|In 1976, Harry Melrose had taken over the managerial reins of a club that had been in freefall - in both a footballing and financial sense - for some time. Harry struggled on a small budget to make much impact, but he did have a good eye for a decent player.|
|As a 19-year-old playing for Pumpherston Juniors, Jim Bowie thought that he was coming over to play in a trial match at East End Park on September 22nd 1976, but Harry Melrose had other ideas.
To Jim's great surprise he was included in the first team to play Clyde that day. Dunfermline won 4-0 and Harry Melrose signed Jim straight after the match.
Jump forward a decade and the Pars were about to win the Second Division Championship and leave behind a desperate decade spent in the lower reaches of the Scottish game.
Jim Leishman's team was renowned for its attacking football, a philosophy that brought over one hundred goals in all competitions and established John Watson as the country's top scorer with 31 strikes.
Watson may have grabbed most of the attention but he was quick to praise the man whose crosses provided him with the bulk of his chances. If football had an 'assists' column similar to that used in ice hockey, Jim Bowie's name would have been at the very top in Scottish football in 1985/86.
Jim's time at the club was beset by injury problems. A knee ligament injury early in 1978/79 saw Jim miss almost the entire season, forced to watch enviously from the sidelines as his team-mates celebrated promotion.
Returning after such a long absence to a higher level of football could have proved difficult but he treated the supporters to the best goal of his career, a memorable 25 yarder that was enough to beat league leaders Airdrie.
Another, more lasting, injury happened in October 1980 and this could be put down to nothing more than Jim's own enthusiasm.
After suffering a bout of flu, he returned to action in the reserves and strained his stomach muscles. This injury affected Jim for the rest of his playing career. He should have had an operation on his stomach but the six-month recuperation period was an impossibility considering his full-time job with the Fire Brigade.
He was tremendously popular with the fans, who christened him "Ziggy" and frequently berated successive managers for not playing him often enough. One at least did listen and under Jim Leishman, Bowie made a magnificent revival in his final two seasons.
He re-established a regular place in the side and it undoubtedly helped the Pars playing some of their best football in years.
Despite being only 30, years of wear and tear had taken its toll on Jim and with greater competition for places, his final appearance for the Pars was on October 18th 1986 as a substitute against Morton.
He played a total of 227 matches for Dunfermline, scoring 13 goals, before moving on to spend brief spells with St. Johnstone and Meadowbank, and a more substantial period with East of Scotland outfit Craigroyston.
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