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Home / News / INTERVIEW / In Conversation: Vinnie Bowman

In Conversation: Vinnie Bowman

In Conversation: Vinnie Bowman

By Riley Finch

After his breakthrough year in football which involved goals in the league, a trial with Millwall and West Ham, Vinnie Bowman talked through his amazing season!

"It’s great to have a local lad who’s come through the academy, he could play a massive feature for the club in the next few years," said Margate player/manager Ben Greenhalgh on Vinnie Bowman.

The Blues’ exciting, young striker scored his first senior goal on the 5th of December for The 'Gate as we took on Whitehawk in the Velocity Cup.

He then went on to score three more times for us in his debut season in the Isthmian Premier Division whilst undertaking trials with Millwall and West Ham.

"I started this season playing for Maidstone's U18’s and then Margate put me in their U23’s squad.

"Eventually I started getting invited to first team training and made the gamble to do that full time and leave Maidstone, which really paid off.

“When I went into training I just wanted to impress, I felt like I was earning my right to start playing and when the opportunity comes you have to grab it with both hands and run with it.

"At times it is tough especially in non-league because things can change in days, you can be first choice striker but by the end of the week, you could be gone.

"The rejection in non-league can be very difficult, the squad changes so much. One week at Margate I didn’t make the bench and my family was coming to watch me.

"That gives you the desire to work harder in training and in everything that you do and made me have the mindset that I'm always on that bench, I'm always coming on, I'm always playing.

"Being young, going up against experienced players and fighting for your spot is difficult but I always felt the managers faith in me, even if I wasn’t playing, which I really appreciated."

Bowman scored three times for Margate in their Isthmian campaign, two of which scored off the bench.

The most infamous of all coming against Horsham, Vinnie was due to play, the only issue was it was for an entirely different team.

"I was meant to have a game with Millwall that morning, but the game was called off.

"Me and my mates decided to go and watch the Margate game instead and the manager Mark Stimson, called me up on the train about 45 minutes before kick-off.

"He said get down here, you’re gonna play.

"I got there late, most of the warmups had already finished, it was such a hectic day, I hadn't even eaten, so I ate like six apples in the changing room.

"To be honest, I was just happy that I'd be playing."

72 minutes in, Bowman was subbed on.

Less than a minute later, he brought down the ball and fired past the Horsham ‘keeper into the bottom corner of the net.

"To score on a day like that was amazing, especially with my friends there.

"We went to watch the game, they ended up watching me play and celebrating my goal with me, such a great moment."

In his breakthrough season for Margate, Bowman won the admiration of former manager, Mark Stimson.

"Mark was a great guy, he’d personally bring me into his office and speak to me about my performance and discuss with me what I can do better, help me personally, improve my game.

"I learnt a lot from him.

"When I did my trials, he was calling me and giving me advice asking how it was going all the time.

In an interview with Kent Online, Stimson spoke highly of Vinnie while he was in the midst of his trial with Millwall.

"Normally you don’t get invited back if you haven’t shown something.

“The kid is very young, a lot of growing to do in his body, but he is a decent size, and he knows where the goal is. I am not surprised the pro clubs are looking at him.

“He is someone, who in training, looks like he can cope with it, he has had a couple of run-outs for us and scored a couple of goals.

“He has good touch and awareness in front of goal and for a young lad looks very composed, which is good.”

On his trial with Millwall and his more recent one with West Ham, Bowman said:" I thought the environment was very different to men's football, the standards are higher but physically it's less demanding when you compare it to non-league.

"It was really good to get a taste of what academy football is like, you get a taste of what it is and you want more.

"The facilities and the things they do is next level, going into ice baths, having your nutrition sorted for you. It's so different. The boys there get the best tools in the world.

"Non-league gives you a very different outlook on football, it gives you more experience.

"I've met boys in pro academies during my trials, they get loans and trials but if it doesn't work out, they end up at this level anyway.

"You just get so much out of men's football, I love it."

Vinnie also had the guidance of a very experienced changing room, including our now player/manager, Ben Greenhalgh.

"As well as Stimmo, Ben [Greenhalgh], Steve [Cawley], Harry [Hudson] and Knighty [Lewis Knight] have been great mentors for me during my breakout season and have really helped me to develop."

Ben Greenhalgh had this to say: "Vinnie had a positive first season in men’s football last year, especially starting it out at just 16 years old.

"I think the trials will have given him a taste of the world he wants to progress into and also the level of players that he is competing with.

"He remained positive when returning to us and he’s mature enough to notice where some weakness occurred, and these are the things we will help him along the line.

"I’m always very mindful of youth players and how to approach/manage them where I’ve worked at an academy level for so long.

"His physical attributes are very good for his age, and he has a good finish on him which has been proven a few times for the first team.

"He has the desire and attitude and that can take him a long way.

"The second season is always difficult when you’re young but he’s going to be given lots of opportunities from us and we will keep working with him to ensure he can take himself to new levels.

"It’s great to have a local lad who’s come through the academy remain on the books and I’m sure if he’s still with Margate, then he could feature for the club in the next few years."


Thursday, 13 June 2024
By Joshua Colect

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