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
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
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
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
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
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
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.