Andy Bowman

Footballer

Born: 7 March, 1934, in Pittenweem, Fife.

Died: 2 March, 2009, in Dundee, aged 74.

ANDY Bowman, who has died following a heart attack, was a key player for Hearts during the golden era, under Tommy Walker's managership, in the 1950s and early 1960s.

But his contribution to that golden age has been understated, because he had the misfortune to be a Tynecastle contemporary of Dave Mackay and John Cumming, arguably the greatest wing-halves in the club's long history.

All things being equal, Mackay would wear the number four jersey, Cumming the number six shirt, but if either or, perish the thought, both were absent, Walker and the Hearts players and fans knew Bowman could slot into the side and prove a more than adequate replacement for the seemingly irreplaceable.

Indeed, the loss of the great Mackay to Tottenham was made easier by the knowledge that Bowman was ready to take his place.

Like quite a few of that great Hearts squad, Bowman was a Fifer, born in Pittenweem in 1934. He went to Pittenweem Primary School and then to Waid Academy, in Anstruther.

He was a Scotland Schoolboys internationalist in 1949, and on leaving school he joined Chelsea's ground staff, signing professional forms on his 17th birthday in 1951.

Chelsea were then "England's Partick Thistle", an unpredictable side, capable of beating the best one week, losing heavily to relegation contenders the next. However, in the 1954-55 season, under manager Ted Drake, they got their act together to such an extent they won their first English League title.

Bowman contributed one game to that campaign; it was to be his solitary first-team outing and in the close season he came home to Scotland, Hearts paying 1,000 to repatriate him.

Mackay and Cumming were by then in situ in the first team, but Bowman quietly filled in when called upon, on his way to 135 first-team appearances for the club, scoring eight goals.

He qualified for a League Championship winner's medal during the annus mirabilis in 1958 and again in 1960, when he also won a League Cup winner's medal, Hearts beating Third Lanark 2-1 that season. Bowman had received another League Cup winner's medal the previous season; although he missed the victory over Partick Thistle, his part in the Hearts campaign qualified him for a medal. He left Tynecastle on a free transfer for Newport County in August 1961.

From south Wales he moved to Kent, playing for non-league Tonbridge, and it was while he was there that his son, David, was born. He then had a spell in the United States before returning to Scotland to play for Hamilton Academical and Hawick Royal Albert.

David was to follow his father into the Scotland Schools team and the Hearts side. Now coaching at Dundee United, another former club, David surpassed his father in being capped for Scotland, but his father always held the trump card in terms of medals won.

"I played in seven cup finals and only got one medal; he played in one and got two," said David.

When Andy Bowman hung up his boots, he devoted his leisure time to golf, playing at Crail after he returned home to Fife.

After a short spell with a firm of heating engineers in Edinburgh, he spent the rest of his post-football working life with Scottish & Newcastle in the Fountain and Holyrood Breweries.

Like so many footballers of his era, his final years were blighted by Alzheimer's. On Monday last week, just five days before his 75th birthday he suffered a mild heart attack and was taken to Ninewells Hospital for a check-up. While there he suffered a second, larger attack that proved fatal.

Andy Bowman, was married twice, to Sheila, then Maureen. He is survived by his son, David, daughters Sarah and Claire and ten grandchildren. He will be affectionately remembered as a spear carrier in a great squad who was also capable putting in a star performance when called as understudy to two legends, before producing his own starring performances when handed the toughest of roles – to replace arguably the greatest Hearts player in arguably Hearts' greatest team and era.

MATTHEW VALLANCE