Vale: Bill MacGowan – an influential leader in football, league and golf

posted in: News, Obituary

Football lost one of its most accomplished administrators with the death of Bill MacGowan in 2018.

The former Chief Executive of New Zealand Football was 66 and had been ill for some time.

More recently, he had been Chief Executive of the Auckland Football Federation, a role he relinquished in mid-2017 due to illness.

He had also held senior administrative roles in other sports, having been CEO of the Auckland Warriors rugby league club and of New Zealand Golf.

New Zealand Football Chief Executive Andy Martin said MacGowan’s passing was a sad day for the football community.

“First and foremost our thoughts and sympathies are with Trish and the whole MacGowan family at their time of loss,” said Martin.

“Bill will be remembered as a pioneer of sports administration in this country. He had a significant impact on sport in New Zealand and was an influential leader of New Zealand Football on two occasions.

“He made a positive difference to football in this country at all levels and led the successful staging of the FIFA U-17 World Cup – the first FIFA event to be held in New Zealand. He will be missed by many in the football community.”

Former All Whites coach Ricki Herbert was among those in football who paid tributes to MacGowan, saying MacGowan had a major influence on him when he was in his national coaching role and “I will always be grateful to him.”

MacGowan arrived in New Zealand from Scotland as a seven-year-old in the 1950s. He played football at junior level for East Coast Bays before playing for Blockhouse Bay in the national league. He went on to coach a number of clubs, twice being named Auckland’s coach of the year.

After success in business – he spent some years as managing director of P&O New Zealand (services) – he began his first stint with the national soccer association.

Following his term there he ran the successful FIFA U-17 World Championship in 1999 in New Zealand before becoming New Zealand Football CEO again.

MacGowan subsequently changed sports to take up a role as New Zealand Golf Chief Executive and his most recent role was with the Auckland Football Federation.

Bill MacGowan (1951-2018)