He joined Cambridge United after being released by Burnley at the end of the 1999/2000 promotion season. He had spent a month with them during that promotion season on loan.
Cowan arrived at the Turf along with Paul Cook at the end of a dark week that proved to be a turning point. We had lost to Manchester City 6-0 on the Tuesday and that was followed by 48 hours of intense speculation as to Stan Ternent's future before Barry Kilby released a statement that Stan would be staying. The following day, the Friday, Cowan and Cooky arrived.
Tom Cowan came in from Huddersfield as we took over his contract until the end of the season and he became an instant hit with the Turf Moor crowd with his all action performances. None of us will forget his first and only goal for the Clarets, the overhead kick against Macclesfield Town that brought is back into a vital game at 2-2 before we went on to win 4-3.
He was offered a one year contract in the summer and after starting the season on a week to week contract he finally signed the deal. He was never to be a regular again though and made only five start all season.
He joined Roy McFarland at Cambridge and last season missed made over 40 league appearances for them but this season, firstly under John Beck and then John Taylor he has hardly featured. He played four games in August/ September but has not played since.
Last week Barry Fry signed him on a month's loan for Peterborough United and he made his debut for them on Saturday in a 1-1 home draw against Swindon Town who included Cowan's former Turf Moor team mate Matty Heywood.
After the move Cambridge boss John Taylor said, "He's not in my plans at the moment and they were the club that rang and asked about him, so he's gone there for a month. They didn't say it was with a view to a transfer but obviously if he does well then they may want to."
Peterborough boss Barry Fry gave the impression that it might just be for a month and said, "Because of our horrendous injury problems, particularly in the left back position, I have taken Tom Cowan on a month's loan. He is a very experienced left sided player whose presence will be a big asset as we go into a period with three games in the space of four days, and nine in the next four weeks.
"I had to act quickly and spoke to the chairman yesterday and he agreed straight away that I should go out and get Cowan. We need a player with his know-how and competitive edge to help us through this difficult period."
Tom Cowan is aware that there is no future for him at Cambridge and is already in the process of negotiating a release. He said of the move, "I'm looking forward to making the most of a chance to impress and from what I have heard managers don't come any fairer than Barry Fry in this respect. I have been in talks with Cambridge about paying off my contract and welcome the fresh challenge I have been given by Posh.
"At the moment I am here for a month and aim to give it my best shot. Then we will have to see what happens after that."
Cowan is nearing 300 appearances in Scottish and English league football and has always been hugely popular with the fans wherever he has played. Having said that he does appear to fall out of the first team reckoning very soon at most clubs and after just a year in the first team at Cambridge is on the move again.
The photograph is courtesy of Peterborough United Football Club.