AT 36 years of age, Scott McGowan could be forgiven for thinking he had seen it all at this level of football.

However, he insists part of his decision to return for a third spell at 1874 Northwich was partly motivated by experiencing something new.

The frontman’s return to Townfield was confirmed last week as manager Chris Herbert builds a squad to help the club recover from relegation last season.

After three seasons in the Northern Premier League, ’74 will play in the Midlands Football League Premier Division in the coming campaign – a change for the club having operated within the North West Counties League system in their previous spells at Steps Five and Six.

And McGowan, whose first spell at the club between 2016 and 2021 saw him write himself into the 1874 history books, says that challenge is something that excited him having spent last season with Stockport Town.

“Playing in the Counties with Stockport last season was good but after having a conversation with Chris, we spoke about the team he’d built around him and the new challenge,” he said.

“Going into the Midlands league is something I haven’t done before but it’s something I’m looking forward to and hopefully, we can have a good season.”

McGowan scored seven times in 30 appearances for Stockport Town as they finished second in the NWCFL First Division South before losing to Abbey Hey in the play-offs.

However, he has now rejoined a club where he has nothing left to prove.

The undoubted spearhead of a golden era that saw the club reach the FA Vase semi-finals and the third qualifying round of the FA Cup as well as winning promotion to the NPL and back-to-back Macron Cup crowns, McGowan left for Nantwich in 2021 having become the club’s record goalscorer.

In total, he has 139 goals in 214 Greens appearances and while that is a record he will look to extend, he is also keen to pass on his experience to the next generation of 1874 strikers such as Joel Jones, who made his first-team breakthrough last season having graduated from the club’s under 21s team.

He also cites working alongside new first-team coach Mark Reed – himself a prolific goalscorer in his playing days – as another exciting factor.

“Working with Reedy will be massive for me, but working with another young lad in Joel Jones is great,” he said.

“If I can help him in any sort of way then I will do.

“It’s good to help out the young lads as well and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

McGowan with new 1874 manager Chris HerbertMcGowan with new 1874 manager Chris Herbert (Image: 1874 Northwich)

1874 Northwich confirm Liam Fitzpatrick signing

Meanwhile, McGowan has been joined at Townfield by another new signing in the shape of Liam Fitzpatrick.

The left-back’s arrival from Sandbach United was confirmed this week as Herbert secures another key target.

“Fitzy is someone we targeted a while back – he suits everything we want from our full backs,” he said.

“He has high energy, quick, gets up and down the pitch, and pop up with his fair share of goals.

“We ask a lot of our full-backs and he is the type we needed to cope with the load we will give them.”

Fitzpatrick joins McGowan, defender Tom Morris and midfielders Jack McKean and Jacson Coppack as new additions at Townfield so far.

Greens play their first pre-season friendly of the summer on Saturday when they cross the border to Wales to take on The New Saints.