Tony Mowbray

Anthony Mark Mowbray (born 22 November 1963) is an English former professional footballer who is the head coach of Championship club Blackburn Rovers. Mowbray played for Middlesbrough, Celtic and Ipswich Town as a defender.

Tony Mowbray
Mowbray as Celtic manager in 2009
Personal information
Full name Anthony Mark Mowbray[1]
Date of birth (1963-11-22) 22 November 1963 (age 57)[1]
Place of birth Saltburn,[1] England
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)[2]
Position(s) Defender
Club information
Current team
Blackburn Rovers (head coach)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1982–1991 Middlesbrough 348 (26)
1991–1995 Celtic 77 (5)
1995–2000 Ipswich Town 128 (5)
Total 553 (36)
National team
1989 England B 3 (0)
Teams managed
2002 Ipswich Town (interim)
2004–2006 Hibernian
2006–2009 West Bromwich Albion
2009–2010 Celtic
2010–2013 Middlesbrough
2015–2016 Coventry City
2017– Blackburn Rovers
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

He began his coaching career with Ipswich Town and took his first managerial job at Scottish Premier League side Hibernian, where he won the Scottish Football Writers' Association Manager of the Year award in his first season. He moved on to West Bromwich Albion in 2006, where he won the Football League Championship in 2008, but then suffered relegation from the Premier League the following year. Mowbray was then appointed as manager of Celtic, but was dismissed after nine months.

Mowbray subsequently took the manager's role at another of his former clubs, Middlesbrough.[3] After a poor start to the 2013–14 season, Mowbray left Middlesbrough in October 2013.[4] After a spell with Coventry City, he was appointed Blackburn Rovers manager in February 2017. He was unable to prevent Rovers being relegated to League One, but then won promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt.

Playing career


After playing his first match for the club in 1982, Mowbray became captain of Middlesbrough in 1986 when he was just 22 years old. Affectionately known to Boro fans as "Mogga", Mowbray became a legend in Middlesbrough for being a local lad who led the club from liquidation back into the top league of English football within two seasons.

In 2007, Mowbray was placed at number 7 in a chronological list of Middlesbrough legends[5] compiled by local newspaper the Evening Gazette. The Middlesbrough club fanzine Fly me to the Moon is named after a quote about Mowbray from ex-Middlesbrough manager Bruce Rioch – "If I had to fly to the moon I'd take Tony Mowbray, my captain, with me. He's a magnificent man". In 1991 after 348 appearances for Boro, Mowbray moved to Scottish club Celtic for £1 million.


During his playing career with Celtic, Mowbray's wife Bernadette, a native of Renfrewshire, died of breast cancer. The episode is recalled in Mowbray's book, "Kissed by an Angel." It is often asserted that the "huddle" which Celtic players still perform before each match was arranged as a tribute to Bernadette.[6] However, it was merely suggested by Mowbray on a pre-season tour of Germany to bring the squad together at a time of uncertainty. [citation needed]

Ipswich Town

He later moved on to Ipswich Town, where he played for five years, becoming the team captain. He scored an equalising goal in the 2000 Division One playoff final victory against Barnsley. Ipswich won the match 4–2 and secured promotion to the FA Premier League. This match was both Mowbray's Wembley debut and the last of his playing career.

Coaching career

Once his playing career finished he moved into coaching, starting as a first team coach at Ipswich Town. He had a brief spell as caretaker manager of Ipswich, following the sacking of George Burley and prior to the appointment of Joe Royle.[7]


In May 2004, Mowbray was appointed manager of Hibernian, replacing Bobby Williamson.[8] He gained much acclaim for the job he did, winning the Scottish Football Writers' Association manager of the year award in his first season.[9] Hibs finished in the top four in the SPL in his only two full seasons in charge, which was the first time that Hibs had done this in the top division in consecutive seasons since Eddie Turnbull was manager.

Hibs progressed to the later stages of every domestic cup competition in his tenure and made two appearances in European football. Hibs lost heavily to Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the first round of the 2005–06 UEFA Cup and on the away goals rule to OB Odense in the 2006 Intertoto Cup. During mid-2006, Mowbray was interviewed for the vacant managerial position at Ipswich Town, but he rejected their approach.[10] In September 2006 he signed a 12-month rolling deal with Hibs that was due to take effect from July 2007.[11] Just one month later however, Mowbray moved to West Bromwich Albion.

