Born on this day is former Sunderland midfielder Josh Scowen, who signed for the lads from a higher division but ultimately wouldn’t look out of place in League Two.
Scowen began his career at Wycombe, making his debut as a late substitute in a 3-0 win at Morecambe in 2011. The Chairboys were in League Two at the time, and the game came two days before his 18th birthdays. Wycombe’s striker at the time, Scott Rendell, said after the game: “It's great to see him come out and get his chance because he will be a big player for this club if he carries on doing what he's doing."
After loan spells in the lower leagues, he quickly became a fan favourite upon his return to Wycombe. He became renowned for his hard work and ability to win the ball back quickly in midfield. He thrived under new manager Gareth Ainsworth, and eventually moved to Barnsley in League One.
The Tykes were managed by a certain Lee Johnson, who would go on to sign Scowen later in his career. Scowen racked up over 90 appearances at Oakwell, until his contract ran out in 2017. He moved up a division once more, joining Championship side QPR on a free.
He added some tenacity to a midfield that was sorely lacking it, and was extremely popular in his debut season. He earned the nickname ‘the rat’ because of his ability to break up play. There was an edge to his game- 27 yellow cards in 77 starts and 22 sub appearances tells its own story, and Scowen never looked far from a suspension.
By the end of his time in London, Scowen began to split opinion. He was often criticised for his lack of quality on the ball. Some fans defended him, claiming it wasn’t his game, but some believed he just simply wasn’t good enough to be part of a Championship team. He began to be benched more option, and in January 2020 he made the drop down to League One, reuniting with former boss Lee Johnson.
His first start came in a 2-0 defeat at Bristol Rovers. It was actually the last game of the season as our campaign was curtailed due to Covid...
Scowen’s first goal in red and white came in one of the strangest game’s you’ll ever see. We hammered Aston Villa’s kids 8-1 behind closed doors in the Papa John’s Trophy! The strangest part about the game though was that Danny Graham got on the scoresheet.
Scowen flattered to deceive during his time on Wearside, with fans questioning why he was selected week in week out by Johnson. He was completely anonymous on the pitch, and it was baffling that he’d had Championship experience. His only league goal came against Charlton, and was in equally strange circumstances. Earlier in the game Scowen had sliced a clearance into the roof of his own net, but scored late on - with a diving header from outside of the box into an open goal!
At the end of the season it was pretty clear that Scowen wasn’t going to have his contract renewed, and he made a somewhat romantic return to Wycombe, where it all began.