Hugh Dowd: Former Doncaster Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday defender reminisces about his Rovers years under Billy Bremner

Having played for both Doncaster Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday, Hugh Dowd will be keeping a very keen eye on events at the Eco-Power Stadium today.

By Paul Goodwin
Friday, 18th February 2022, 12:12 pm
Updated Saturday, 19th February 2022, 1:32 pm
Doncaster Rovers, July 1980. Back row (l-r): Shaun Flanagan, Stewart Mell, Alan Warboys, Willie Boyd, Pat Lally, Billy Russell, Steve Daniels. Middle row: Gerry Delahunt (physiotherapist), Cyril Knowles (coach), Alan Little, Steve Lister, Mark Shipley, John Dowie, David Bradley, Billy Bremner (manager), Dave Bentley (coach). Front row: Glynn Snodin, Daral Pugh, Hugh Dowd, Ian Nimmo, Mick Bates.
Doncaster Rovers, July 1980. Back row (l-r): Shaun Flanagan, Stewart Mell, Alan Warboys, Willie Boyd, Pat Lally, Billy Russell, Steve Daniels. Middle row: Gerry Delahunt (physiotherapist), Cyril Knowles (coach), Alan Little, Steve Lister, Mark Shipley, John Dowie, David Bradley, Billy Bremner (manager), Dave Bentley (coach). Front row: Glynn Snodin, Daral Pugh, Hugh Dowd, Ian Nimmo, Mick Bates.

The Northern Irishman, who now lives in Sheffield, joined Rovers from the Owls and captained the club to promotion from Division Four in 1981.

His career was cut short by a knee injury at the age of 31 but he has nothing but fond memories of his four seasons at Belle Vue – and particularly of playing under Billy Bremner.

“Myself and Dave Cusack were hoping to be at the game this weekend but I’m not able to make it now unfortunately,” Dowd, 70, told the Free Press.

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Hugh Dowd

“Hopefully we’ll get over to one before the end of the season.

“Rovers are not having such a good season but the win up at Sunderland was a great result and gives them some hope.

“I’d like to think they can get out trouble and I really hope they can because they don’t want to go down again.”

Dowd, an accomplished centre back, started out at hometown club Glenavon and would go on to become one of the last players to move up from Northern Ireland’s amateur international set-up into the full national side.

He signed for Wednesday at the age of 23 before joining Rovers for £15,000 in August 1979 and made a total of 114 appearances for the club.

“I loved my time at Doncaster, it was great under Billy Bremner,” he said. “I had a lot of time for him. Dave Bentley and Cyril Knowles were also on the coaching staff.

“I was there for four seasons. Unfortunately we got relegated one of the seasons which wasn’t good but we also won promotion which was a great season. The team were playing really well that season.

“They were a great bunch of lads that I played with - the likes of Billy Russell, Steve Lister, Alan Little, Daral Pugh, the Snodin brothers. Alan Warboys was a big player for us.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my four years there and then obviously I had to finish because I had an operation on the medial ligaments in my knee and that was it.

“I also had five seasons at Wednesday and they were great. It’s just a pity I had to finish because of my knee. I had a few injuries, I had a back operation at Wednesday and I was out for quite a while but obviously playing for Wednesday was absolutely fantastic.

“I played amateur internationals and got a few full caps as well which was great - playing with George Best was a bit special.”

On Bremner, he added: “Billy was very enthusiastic. He was a bit of a character. He got on well with the players.

“What I do remember is after training sessions I was always one of the last ones to get out of the shower.

“There’d be four or five of us who would hang on in the dressing room just taking our time getting dressed and Bremner would come in, sit down and chat with us. He loved to talk about his own playing days and he told some lovely old stories.

“We were all glued to it, listening to him talk about his days with Leeds United and Scotland. He was great to listen to.”