West Bromwich Albion

West Bromwich Albion appointed Mowbray as their manager on 13 October 2006.[12] Mowbray faced the task of returning the Baggies to the Premier League after relegation the previous season.[12] Although he managed to turn around the club's poor away form, an indifferent run of results at home towards the end of the season meant that Albion finished fourth in The Championship table behind Sunderland, Birmingham City and Derby County, and faced the lottery of the Championship Play-Offs. Despite two famous victories over old rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in the semi finals, Albion lost 1–0 to Derby County in the Wembley final.

As a result, during the close season, Mowbray set about restructuring his squad, moving out several of Robson's players for multimillion-pound fees, after press reports of dressing room division.[13]

High-profile players such as Jason Koumas, Diomansy Kamara and Curtis Davies were sold to Premier League clubs for large fees, in addition to the departures of Paul McShane, Nathan Ellington, Darren Carter and Steve Watson. Mowbray replaced them by signing a total of 14 permanent and loan players in the summer transfer window, making an overall profit in the process. His most expensive signings were Chris Brunt from Sheffield Wednesday for £3 million, Leon Barnett from Luton Town for £2.5 million, and James Morrison from Middlesbrough for £1.5 million.[citation needed]

Despite the large changes in his squad, Mowbray won the Championship Manager of the Month award in September 2007, after Albion gained 13 out of the maximum 15 points and climbed to 2nd in the Division.[14]

At the start of 2008, Mowbray's young Albion team topped the table, receiving growing plaudits from the media[15] and supporters alike for their attractive brand of attacking one touch passing football, a reflection of Mowbray's staunch footballing philosophy.[citation needed]

Mowbray guided West Brom to the Football League Championship title, meaning promotion to the Premier League and reached the semi-final of the FA Cup. The semi-final, the first to be played at the new Wembley Stadium, pitted West Brom against Portsmouth, the only remaining Premier League team left in the FA Cup. Portsmouth won the match 1–0 with the only goal of the game coming from Kanu. Mowbray won the Championship manager of the month award for April,[16] as well as the League Managers Association manager of the year award.[17]

After a poor 2008–09 season, West Bromwich were relegated from the Premier League, finishing 20th. Mowbray was still thought highly of by the fans, however, and this was evidenced by them wearing Mowbray masks at their last game of the season.[18] Mowbray left the club for Celtic shortly afterwards.


Tony Mowbray as Celtic manager.

On 8 June 2009, it was reported that Celtic had approached West Bromwich Albion for permission to speak to Mowbray about their managerial vacancy.[19] A compensation fee of £2 million was agreed, and Celtic declared Mowbray as their new manager on 16 June 2009.[20] He was unveiled as Celtic manager at a press conference a day later. His coaching team was Neil Lennon, Peter Grant, Mark Venus, and Stevie Woods.[21] On 12 September 2009 was named as the Coach of the Month of August in the Scottish Premier League.

Mowbray was described as "beleaguered" by The Herald after Celtic fell 10 points behind Old Firm rivals Rangers in the SPL title race after a 2–1 home defeat by Hibs.[22]

Mowbray decided to make significant changes to his squad during the January 2010 transfer window, selling Gary Caldwell and Barry Robson, which apparently caused disruption to the team in the immediate aftermath of those deals being completed.[22] Robbie Keane was recruited early in 2010 on a loan deal from Tottenham Hotspur amid great excitement, however further poor results, particularly a record 4–0 defeat by St Mirren, led to Mowbray being sacked on 25 March.[23] It was reported in May 2010 that Celtic had yet to agree compensation with Mowbray and his management team.[24]


Mowbray was appointed Middlesbrough manager on 26 October 2010, replacing Gordon Strachan. He lost his first match in charge, 2–1 against Bristol City,[25] but followed this with wins against Crystal Palace and Scunthorpe. Mowbray guided Boro to Championship safety,[26] having joined the club when they were 22nd in the league. The club finished the season well, winning their last four league games and finished 12th in the league table. The same season, Mowbray started giving youngsters a first team place such as Joe Bennett, Luke Williams and Richard Smallwood. Mowbray also started giving Marvin Emnes more playing time after returning on loan from Swansea City.[citation needed]

Middlesbrough began the 2011–12 season well and Mowbray won manager of the month for September.[27] Middlesbrough relinquished the only unbeaten record in the league after a 2–0 defeat to Nottingham Forest in October 2011.[citation needed] After a poor start to 2012, Middlesbrough's form picked up in late February with four wins in five games.[28] Middlesbrough finished 7th in the 2011–12 season, missing out on a play-off place by one position.[citation needed]

