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16th May 2013

JOE’s Forgotten Footballer: Iain Dowie

While he is a constant on television these days, it easy to forget that Iain Dowie spent six seasons in the Premier League as a player.


While he is a constant on television these days, it easy to forget that Iain Dowie spent six seasons in the Premier League as a player.

By Declan Whooley

The Northern Ireland international striker enjoyed the physical side of the game and at times his style wasn’t too easy on the eye. The Sun rather harshly said it reflected his general appearance and named him in the top 10 ugliest footballers in the game.

Born in London, Dowie qualified for the North thanks to his Belfast-born father and his record of 12 goals in 59 appearances wasn’t too shabby, with one of those scored in Dublin in a 1-1 draw with the Republic during the Euro 96 qualifying group.

The Sun may have been a little harsh on Dowie

The biggest criticism levelled at Dowie was his inability to score goals consistently, which is always a drawback for a striker and many bemoaned the “old-fashioned centre-forward” comparisons. He spent three years with Luton Town when they were a competitive force until Second Division West Ham paid just shy of half a million pounds to bring him to Upton Park.

His first stint at the Hammers lasted less than six months as he fell down the pecking order, though the club still made a slight profit when he was sold to Southampton at the beginning of the 1991/92 campaign. His partners in crime up front were Matt Le Tissier and Alan Shearer, so fans at the Dell were given a real contrast in styles.

He managed to hit double figures in his first two seasons on the South Coast, but five league goals in each of the subsequent seasons didn’t have him marked down as the most terrifying opponent for sides in the league.

Crystal Palace brought Dowie back to London in a £400,000 deal and the campaign ended in relegation from the Premier League and soon he was back at West Ham for a second spell. He struggled to win the supporters over with his barren spells in front of goal and is probably best remembered for this shocking own goal at Stockport County in the League Cup. Unfortunately for Dowie it was in front of the Sky cameras too.

His playing days came to a close at QPR and at that stage he was operating as a central defender. In fact he was a player-manager at Loftus Road for two games. He has had managerial stints at Oldham, Crystal Palace, Charlton, Coventry, QPR, Newcastle and Hull and more recently as a pundit for Sky Sports.

Dowie has given Sky viewers more than his fair share of funny moments in studio and always adds a bit of colour to the punditry.

A maligned player in many quarters, he foraged a decent if not spectacular career and seems content for a career in front of the cameras some (The Sun most notably) felt he was better suited to radio.