Bowen was right-hand man to former Wales international teammate Mark Hughes for the best part of 20 years, including spells at Manchester City, Fulham, QPR, Stoke and Southampton. But in two decades of coaching, this is his first permanent managerial role.
#ReadingFC are pleased to announce that Mark Bowen has been appointed as First Team Manager— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) October 14, 2019
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In the club’s official announcement, Reading chief executive Nigel Howe spoke glowingly about Bowen ‘commanding respect and admiration’ at the Madesjki Stadium.
Gomes paid the price for a poor start to the season that left the club in the Championship relegation zone, but Royals supporters have reacted overwhelmingly badly to Bowen taking over.
Many replied to the tweet announcing his new role with #BowenOut, while others posted an array of amusing memes to express their extreme displeasure. For some, it is as bad as early confirmation that Reading will be playing their football in League One next season.
One fan on Twitter pointed out Bowen’s likely role in the dismissal of Gomes and the subsequent selection process as sporting director, commenting, “The man ‘drawing up the shortlist’ employs himself. Would have had a big say over the Gomes sacking and then takes over. Do one.”
The man “drawing up the shortlist” employs himself. Would have had a big say over the Gomes sacking and then takes over. Do one.— Reynolds (@Chaz_Reynolds) October 14, 2019
Reading’s next game, Bowen’s first in charge, will see them host promotion-chasing Preston at home. The Royals haven’t won a league fixture since 24th August and have taken only one point from their last six Championship games. Only Barnsley and Stoke sit lower in the table.
The remainder of October will see further difficult games against QPR and Nottingham Forest.