Mark Bowen returns to Reading as Head of Football Operations

Bowen was Sporting Director at Reading in 2019/20

Bowen was Sporting Director at Reading in 2019/20

MARK BOWEN has returned to Reading in his fifth different role, this time as Head of Football Operations.

The former Wales international was a player for the Royals for a short spell in December 1999. He returned as a Technical Consultant in 2019 before being appointed Sporting Director ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.

Then, in October 2019, he was appointed first-team manager, guiding the side to a mid-table finish. A year later he departed, having turned down a return to the Sporting Director role.

Since March he has been AFC Wimbledon manager, losing three and drawing four of his seven matches in charge, which saw the struggling Dons relegated from League One.

Reading said Bowen's new role would be “multifaceted” and “provide strategic leadership across our club's football-driven operations - our coaching values, the club’s player recruitment approach, the use of sports science, analysis and medical data whilst vitally integrating our Category One Academy programme into the club’s first team philosophy.”

That is very similar to the Sporting Director role he had previously and it is not clear why the title has been changed to Head of Football Operations.

Reading Chief Executive Dayong Pang said: "We have a very important summer in front of us as we look to plan and prepare for another challenge in the Championship in 2022/ 23, so I am delighted that Mark has agreed to join us to help spearhead those preparations as Head of Football Operations.

“Owner Mr Dai and I recognise the considerable impact an appointment of this nature can make within the structure of the club and, as well as boasting a huge level of experience in football at the highest level, in Mark we have appointed an individual who possesses a very clear, strong understanding of Reading Football club and the specific challenges we face.

“He will provide valuable guidance, a football-driven focus and consistency across our first team and Academy age groups which we are confident will help re-establish an identity across all the pitches at Bearwood Park and develop a footballing culture which will be defined by an aim to ensure our players achieve their maximum potential. I’m very much looking forward to working with Mark once more."

Meanwhile, Paul Ince has been confirmed as permanent manager of the club, having taken the job on an interim basis in February and steered the Royals to Championship safety.

Alex Rae will continue as his assistant.

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