps at 29 I'm getting a bit old. However, if Queen of the South could win promotion some day, my dream might still come true".