Reading have made a key addition behind the scenes, appointing Mark Bowen to the position of Sporting Director. He belatedly replaces Gianluca Nani, who left the club last autumn, soon after the return of Nigel Howe as CEO.
Bowen is no stranger to the Madejski Stadium, having worked alongside Jose Gomes last season as a ‘technical consultant’ for the final eight games. That’s a run that included key wins over Preston North End and Brentford, plus draws with Norwich City and Bristol City (among others), so Bowen can stake a claim to being a factor in the reason for Reading staying up.
His role going forwards is different - he’ll have a much broader remit that gives him responsibility “for all football operations at the club” according to Reading’s official announcement. So, expect to see him getting involved with the first team, academy and recruitment.
It may simply be semantics, but it’s worth noting that Bowen holds the same work title as predecessor Nani (Sporting Director), but different to Brian Tevreden (Technical Director) and Nicky Hammond (Director of Football).
We don’t any more specifics about his responsibilities and why he came in though. Will Bowen help to shape the direction of the football club going forwards in terms of philosophy and recruitment, or is he here to enact principles that have already been set by someone else? Either way, having someone in this position is a good idea, as I explained in this piece from a little while ago:
Nigel Howe was understandably full of praise for the new appointment, and shared the information that Bowen has already been working behind the scenes for Reading over the summer.
“Mark proved a valuable asset to the first team structure when he joined us at the end of last season and he has been working from within our first team and academy operations at Hogwood during the last couple of months. Mr Dai, the manager and I will now lend Mark our utmost support as he embarks on this new role at Reading.”
For some more information about Bowen, you can read Olly’s broader look at his career, written shortly before the Welshman joined last season.