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Mark Bowen | The history behind the man in the dugout

Player, Coach, Consultant, Sporting Director…all the information on the new Royals manager.

14 October 2019

Mark Bowen played top tier football for Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City, West Ham United and Charlton, during a career which also included short spells with Wigan, Reading and Japanese side Shimizu S-Pulse.

Early in his playing career, the Neath-born left-back was part of the Spurs squad that won the UEFA Cup against Anderlecht on penalties, but it was at Norwich City that the 41 cap-winning Welsh international truly made his mark.

In total, Bowen totted up more than 500 appearances as a player (399 of which were in a Norwich City shirt) and at Carrow Road he won the Player of the Year accolade in 1990. He also famously scored an away goal against Bayern Munich in the Canaries’ UEFA Cup win over the Bundesliga giants a few years later - having helped City qualify for European competition with a third-placed Premier League finish.

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Mark is also remembered by Charlton Athletic fans following a successful spotkick taken in arguably the most dramatic Play-off Final ever to be staged at Wembley; the 1998 showpiece between Alan Curbishley’s Addicks and Peter Reid’s Sunderland side ended 4-4 after extra-time and promotion to the Premier League was decided by sudden death in the shootout, with Bowen scoring to emerge victorious.

Mark’s move into coaching began 20 years ago when he accepted a position with the Welsh national team in August 1999.

Bowen was part of a coaching team who helped catapult Wales up the FIFA rankings, famously beating Italy in Cardiff in October 2002 to take his home nation to within a whisker of qualifying for Euro 2004.

In parallel to his international duties, Bowen was impressing on the domestic front as Steve Bruce’s assistant at Birmingham City. He won promotion to the Premier League with the Blues in 2002, courtesy of a penalty shootout play-off win over Norwich City at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

And his coaching career continued to flourish at Blackburn Rovers - he helped bring European football to Ewood Park in the form of a sixth-placed finish in 2005-6 and achieved top-half finishes for three successive Premier League seasons.

That became four consecutive top-half finishes when he moved to Manchester City in 2008 and in a successful season as Assistant Coach at Craven Cottage, Bowen helped Fulham earn eighth place in the Premier League and qualify for the UEFA Cup.

After a short spell at QPR, he became Assistant Manager at Stoke City for four and a half years - again earning top half Premier League finishes with the Potters in every one of his first three seasons in the dugout whilst also guiding the club to a League Cup semi-final in 2015-16.

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His most recent coaching stint came at Southampton, whom Mark helped save from the threat of relegation whilst also guiding them to an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley after being appointed to the Saints’ coaching staff in March 2018.

Bowen will now take the next step in his career and lead from the front in RG2.


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