First Team Manager
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BORN in Ruabon, North Wales, Stoke City boss Mark Hughes has enjoyed a glittering career as both a player and manager.
Donning the famous jerseys of Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Chelsea during his playing days, Mark’s managerial career, which has so far spanned 15-years, has been equally as impressive.
AS A PLAYER:
A goal-scoring debut for Manchester United against Oxford as a 17-year-old was a sign of things to come from the youngster, who had only three years earlier penned schoolboy terms at Old Trafford.
Six months on Mark was handed his first senior international honours with Wales, where he continued to display his obvious talents by bagging a debut goal against England.
After scoring an impressive 47 goals in 117 outings for United, and earning himself a PFA Young Player of the Year award as well as an FA Cup winner’s medal, the curtain was drawn upon his initial stay at Old Trafford in 1986.
A battle for his services was eventually won by European giants Barcelona, although his stay in Spain proved to be relatively short-lived and he departed the Nou Camp for the Olympic Stadium in Munich just twelve months later.
He rediscovered his form for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, averaging a goal every three games during his twelve month stay there, prompting Sir Alex Ferguson to splash £1.5 million on his services and bring him back to England in 1988.
It was during his ensuing seven years in Manchester that Mark really displayed his goal-scoring credentials, hitting 16 in his first season back, and scooping the PFA Player of the Year award in the process.
A brace in the 1989/90 FA Cup Final against Crystal Palace rescued the Reds as they came from behind to lift the coveted trophy, and give Sir Alex Ferguson his first taste of silverware as United boss.
Another Player of the Year award came his way the following season, as did another 15 goals, whilst his stellar display, capped off with two goals against former Club Barcelona, in the Cup Winners’ Cup Final in Rotterdam, really shot him to stardom.
A League Cup winner’s medal was quickly followed by the First Division (now Premier League) Championship in 1993, securing him the full domestic set of medals having previously scooped two FA Cup winner’s accolades.
After lifting 11 major trophies, including a further FA Cup in 1994, Mark, who had scored 115 goals in 346 appearances for United, made a £1.5 million move to London, where Chelsea secured the signature of a player that they felt could lead the Club to a golden era during the 1990s.
The Welshman was instrumental at Stamford Bridge and helped the Londoners to the FA Cup during the 1996/97 campaign, whilst he added further honours to his trophy cabinet twelve months later in the shape of the League Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup.
A six-figure deal was agreed with Southampton in the summer of 1998 having scored 39 goals in 123 appearances for the Blues.
He spent two years at the Dell before embarking upon a brief stay at Everton, whilst he went on to bring the curtain down on an illustrious playing career, which included 72 international caps, at Blackburn Rovers in 2002.
AS A MANAGER:
It was in 1999 though, three years before netting his final goal as a player for Blackburn against Leicester City, that Mark took his first in roads into football management.
Appointed as player manager for the Wales national side, Mark enjoyed a hugely successful five-year spell in that role – significantly changing the fortunes of the nation, and very nearly taking them to the Euro 2004 Finals – heartbreakingly missing out to Russia in the play-offs having stunned Italy during the qualifying campaign.
In September 2004 Mark was appointed as manager of Premier League side Blackburn Rovers, for whom he took to a first FA Cup Semi-Final in over 40 years, as well as ending the campaign in seventh spot, narrowly missing out on a European berth.
He led Rovers to sixth and tenth place finishes during the following season’s, displaying his credentials in the transfer market by unearthing several gems including Benni McCarthy, Christopher Samba, Roque Santa Cruz and David Bentley, as well as leading the Club into Europe.
The success he enjoyed at Ewood Park earned him a whole host of admirers, none more so than the hierarchy at Manchester City, who agreed a compensation package with Blackburn and appointed him as their new boss in June 2008.
However, the following December, 18-months into his three-year contract, a change of ownership at the Etihad Stadium meant that Mark lost his job with Roberto Mancini coming in as his successor, despite the Club realistically challenging for a European spot.
The much sought after manager wasn’t out of a job for long though – as Fulham came calling in the summer of 2010 to fill the vacant hot-seat at Craven Cottage, following Roy Hodgson’s decision to accept Liverpool’s job offer.
Mark enjoyed another impressive campaign, leading the Cottagers to an eighth place finish in the Premier League, as well as securing a Europa League spot for the 2011/12 season by virtue of the Fair Play League.
Despite such an impressive opening twelve months in London, Mark subsequently called time on his spell in charge there at the end of the season.
His next move was to Queens Park Rangers in January this year, for whom he saved from relegation, despite looking odds on to suffer the drop following a disappointing start to the campaign. He was dismissed just twelve games into last season however, with the Club sitting in the drop zone.
