Jim Towers

Jim Towers
Personal information
Full name Edwin James Towers[1]
Date of birth (1933-04-15)15 April 1933
Place of birth Shepherd's Bush, England
Date of death 16 September 2010(2010-09-16) (aged 77)[1]
Place of death Hounslow, England
Playing position(s) Centre forward
Youth career
1948–1954 Brentford
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1954–1961 Brentford 262 (153)
1961–1962 Queens Park Rangers 27 (15)
1962–1963 Millwall 19 (7)
1963 Gillingham 8 (6)
1963–1964 Aldershot 32 (15)
1964–1965 Romford 30 (17)
1965–1968 Gravesend & Northfleet 77 (46)
Total 428 (274)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Edwin James Towers (15 April 1933 – 16 September 2010) was a professional English football centre forward, best remembered for his time in the Football League with Brentford. He is the club's all-time leading goalscorer and in 2013 was voted the club's greatest ever player.[2][3]

Career

Brentford

Born in Shepherd's Bush, Towers began his career as a schoolboy, playing for his local Gaumont cinema team.[2] He frequently played against another boy, the Acton Odeon cinema team's George Francis, with whom Towers' future professional career would be intertwined.[2] Towers, along with Francis, progressed through the Acton and Brentford & Chiswick school teams.[2] Towers also had a try-out at Fulham before signing for the junior team at Second Division club Brentford in 1948,[4] after being spotted by manager Alf Bew while playing for his local Shepherd's Bush schoolboys team versus Brentford in Boston Manor Park.[5] Towers was offered a professional contract in 1951, prior to departing to undertake his National Service.[4]

After returning to Griffin Park in 1953 and signing another contract,[5][6] Towers made his professional debut on 30 August 1954 as an outside forward and made a dream start, by scoring in a 2–2 Third Division South draw with Shrewsbury Town.[7] He was soon moved back to his natural centre forward position by Bill Dodgin and made 37 appearances and scored 16 goals during the 1954–55 season as the Bees finished in mid-table.[7] The Bees challenged for promotion during the 1955–56 season, but ultimately finished in sixth place,[8] with Towers scoring 22 goals in 41 games.[7] George Francis broke into the team in the following campaign and so began the most productive strike partnership in Brentford history, with one London evening newspaper dubbing the pair 'the Terrible Twins'.[2] After a lean 1956–57 season (scoring 13 goals), Towers found his form again in the following campaign, scoring 29 goals in 36 games to set a new single-season post-war club goalscoring record.[2] The season ended in disappointment after Brentford were edged off the top of the Third Division South by Brighton & Hove Albion.[9]

Towers' most lethal season in front of goal came in 1958–59, scoring 37 goals in 50 appearances and finishing one goal shy of Jack Holliday's goals-in-a-season record set in the 1932–33 season.[2] Towers was the top scorer in the Third Division in 1958–59 (with 32 goals) and the Towers-Francis partnership yielded 61 of Brentford's 83 goals for the entire season.[2][4] A highlight of the season was a four-goal haul in a 6–0 thrashing of Southampton at The Dell on 9 March 1959.[7] Towers' profile rose and he was the subject of bids from higher league clubs Sheffield Wednesday and Norwich City, but he turned the offers down, as due to the maximum wage he was unwilling to move for what would only have been a £2 per week increase to his £18 per week wages.[4]

Two further seasons followed, with Towers' last at Griffin Park being 1960–61.[2] In a bizarre move by the club's hierarchy (in response to the removal of the maximum wage), Towers and Francis were deemed surplus requirements and sold.[2] In 2005, Towers revealed that he was "almost begged" to leave Brentford.[4] A potential deal for Towers to return to the Bees during the 1961–62 season collapsed.[2] He was given a testimonial in 1986, which he shared with Johnny Rainford (a former teammate who laid on many of the passes for Towers and Francis from which to score)[2] and the pair shared the £1,100 proceeds.[4][10] Towers is the club's all-time top scorer with 163 goals in 282 games.[2] In a Football League 125th anniversary poll, Towers was voted as the club's greatest ever player.[3] He was posthumously inducted into the Brentford Hall of Fame in 2015.[11]

Queens Park Rangers

Towers and Francis joined Brentford's Third Division West London rivals Queens Park Rangers in an £8,000 deal in May 1961.[2] He opened his Rangers goalscoring account by breaking Brentford hearts, when he scored in a 3–0 victory in the West London derby on the opening day of the season.[12] He fired in 16 goals in 32 appearances to help Rangers to a fourth-place finish and departed the club in August 1962.[13]

Millwall

Towers signed for Third Division club Millwall in August 1962 for a £5,000 fee.[2] He scored eight goals in his opening 21 games,[14] but departed in January 1963.[2]

