Gordon Cowans

Last updated : 29 July 2014 By Tony Scholes

Date and Place of Birth

27th October 1958 - CORNFORTH


Transfers to and from Burnley

non-contract from 1st August to 31st December 1997

(coach at Burnley during this period)


First and Last Burnley Games

STOKE CITY (a) - 24th September 1997


ROTHERHAM UNITED (h) - 25th November 1997

replaced by Gerry Harrison


Other Clubs






Burnley Career Stats


Season League FA Cup League Cup Others Total
  apps gls apps gls apps gls apps gls apps gls
1997/98 5(1) - 2 - 1 - - - 8(1) -
Total 5(1) - 2 - 1 - - - 8(1) -


Profile by Tony Scholes


Gordon Cowans' playing career was supposedly over when he arrived at Turf Moor in the summer of 1997 as part of new manager Chris Waddle's coaching team. He was appointed as the new reserve team manager working alongside Waddle and assistant boss Glenn Roeder.

Cowans had been mainly associated with Aston Villa during his career and had three spells with them, although the first was undoubtedly the longest and most successful.

He joined Villa from his native North East in 1974 and such was his progress that by February 1976, still aged just 17, he was in the first team. He went on to win the PFA Young Player of the Year in 1979 but it was in the early eighties that he helped bring success to Villa Park with the league championship in 1981 and the European Cup a year later.

A call up for England followed and he played a total of ten games for his country during which he scored twice against Egypt and Scotland.

A broken leg in pre-season 1983 forced him to miss the entire 1983/84 season and on his return to fitness he was sold by Villa to AS Bari for £250,000. Three good seasons in Italy followed before Graham Taylor took up the option to sign him back for Villa.

He had three more years there before signing for Blackburn Rovers, after which it was back to Villa for a third time where he eventually played his last game in their Claret & Blue in 1994.

Cowans then went on to play for Wolves, Sheffield United, Bradford City and Stockport before finally hanging up his boots in 1997 and joining Burnley's backroom team.

That was the script, but with the Clarets struggling at the bottom of what was then named League Two, Waddle decide to use Cowans as a player. He made his debut in a League Cup tie at Stoke in September, just 33 days before his 39th birthday.

He went on to make nine appearances for us in total. He was substituted in the home FA Cup defeat to Rotherham in November 1997 and because of an eye problem wasn't able to feature again for the Clarets.

Even so, his time at Burnley did bring some success. At that time the Central League (reserves) was a two league affair and at the end of that season we won promotion. It proved though to be his last act at Turf Moor.

The summer of 1998 saw changes with Stan Ternent replacing Chris Waddle. Ternent, as is the case with most managers, wanting his own men in and Mick Docherty was appointed reserve team coach.

Cowans went back to the place he knew best, Villa Park, as youth team coach and that is where he still is, at the time of writing, not far short of twelve years later, working within one of the most successful youth academies in English football.

Current Villa boss Martin O'Neill said that the kids coming through should know he was a fantastic player whilst the rest know he's doing just as good a job now for Aston Villa.

Gordon Cowans will be remembered at Turf Moor as a reserve team coach who played a few games. He'll always be remembered at Villa Park as one of their finest players.