AFC Wimbledon appoint a new manager in Mark Bowen after backlash to the caretaker decision which came less than two days before this call.
The Wombles had confirmed that centre-back Darius Charles was taking charge of first-team duties on a temporary basis following Mark Robinson’s departure and that an experienced manager was being looked at.
Charles, 34, returned to AFC Wimbledon last summer and, despite playing only two times, has been important off the pitch and in the dressing room, helping younger players with his experience and leadership.
However it seems he isn’t going to manage a single game, as soon expected, with Mark Bowen quickly replacing him, surprising but pleasing fans.
— AFC Wimbledon (@AFCWimbledon) March 30, 2022
We are pleased to announce that Mark Bowen has been appointed first team manager until the end of the season.
The former Welsh international and Reading boss will take over immediately and now lead the side out against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
We would like to thank Darius Charles for covering in this role over the last couple of days.
“I am deeply honoured to have been offered this position,” said Mark.
“I fully understand what’s at stake and what needs to be done over the remaining seven games. Take my word for it, we will all be doing everything possible to keep this proud club in League One.”
Mark has previously worked alongside Mark Hughes with Wales, Manchester City, Blackburn, Fulham, QPR, Stoke and Southampton.
Most recently, however, he worked for Reading, lifting them from 23rd in the Championship to 14th position.
Mark will be assisted by the former Arsenal and Chelsea coach Eddie Niedzwiecki, who also worked with him at Reading.
Our interim chair Mick Buckley added: “We are excited to be welcoming such experienced and respected coaches at this stage in the season.
“Mark understands the enormity of the job ahead. In many respects it speaks volumes for his character and personality that he is willing to take on this challenge with so much at stake.
“We can only do everything we possibly can to support him to the hilt and I’m confident that’s exactly what our fans will be doing on Saturday and our forthcoming home game against Charlton on Tuesday.”
Twitter users reacted as AFC Wimbledon appoint a new manager…
@tlmfootball: poor Darius didn’t even last two days 😂😂
@povejsilvojtech: Let’s do the impossible again 🤞
@ChrisOraa: Darius Charles First Team Manager 28/04 – 30/4 👏🏻
@Gary_M_Wilkes: Well, we can’t say that we don’t have experienced coaching now! This is a way better appointment than I was expecting! Good luck to Mark and Eddie 👏
@gorfmanrob: I think it’s a sensible appointment. He has the experience and saved Reading from relegation. The main issue for me is that he’s not Mark Robinson
@AlanSurrey: Yeah exactly, you would definitely be watching League 2 football, with good knows what players playing for the club 🙄
@BrooklynDon6: Well, the good news is that the club acted quickly and Bowen has experience and will be assisted by someone with experience. If there is any bad news, it’s that he doesn’t know our players well and won’t know who he can trust at this point. But if he can keep us up, he’s a hero.
@dingaidan_: Wasn’t bad for us, should do well for you
@KTsleftboot: Can he play up front?
@steedyboi11: As a reading fan you guys will be happy with him. Honestly gutted we got rid of him. Has the potential to be a really good manager and definitely saved us from the drop
@RyanMcGinty02: Right move to get someone proper in before Saturday, aswell as making it to the end of the season.
@owen_thorner: He will promote himself to owner in a few months 🤣
Miracles can happen, and we’re definitely in need of one.
Here’s hoping that Mark Bowen can make one for us.
@Afc_SiPinnock: Superb appointment, An Experienced coach who has been there and done it, and doesn’t have a connection with the club. Way better then I expected.
@harveyeverardd: Darius Charles is our best ever manager
@LukeAFCW: The fact we haven’t appointed an ex player but someone who’s an actual manager is such a W
@liamthewomble: Excellent appointment. Experience is exactly what was needed. Let’s hope he can work a miracle and keep us up. Well done the board and @TheDonsTrust
@simonam40695762: mark bowens yellows and blue army
@harrison1871rfc: Unbelievable appointment
@AFCWnico: That’ll do. Certainly could have been worse, too! At least he has experience of keeping Reading up, alongside being an experienced coach. Given the situation we’re in, it’s a decent appointment. COYD #afcwimbledon
@BrianMay8: Happy with that. Experience of playing and coaching, no sentimental attachment to Wimbledon, coming in with no favourites in the team. It’s a big ask but maybe, just maybe, we’ve bought ourselves a chance?
@MattAFCW: Honestly very happy with that. Right step for the club, showing that we’re not just looking for ex players or youth coaches. Desperately been wanting outside experienced managers for a long time👍🏼
@1871_GS: I’m a Wimbledon fan now
@lewismbrown_: about to become the sam allardyce of league one 😍
Darius Charles be like pic.twitter.com/bEKieiL1XD
— Charlie Strank (@Chalios96) March 30, 2022