Gillingham

Towers dropped down to the Fourth Division to reunite with George Francis at Gillingham in January 1963.[2] He showed good form (scoring six goals in just eight games),[15] but had an agonising end to the season after the Gills missed out on promotion with a fifth-place finish.[16] He departed the club in July 1963.[17]

Aldershot

Towers joined Fourth Division club Aldershot in July 1963.[17] Despite a mid-table finish in the league, he enjoyed a good 1963–64 season at the Recreation Ground, scoring 15 goals in 32 games, including a goal in the FA Cup third round giant-killing of Aston Villa.[17] He departed the club after the season.[17]

Romford

Towers dropped into non-League football and signed for Southern League Premier Division club Romford during the 1964 off-season.[17] His 31 goals (a club record) could not help Boro to better than a 14th-place finish in the league and he departed the club at the end of the 1964-65 season.[18][19]

Gravesend and Northfleet

Towers joined Southern League First Division strugglers Gravesend & Northfleet in July 1965.[6] He spent three seasons with the club and scored 46 goals in 77 appearances.[6] He retired from football, aged 35, at the end of the 1967–68 season.[6]

Personal life

Prior to signing for Brentford, Towers grew up a supporter of arch-rivals Fulham.[4] He undertook his National Service alongside George Francis in Germany with the Royal Irish Fusiliers and he represented the British Army of the Rhine team.[2] Towers was married to Betty, had three children and after his retirement from football,[6] he worked for 25 years as a baggage handler for British Airways at London Heathrow Airport.[20] He died in September 2010, after suffering with a serious illness.[21]

Honours

Career statistics

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Brentford 1954–55[7] Third Division South 31 15 6 1 37 16
1955–56[7] 39 21 2 1 41 22
1956–57[7] 24 12 1 1 25 13
1957–58[7] 36 29 0 0 36 29
1958–59[7] Third Division 46 32 4 5 50 37
1959–60[7] 44 23 2 1 46 24
1960–61[7] 42 21 2 0 3 1 47 22
Total 262 153 17 9 3 1 282 163
Queens Park Rangers 1961–62[22] Third Division 27 15 3 0 2 1 32 16
Millwall 1962–63[14] Third Division 19 7 1 0 1 1 21 8
Gillingham 1962–63[15] Fourth Division 8 6 8 6
Career total 316 181 21 9 6 3 343 193

References

  1. ^ a b "Jim Towers". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Haynes, Graham; Coumbe, Frank (2006). Timeless Bees: Brentford F.C. Who's Who 1920–2006. Harefield: Yore Publications. pp. 186–188. ISBN 978-0955294914.
  3. ^ a b The Football League. "Brentford – Football League 125". Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Lane, David (2005). Cult Bees & Legends: Volume Two. Hampton Hill: Legends Publishing. pp. 118–129. ISBN 0954368282.
  5. ^ a b "Brentford | News | Where Are They Now? | Where Are They Now? | WHERE ARE THEY NOW? JIM TOWERS – PART 1". brentfordfc.co.uk. 24 July 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e Miller, Ed (23 September 2010). "Fleet mourn Jim Towers". Ebbsfleet United F.C. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k White, Eric, ed. (1989). 100 Years Of Brentford. Brentford FC. pp. 383–386. ISBN 0951526200.
  8. ^ Ltd, Statto Organisation. "Brentford Complete History - Statto.com". Statto.com. Archived from the original on 15 September 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  9. ^ Ltd, Statto Organisation. "Brentford League Table 1956-1957 - Statto.com". Statto.com. Archived from the original on 24 March 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  10. ^ Griffin Gazette: Brentford's Official Matchday Magazine versus Crewe Alexandra. Quay Design of Poole. 6 April 1996. p. 20.
  11. ^ a b Chris Wickham. "Kevin O'Connor and Marcus Gayle join others in being added to Brentford FC Hall of Fame". brentfordfc.co.uk. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  12. ^ Norris, Ron (16 August 2012). "QPRnet – Top Five – Season Openers". QPRnet. Archived from the original on 15 September 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Edwin James Towers – Professional Footballer – 1954 to 1965 – R.I.P. – Independent Rs". Independent Rs. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Millwall Season 62/63 Stats". www.millwall-history.org.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  15. ^ a b "Gillingham FC Career Details". Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  16. ^ Gillingham F.C. at the Football Club History Database
  17. ^ a b c d e "Jim Towers – R.I.P." Aldershot Town F.C. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  18. ^ White 1989, p. 246.
  19. ^ Romford F.C. at the Football Club History Database
  20. ^ "Brentford | News | Where Are They Now? | Where Are They Now? | WHERE ARE THEY NOW? JIM TOWERS – PART 2". brentfordfc.co.uk. 24 July 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  21. ^ "Brentford | News | Latest News | Latest News | JIM TOWERS". brentfordfc.co.uk. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  22. ^ "QPRnet – Seasonal Stats – 1961–62". Retrieved 4 December 2017.

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