Rowbotham, Darran

Birth Date

22nd October 1966





Biographical Text

Darran Rowbotham’s Exeter City career was almost equally split into two spells between 1987-91 (when he was a member of the 1990 championship-winning side) and 1996-2000. He initially joined from Plymouth Argyle and returned to St James Park having appeared for Torquay United, Birmingham City, Crewe Alexandra and Shrewsbury Town. In total Darran scored just over a hundred goals for the Grecians.  

Darran began his career as a youth player with Plymouth Argyle and turned professional in November 1984. After 46 league appearances (24 as substitute) he moved to Exeter City in October 1987 in part-exchange for Nicky Marker.

Making his debut against Hereford United at Edgar Street in October 1987, Darran struggled to make an impact at St James’ Park and only managed to score twice in 23 league appearances during his first season. Converted to a front runner for the following campaign - and starting all but one league game - Darran was a revelation as he went on to top the scoring charts with 20 league goals. He memorably repeated the feat during 1989/90 when his 20 goals - from just 32 appearances - cast him as a key player as Exeter won Fourth Division title.

Such form inevitably attracted the attention of bigger clubs until Darran sustained a serious knee injury which kept him out of football for a year. When he left City, after 58 goals in 142 games in all competitions, it was for Torquay United in September 1991 in exchange for Peter Whiston. After just four months at Plainmoor Darran moved to Birmingham City for £20.000 joining his former Exeter manager Terry Cooper at St Andrews. Scoring just six times for Birmingham, and following loan spells at Mansfield Town and Hereford United, Darran agreed terms with Crewe Alexandra in July 1993 and enjoyed considerable success at Gresty Road netting 21 goals in 61 league outings. He then signed for Shrewsbury Town in July 1995 adding a further 9 goals in 40 league appearances.

Next, after still featuring regularly for the Shrews during the early part of the season, Darran returned to Exeter City on loan in October 1996 scoring in his first game against Hartlepool United. The deal was quickly made permanent and Darran added another nine goals to his Grecians tally during the remainder of 1996/97. He importantly contributed 22 league and cup goals the following season but just eight in 1998/99.

Then, in November 1999, after not playing since the opening game of the season Darran - much to the unhappiness of some supporters - was allowed to join Leyton Orient on a month’s loan in November 1999. Returning to City after Christmas, he was involved in the majority of the club’s remaining games scoring twice against Rochale and Northampton. Playing his final game for Exeter - against Shrewsbury Town on 6 May 2000 (nearly thirteen years after his debut) - Darran was given a free transfer after a second spell at the club that had yielded 38 goals in 120 league appearances.

Darran ended his playing career with Weymouth in the Southern league alongside his brother Jason (Plymouth Argyle, Raith Rovers, Wycombe Wanderers and Torquay United) and, by 2010, was reported as living in Kingsteignton and working for Leyland Daf in Heathfield.


Exeter City

League 238; Cups 36 (274)


League 85; Cups 16 (101)



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