A LONG-TERM confidant of Mark Hughes . . . Mark Bowen followed his Welsh compatriot to the Britannia Stadium in June 2013.
Having worked under Hughes at Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham and most recently Queens Park Rangers, the pair linked up for a fifth time in the Barclays Premier League with Stoke City.
A former Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City and Wales international defender, Bowen first came into contact with Hughes on the international scene for Wales during their playing days in the 1980s and 90s.
It was during Hughes’ rein in charge of Wales that the pair first worked together in coaching roles however, as Bowen combined his duties with his native country together with his full-time role as Steve Bruce’s understudy at Birmingham City.
Having helped lead the Blues to the Premier League in 2002, and impressed Hughes with his knowledge and tactical nous at international level, Bowen followed his compatriot to Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 2004 – ending his St. Andrews association.
Commonly regarded as a hands on coach, Bowen works closely with the players on the training field, whilst he also takes an active role in player recruitment – previously helping to unearth the likes of Chris Samba, Roque Santa Cruz and Vincent Kompany.
First Team Coach
A VITALLY important member of Mark Hughes’ backroom team . . . Eddie Niedzwiecki is commonly regarded as one of the most knowledgeable and technically advanced coaches in the game.
An advocate of modern day football technology, the former Wrexham and Chelsea goalkeeper works closely with the Football Club’s data analysts both prior to and following first team matches, to determine player performance.
Like Mark Bowen, Eddie has worked under Mark Hughes in each of his previous management posts, having initially been appointed as part-time coach during Hughes’ hugely successful tenure in charge of the Wales national team.
After being forced to prematurely hang up his boots from professional football at the tender age of 28, the Bangor born stopper was first handed a coaching role at Chelsea – a Club he had served as number one for over five years.
He vacated his post at Stamford Bridge in 2000 following the arrival of Italian Manager Claudio Ranieri, however, he had to wait just three weeks for a new coaching opportunity to come his way as Arsenal appointed him as Reserve Team Coach.
He shared his duties at Arsenal with his role with the Welsh FA, before moving back into Premier League coaching work with Hughes at Blackburn.
Since then he has served under the 49-year-old at Manchester City, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and now of course, Stoke City.
ANDY QUY is a vital member of a goalkeeping department that is considered to be one of the strongest in the Barclays Premier League.
The 37-year-old former Tottenham Hotspur apprentice is responsible for ensuring that Asmir Begovic, Thomas Sorensen and Jack Butland remain on top of their game as they compete for the right to be first choice at the Britannia Stadium.
Quy joined the Potters as their goalkeeping coach in 2007 after working with the Academies at Derby County and Aston Villa, as well as the first team at Lincoln City after being forced to focus on the coaching side from an early age.
His playing career was starting to take some shape when an injury forced him into a premature retirement while he was with Hereford after he had made 93 League appearances over a three-year period with the Edgar Street club.
Prior to that, the Harlow-born ‘keeper had started out with Tottenham before enjoying spells with Derby County and Grimsby Town.
A dedicated and likeable character, he works closely with the Potters goalkeepers on a day-to-day basis at the Clayton Wood Training Ground, helping aid their technical, tactical and physical abilities to enable them to perform at maximum level.
Begovic, who scooped four accolades at the 2012/13 End of Season Awards Dinner, gave a glowing reference to Quy, citing his guidance and training methods as a major factor in his progress during his time at the Britannia Stadium.
Fitness & Physio Co-Ordinator
WORKING closely with first team manager Mark Hughes and Chief Executive Tony Scholes . . . Mark Cartwright heads up the Football Club’s worldwide scouting and player recruitment department.
Boasting vast knowledge of players both at home and abroad, the 40-year-old former Wales Under-21 stopper was handed the role at the Britannia Stadium in December 2012, as part of a major scouting revamp.
Born in Chester, Mark has huge pedigree within the scouting world, having built up and established his own successful football agency business, before joining the Beswicks Sports firm, for whom he represented a number of Championship and Premier League players.
He has worked on numerous deals for players all around the world, travelling to the likes of Argentina and South Korea, building up an extensive contact list, which is vital in his current role.
His playing career included spells with York City, Wrexham, Shrewsbury Town and Halifax, whilst his highlight undoubtedly came with Brighton and Hove Albion, for whom he tasted promotion with under Mickey Adams in 2001.
His career was prematurely brought to a halt at the age of 31 because of knee trouble, however, a Business Management degree, which Mark completed during his earlier years in Florida, presented him with the perfect opportunity of remaining in the game as an agent.
His extensive knowledge of players around the world makes him an indispensible member of the current backroom team.
MEDICAL & SUPPORT STAFF
Dave Watson BPHTY, MNZSP, MCSPM
Dr Andrew Dent MBCh.B, MRCGP, MFSEM (UK), Dip. Sports Medicine