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Mark Bowen

Mark Bowen
Norwich Career: 1987-1996 (399 appearances 27 goals)
Current Club: Reading (Head of Football Operations)
Date of Birth: 07/12/1963
Nationality: Welsh


Welsh international Mark Bowen was with Norwich City for nine years from July 1987 until the summer of 1996. Originally with Tottenham Hotspur, Mark had a trial with a number of clubs as a youngster including Manchester United.

This attacking left back joined Norwich for £90,000. As a virtual ever present for 9 seasons his vital interceptions and clearances allied to his attacking ambitions, he was called Mr Versatile by his boss Martin O'Neill. He played in both full back positions, sweeper, up-front and all positions across midfield for club and country. He even played in goal when Bryan Gunn was sent off at Coventry, saving a Penalty!!

He should ensure his lasting place in Norwich City Hall of Fame for his glorious WINNING goal in Norwich's greatest night of cup football. October 1993 in Munich, that goal makes Norwich still the only British club side to beat Bayern Munich in Munich in any European Match.

Also Mark is the only Norwich player to have represented the Premier League against the Italian League. He also still holds the record number of International caps won as a Norwich city player (35 caps for Wales).Whilst with Norwich, Mark became a regular in the Welsh international team that nearly qualified for the 1994 World Cup were it not for a missed penalty from fellow defender Paul Bodin. He has also played at right back and as sweeper.

Criticism of Gary Megson's tactics saw Mark dropped from the first team when he was one game short of 400 appearances for the Canaries. Norwich's financial problems in 1996 saw them release many stars on free transfers. Despite interest from Leeds and Coventry, Mark joined West Ham and was a first team regular. In March 1997, Mark joined Japanese side Shimizu Pulse, managed by Ossie Ardiles, for the reported sum of £1million and scored on his debut against Brummel Sendai on March 22nd.

He returned to England in September 1997 joining Charlton Athletic. He made his debut for the Addicks as substitute in their 4-0 thrashing of Norwich at Carrow Road on September 17th 1997. His presence and experience helped Charlton to the Play-offs where he converted one of the penalties in their victory over Sunderland that took Charlton into the Premiership for the first time.

After the 1998/99 season was ravaged by injuries, Mark was released by the Addicks in May 1999 after their relegation to Division One. The Evening Standard speculated that Mark would stay in London and join Fulham, newly promoted to Division One. Mark initally joined Bristol City on trial on the 20th July 1999 playing in at least one pre-season friendly. The Sun then reported on 27th July that Mark was on trial with Oxford United. Mark later joined Wigan Athletic on a month-to-month contract in August 1999 and made his debut on the opening day on the 1999/2000 season against Scunthorpe.

Mark joined Reading on a non-contract basis on 6th December 1999. Fellow Canaries at Reading included Scott Howie, John Polston and Peter Grant. However his stay was not long. Teamtalk reported that Reading manager "Alan Pardew has decided to end his interest in signing experienced defender Mark Bowen, who was at the club on a non-contract deal. The Royals boss decided against awarding him a long-term contract after a week of intense speculation over Bowen's position with the club. He arrived at the Madejski Stadium at the beginning of the week, initially on a non-contract basis to see how things went. But Bowen was a little unhappy with those terms because he wanted to negotiate something with a bit more security like an extended loan deal." Thus Mark made only appearance for Reading, that being the cup victory over Leyton Orient.

Before Mark joined Reading, new Welsh national team coach Mark Hughes had given him responsibility for the Welsh Under 21 team. Mark was promoted to Assistant Manager for the Welsh national team before joining Steve Bruce in a similar role at Crystal Palace in June 2001. Mark followed Bruce to Birmingham City (again as Assistant Manager) in December 2001 where they led the Blues to promotion to the Premiership via a Play-Off final victory over the Canaries. Birmingham's presence in the top flight and the struggles involved with that led to a club vs country row at the end of August 2002 when Bruce suggested that Mark retires from his position with the Welsh Under-21 squad. Eventually Mark stepped down from his role with Wales. Bowen and Birmingham parted company towards the end of June 2004 due to a contraual dispute.

When Mark Hughes took over as manager of Blackburn Rovers, he re-established his link with Bowen appointing him as Assistant Manager.

On 19th September 2006, Bowen was linked by the Daily Mail to the managerial vacancy at West Bromwich Albion following Bryan Robson's departure. He was also linked the following month with the vacancy at Carrow Road following Nigel Worthington's sacking.

In February 2007, Bowen was linked with the managerial vacancy at Swansea City, following Kenny Jackett's departure, along with Jan Molby, Nigel Worthington, Joe Royle, Phil Parkinson, Kevin Blackwell and Dean Saunders.

