Fresh twist at Reading as Canaries legend takes over as manager

PUBLISHED: 15:56 14 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:56 14 October 2019

Reading sporting director Mark Bowen, pictured earlier this season Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Reading sporting director Mark Bowen, pictured earlier this season Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire

PA Wire/PA Images

Events at Reading have taken a fresh twist, with Norwich City legend Mark Bowen switching from his role as sporting director to become manager of the struggling Championship club.

The Royals dismissed manager Jose Gomes last Wednesday after seven defeats in 11 games had left his team in the Championship relegation zone.

Initially Bowen's long-term colleague Mark Hughes had been installed as favourite for the role, due to his previous work as manager with Bowen alongside him as assistant with Wales and at various clubs including Manchester City, Southampton and Stoke.

However, it's Bowen taking on the managerial role, having arrived as a consultant during the second half of last season to help Gomes steer Reading clear of relegation, before becoming sporting director in August.

The former Wales left-back, who scored 27 goals in 399 games for Norwich between 1987 and 1996, had only recently been discussing his new role, when he admitted he was finding it difficult to stay away from the training pitches.

Yet now he has made the controversial move of replacing Gomes himself, although Reading's statement last week specifically stated that owner Yongge Dai had made the decision to make a change.

Confirming the appointment, the Reading website says Bowen "steps up from his position as sporting director" and highlights his 20 years of coaching experience.

Mark Bowen made 399 appearances for Norwich City, many of them in the top flight Picture: Archant libraryMark Bowen made 399 appearances for Norwich City, many of them in the top flight Picture: Archant library

Chief executive, Nigel Howe, said: "In the relatively short period of time that Mark has already spent at Reading Football Club, 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.

"Mark has two decades of coaching background on his CV, has tasted promotion to the Premier League and spent most of his coaching career in top-flight football.

"He knows this club and the owner and the board believe he is very capable of getting the very best out of a talented group of first team players and achieving the results we all want."

Tim Sherwood, Roy Keane and Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth had been among the favourites with the bookmakers, while Berkshire Live also reported that they understood both Nigel Adkins and former Norwich U18s boss Graeme Murty were keen to return to the club.

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