Gary Lineker has led the social media tributes to the late Stan Bowles, following the news of his death at the age of 75.
The sad news was confirmed by his club, QPR, with Bowles remembered by many as a maverick No. 10 who had a colourful life on and off the pitch.
As well as representing QPR, Brentford and Manchester City at club level, he also played five games for England – but his unusual style meant national managers were reluctant to utilise him on the biggest stages.
Lineker posted on X (formerly Twitter): ‘Sorry to hear that Stan Bowles has died. A delightful footballer and hugely charismatic man. Always loved watching him play. RIP Stan.’
During coverage of the Premier League game between Arsenal and Newcastle United, Ally McCoist told TNT Sports: ‘He was an absolutely terrific football player, one of the old fashioned one of the old school guys like Tony Currie, guys like Frank Worthington. Those are the guys that entertained. And it’s a really, really sad day.
QPR legend Stan Bowles, one of the game’s greatest characters, has died at the age of 75
‘I remember that I really genuinely remembered as a wee boy growing up that Queen’s Park Rangers side, with Don Givens up front, Gerry Francis, Frank McLintock played in it, David Webb played, and he was just a joy to watch. A really sad day.’
Bowles’ former West London clubs QPR and Brentford both posted their own tributes to their former player.
QPR, where the star played from 1972 to 1979, wrote: ‘Stan Bowles. Gone but never, ever to be forgotten. The ultimate Loft legend.’
In December 2021, QPR announced that the Ellerslie Road Stand at their Loftus Road Stadium would be renamed in honour of Bowles – and the stand features in a video attached to the tweet.
He also formed bonds with newcomers to the QPR family, including Trevor Sinclair, who posted his own tribute to social media.
Sinclair wrote: ‘Really sad to hear, the great entertainer “Stan Bowles” has passed away. I know he’d been unwell for some time but I’d rather remember the times he took me under his wing & down the west end in the early 90’s, absolute QPR legend’.
Bowles ended his professional career with Brentford, with two spells between 1981 and 1984.
The Bees’ tribute read: ‘One of the finest ever to play in red and white, we mourn the death of Stan Bowles.
‘A great entertainer and character who put smiles on the faces of all who saw him play.
‘Our thoughts are with Stan’s friends and family at this incredibly sad time.’
The England national team wrote: ‘Rest in peace, Stan Bowles.
‘Stan made five appearances for England, scoring for the #ThreeLions in a 2–0 win over Wales at Ninian Park in 1974.’
Bowles made his debut against Portugal in April 1974, Sir Alf Ramsey’s last game in charge of the England national side.
Bowles played five times for England, making his international debut against Portugal in 1974
Bowles was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2015, and moved into full-time care in 2020
Mail Sport columnist Jeff Powell remembers the ultimate maverick No. 10, who dazzled on the pitch, and made a lasting impression on young journalists at QPR with his unorthodox approach to games.
Meanwhile, a story from the player’s autobiography has been fondly remembered, for the hilarity that ensued when he wore two different boots in a match.
Bowles had a long battle with Alzheimer’s in later life, after being diagnosed with the neurological disease in 2015.
He moved into full-time care in 2020, having been living with his daughter Andrea in Manchester.