In October 2007, Bowen was linked with the vacant Norwich City manager's position following the departure of Peter Grant

In June 2008, Bowen followed Blackburn manager Mark Hughes to Manchester City, joining the backroom team at Eastlands.

Bowen left Man City in mid-December 2009 after Hughes was sacked and replaced by Roberto Mancini

At the end of July 2010, Hughes and Bowen were appointed as the management team at Fulham, replacing Roy Hodgson who had joined Liverpool

When Hughes quit in June 2011, Bowen stayed at Fulham taking a new role coaching the Academy

When Hughes took charge at Fulham on 10th January 2012, replacing Neil Warnock, he brought in his trusted management team including Bowen as Assistant Manager, Eddie Niedzwiecki and Kevin Hitchcock. Hughes was sacked as QPR manager on 23rd November 2012 wuth the club sitting at the bottom of the Premiership having taken just 5 points from 13 games. Bowen was caretaker manager for the clash at Old Trafford on 24th November which QPR lost 3-1. He was then sacked from QPR when Harry Redknapp was appointed manager and brought in Kevin Bond as Assistant Manager on 1st December 2012.

When Hughes was appointed manager of Stoke City on 30th May 2013, replacing Tony Pulis, he brought his backroom team of Bowen, Eddie Niedzwiecki and Kevin Hitchcock with him. They finished ninth in his first three seasons and 13th in 2016/17.

Bowen left Stoke following Hughes' sacking on 6th January 2018 after Stoke were knocked out of the FA Cup by League Two Coventry. They were also in the Premier League relegation zone after suffering five defeats in seven games.

In January 2018, Bowen was one of four people interviewed for the Wales' manager's position which eventually was given to Ryan Giggs (the others were Craig Bellamy and Osian Roberts)

Bowen followed Hughes to Southampton in mid-March 2018 becoming Assistant Manager. Hughes replaced the sacked Maurico Pellegrino who had joined the Saints in the summer of 2017.

Hughes and Bowen were sacked on 3rd December 2018 with the Saints 18th in the Premier League table. They had won just 3 games out of 22, Hughes was replaced by former RB Leipzig manager Ralph Hasenhuttl

Towards the end of the 2018/19 season, Bowen joined Reading in a consultancy rtole. On 21st August 2019, he was appointed as Reading's Sporting Director. He will work alongside Reading owner Dai Yongge, chief executive Nigel Howe and manager Jose Gomes. "Mark proved a valuable asset to the first-team structure when he joined us at the end of last season," Howe said

On 14th October 2019, Bowen was appointed as manager following the sacking of Jose Gomes the previous week with Reading third from bottom of the Championship and without a win in six games. Royals chief executive Nigel Howe said "In the relatively short period of time that Mark has already spent at Reading, he has commanded respect and admiration from all who have worked alongside him, He came in at a critical period last season to help us retain our Championship status and had an immediate impact." He is Reading's fourth manager in 18 months following the departures of Jaap Stam, Paul Clement and Gomes.

Bowen left Reading on 31st August 2020 following the appointment of Veljko Paunovic as manager. The Serb had previously managed Chicago Fire and the Serbia youth teams following a career in Serbia, Spain, Germany, Russia and the USA. The Royals say Bowen was offered a "new role within the restructure" but has chosen to "pursue new opportunities"."I would like to thank Mark for the hard work he put in as manager and the commitment he showed to our first team affairs before, during and after football's lockdown situation," said owner Dai Yongge. He had won 14 of the 40 games in charge.

On 30th March 2022 he was appointed as head coach of AFC Wimbledon until the end of the 2021/22 season.The League One club had been in freefall - winless in 21 games in all competitions - and were in the relegation zone. They parted with head coach Mark Robinson a few days before Bowen's appointment. Unfortunately he could not keep the Dons in League One with the side relegated on 30th April 2022 following a 4-3 defeat to Accrington Stanley. Bowen then left the club on 8th May 2022 looking for a club higher up the pyramid.

He returned to Reading in May 2022 as Head of Football Operations.

On 1st June 2024 he was charged over breaches of Football Association betting rules. He is alleged to have placed bets on 95 bets on football matches between April 19, 2022 and January 14, 2024. The FA has said that none of the alleged offences were connected to games involving Reading. Under FA regulations all players, coaches and officials connected with clubs in the top eight tiers of English football are prohibited from gambling on matches played worldwide. If found guilty, he could face a ban from the game similar to that of Brentford striker Ivan Toney, who was banned for eight months and fined £50,000.

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