After an unbeaten run in October 2012, Mowbray won the accolade of Championship Manager of the Month for that month.[29] On 21 October 2013, it was announced that Mowbray had left the club with immediate effect after a run of two wins in 12 games in the 2013–14 campaign.[30]

Coventry City

On 3 March 2015, Mowbray was appointed manager of Coventry City on a deal until the end of the 2014–15 season.[31] With the club facing the possibility of relegation to the fourth-tier for the first time since the late 1950s, Tony Mowbray's initial brief was to keep the club in the third-tier. A final day victory away at Crawley Town was enough for Mowbray to secure League One football for the Sky Blues for the 2015–16 season.[32]

Following protracted negotiations at the end of the season, Tony Mowbray agreed to sign a two-year contract extension to remain as Coventry City manager.[33]

Mowbray resigned from Coventry City on 29 September 2016 after a string of results without a win.[34]

Blackburn Rovers

On 22 February 2017, Mowbray was appointed head coach of Blackburn Rovers on an 18-month contract, effectively lasting until the end of the 2017–18 season.[35] Despite an improvement in form that offered some hope of survival, Blackburn were relegated to League One at the end of the 2016–17 season.[36]

Mowbray signed a new contract that would keep him at the club until 2019, with an option of a further 12 months after that as well.[37] Under his managership, Blackburn won promotion back to the Championship after a single year in League One.[38] Their promotion was assured on 24 April, after a 1–0 away win against Doncaster Rovers.[39]

In the 2018-19 season Mowbray led Blackburn to a final finish of 15th in the Championship. In the EFL Cup they reached the third round before being eliminated at Bournemouth. In the FA Cup Blackburn were eliminated in the third round after extra time in a replay against Newcastle United.

In the 2019-20 season Mowbray secured an 11th place finish in the Championship. In the EFL Cup they reached the second round before defeat at Sheffield United. The club were beaten in the third round of the FA Cup at fellow Championship side Birmingham City.

The 2020-21 season will be Mowbray's fourth full season as manager of Blackburn Rovers.

Personal life

Mowbray has three sons with his wife, Amber Mowbray. His first wife, Bernadette Doyle Mowbray, died of breast cancer on New Year's Day 1995, aged 26.[40][41]

Career statistics


Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other Total
Middlesbrough 1982–83 Second Division 260302000310
1983–84 Second Division 351301000391
1984–85 Second Division 403202000443
1985–86 Second Division 35400201[lower-alpha 1]0384
1986–87 Third Division 46730405[lower-alpha 2]0587
1987–88 Second Division 44351415[lower-alpha 3]0585
1988–89 First Division 37310204[lower-alpha 1]0443
1989–90 Second Division 28230304[lower-alpha 1]0382
1990–91 Second Division 40330614[lower-alpha 4]1535
1991–92 Second Division 17000301[lower-alpha 1]0210
Total 3482623129224142430
Celtic 1991–92 Scottish Premier Division 152200000172
1992–93 Scottish Premier Division 26100304[lower-alpha 5]0331
1993–94 Scottish Premier Division 21110002[lower-alpha 5]0241
1994–95 Scottish Premier Division 151204000211
Total 775507060955
Ipswich Town 1995–96 First Division 19240003[lower-alpha 6]1263
1996–97 First Division 8000100090
1997–98 First Division 250204100311
1998–99 First Division 40220202[lower-alpha 7]0462
1999–2000 First Division 36110003[lower-alpha 7]1402
Total 12859071821528
Career total 5533637143338367043
  1. Appearances in Full Members' Cup
  2. Appearances in Football League Trophy
  3. One appearance in Full Members' Cup and four appearances in Football League Second Division play-offs
  4. Two appearances and goal in Full Members' Cup and two appearances in Football League Second Division play-offs
  5. Appearances in UEFA Cup
  6. Appearances in Anglo-Italian Cup
  7. Appearances in First Division play-offs

Managerial statistics

As of match played 8 May 2021[44]
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
Ipswich Town (caretaker) 11 October 2002 28 October 2002 4 1 1 2 025.0
Hibernian 24 May 2004 13 October 2006 108 52 16 40 048.1
West Bromwich Albion 18 October 2006 16 June 2009 140 57 32 51 040.7
Celtic 16 June 2009 25 March 2010 45 23 9 13 051.1
Middlesbrough 26 October 2010 21 October 2013 153 61 37 55 039.9
Coventry City 3 March 2015 29 September 2016 76 26 24 26 034.2
Blackburn Rovers 22 February 2017 Present 219 89 58 72 040.6
Total 745 309 177 259 041.5


