Training Ground Guru | Mark Bowen returns to Reading as Head of Football Operations

Written by Training Ground Guru – May 19, 2022

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

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

Then, in October 2019, he was appointed first-team manager and guided the side to a mid-table finish. A year later, he left after declining to return to the sporting director role.

He has been AFC Wimbledon manager since March, losing three and drawing four of his seven games in which the ailing Dons were relegated from League One.

Reading said Bowen’s new role is “multi-faceted” and “strategic leadership for our club’s football-focused activities – our coaching values, the club’s player recruitment approach, use of sports science, analysis and medical data, while also providing significant integration of our Category 1 academy Incorporating the program into the philosophy of the club’s first team.”

This is very similar to his previous role as sporting director and it’s not clear why the title was changed to Head of Football Operations.

Reading Chief Executive Dayong Pang said: “We have a very important summer ahead of us as we try to plan and prepare for another challenge in the 2022/23 Championship so I’m delighted that Mark has agreed to join us to join us at the forefront of these preparations as Head of Football Operations.

“Owner Mr Dai and I recognize the significant impact that an appointment of this nature can have within the structure of the club and in Mark we have not only had a tremendous amount of experience in football at the highest level but also appointed a person She has a very clear, strong understanding of Reading Football Club and the specific challenges we face.

“He will provide valuable guidance, a football-centric focus and consistency across our first-team and academy age groups, which we are confident will help restore an identity and develop a football culture that defines every pitch at Bearwood Park is driven by a goal to ensure our players reach their maximum potential. I look forward to continuing to work with Mark.”

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

Alex Rae will continue to be his assistant.

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