In Profile: Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki

By SFC Media Thu 15 Mar First team
Photo by Matt Watson

We take a look at coaching duo Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki's respective journeys to St Mary's with our in-depth profiles...

Mark Bowen

A former left-back, Bowen was a long-term international teammate of Hughes for Wales, who has since worked alongside the new Saints boss in all of his management positions.

Bowen’s career began in the youth ranks at Tottenham, where he progressed to play 21 times for the first team and won the UEFA Cup in 1984.

He made his Wales debut before leaving Spurs at the age of 23 and beginning a nine-year stay at Norwich.

Now playing regular football, Bowen enjoyed the best years of his career at Carrow Road, where he was later voted into the club’s all-time XI by supporters.

Player of the Year in his first season, the first of 399 appearances for City came against Saints in the old First Division back in 1987.

An ever-present in 1992/93, Bowen helped Norwich finish third in the inaugural year of the Premier League, before playing in an historic win over Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup the following season – the only victory by a British team ever in the Olympic Stadium.

Bowen was voted Norwich's greatest-ever left-back by supporters in 2002

The later years of his playing career included a spell at West Ham and a brief period in China, before helping Charlton win promotion to the Premier League.

When the Addicks’ memorable play-off final with Sunderland finished 4-4 after extra time, Bowen converted from the penalty spot in the shoot-out en route to Wembley glory.

Still playing in the top flight in his mid-30s, a serious injury forced the defender into retirement after spending time with Wigan and Reading.

For Wales, Bowen earned 41 caps in an 11-year international career, scoring three goals, but, like Hughes, unfortunately never had the opportunity to represent his country at a major tournament.

After taking the Welsh manager’s job in 1999, Hughes appointed Bowen to his coaching staff, before the latter teamed up with Steve Bruce at Crystal Palace and Birmingham, again winning promotion via the play-offs on penalties – ironically at Norwich’s expense.

Bowen later returned to the Wales setup before he was named assistant manager at Blackburn under Hughes, who later appointed him at Man City and Fulham.

Following Hughes’s departure from Craven Cottage, Bowen stayed to work with the club’s Academy, later rejoining his former teammate at QPR, where he took caretaker charge for one game, and Stoke, where the duo spent four and a half years in partnership.

Hughes and Bowen in conversation in their time together at Stoke

Eddie Niedzwiecki

Another Wales international, Niedzwiecki was a goalkeeper forced to retire early through injury.

His entire playing career was divided between two clubs, Wrexham and Chelsea, making more than 100 league appearances for both sides. 

A Third Division title winner whilst still in his teens, Niedzwiecki was on the Dragons’ books for a decade, departing for Stamford Bridge as a 24-year-old in 1983.

In doing so, he moved back up to the Second Division following Wrexham’s relegation the previous year, and another league title beckoned in west London.

In winning the league on goal difference, Niedzwiecki had the chance to play top-flight football for the first time.

He made a total of 175 appearances for Chelsea, where he is still fondly remembered for a sublime individual performance in a 1985 League Cup victory at near neighbours Fulham, in which he made several breathtaking saves – including a penalty stop – in a 1-0 win.

He was twice capped by Wales manager Mike England during his Blues career, but saw his career sadly cut short in 1988, aged 28.

Ex-goalkeeper Niedzwiecki was an ever-present as Chelsea won the Second Division

It was at Chelsea that Niedzwiecki cut his cloth in coaching, working as reserve team and goalkeeper coach, before leaving in 2000 following the appointment of Claudio Ranieri as manager.

He then moved across the capital to become reserve team coach at Arsenal, whilst working part-time with Wales under Mark Hughes, who had played alongside Niedzwiecki on the international stage.

At club level, the pair have worked together in all of Hughes’s management positions – Blackburn, Man City, Fulham, QPR and Stoke.

Niedzwiecki has taken caretaker charge of two Premier League games in his career, ironically both against Manchester United.

In 2012, he oversaw a 3-1 defeat for QPR alongside Mark Bowen, before leading Stoke at Old Trafford following Hughes’s departure in January.

At 58 years of age, Niedzwiecki is four years senior to Hughes and Bowen, and a trusted ally of the new Saints boss.

Niedzwiecki took caretaker charge of Stoke against Manchester United in January

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