Playing career


Ipswich Town


Managerial career

West Bromwich Albion

Blackburn Rovers

Individual Awards


  1. "Tony Mowbray". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  2. Dunk, Peter, ed. (1987). Rothmans Football Yearbook 1987–88. London: Queen Anne Press. p. 242. ISBN 978-0-356-14354-5.
  3. "Tony Mowbray appointed new Middlesbrough manager". The Daily Telegraph. London. 26 October 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  4. "Tony Mowbray leaves Boro". Middlesbrough F.C. Archived from the original on 24 October 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  5. "Boro Legends". 23 January 2008. Archived from the original on 23 January 2008.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  6. Jawad, Hyder (14 October 2006). "Shaped by passion and grief". Birmingham Post. Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
  7. Davies, Christopher (11 October 2002). "Mowbray holds fort after Burley goes". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 15 January 2008.
  8. "Mowbray is new Hibs boss". BBC Sport. 24 May 2004. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  9. Hartson wins writers' top prize, BBC Sport, 2 May 2005
  10. Mowbray rejects Ipswich approach, BBC Sport, 19 May 2006.
  11. "New Hibs deal for manager Mowbray". BBC Sport. 7 September 2006. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  12. "Mowbray leaves Hibs for West Brom". BBC Sport. BBC. 13 October 2006. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  13. Boss: I had to clear decks Archived 18 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine Express & Star, 12 September 2007.
  14. "Mowbray wins award". West Bromwich Albion FC. 4 October 2007. Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 4 October 2007.
  15. Culley, Jon (27 December 2007). "West Bromwich Albion 4 Bristol City 1: Bednar fires Albion to the summit". The Independent. London, UK. Archived from the original on 30 December 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  16. "Mowbray claims managerial award". BBC Sport. 8 May 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2008.
  17. "Ferguson wins managerial honour". BBC Sport. 13 May 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2008.
  18. Montgomery, Ken (6 May 2009). "Baggies fans plan masked tribute to Tony Mowbray". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  19. "Celtic make approach for Mowbray". BBC Sport. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  20. "Mowbray confirmed as Celtic boss". BBC Sport. 16 June 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2009.
  21. "Celtic make approach for Mowbray". BBC Sport. 26 June 2009. Retrieved 26 June 2009.
  22. Mowbray refuses to admit title race is over as Hibernian put massive dent in Celtic's championship hopes Archived 31 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine, The Herald, 27 January 2010.
  23. "Celtic part company with manager Tony Mowbray". BBC Sport. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  24. LMA – Mowbray still waiting, Sky Sports, 23 May 2010.
  25. "Middlesbrough 1-2 Bristol City". BBC Sport. 30 October 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  26. Vickers, Anthony (25 April 2011). "Hull City 2 Boro 4". Evening Gazette. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  27. "League Managers official website". Archived from the original on 26 January 2012.
  28. "Middlesbrough 1–0 Watford". BBC News. 5 November 2011.
  29. "Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray named Championship Manager of the Month". Sky Sports. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  30. "Tony Mowbray: Middlesbrough boss leaves role after three years". BBC Sport. 21 October 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  31. "Coventry City: Tony Mowbray named new Sky Blues manager". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  32. "Crawley Town 1-2 Coventry City". 3 May 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  33. "Tony Mowbray: Coventry manager signs new two-year contract". BBC Sport. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  34. "Tony Mowbray: Coventry City manager resigns after 18 months in charge". BBC Sport. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  35. "Rovers welcome new Head Coach". Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  36. Doyle, Paul (7 May 2017). "Blackburn relegated to League One despite winning at Brentford". The Guardian.
  37. "Tony Mowbray signs new deal!". Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  38. Freeman, Jay (25 April 2018). "Blackburn Rovers promoted: How Tony Mowbray turned club and his own career around". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  39. "Doncaster Rovers 0–1 Blackburn Rovers". BBC Sport. BBC. 24 April 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  40. "Tony Mowbray's wife dies after four-year cancer battle". HeraldScotland.
  41. "Tony Mowbray vows to reignite Coventry City with passion, honesty and a blend of romance and realism". The Daily Telegraph. 3 March 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  42. Tony Mowbray at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
  43. "Mowbray, Tony". Fitba Stats. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  44. "Managers: Tony Mowbray". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  45. "Ipswich triumph at last". BBC News. 29 May 2000. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  46. "Tony Mowbray (November 1981 - November 1991 and October 2010 - October 2013)". Middlesbrough F.C. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  47. Lynch. The Official P.F.A. Footballers Heroes. p. 147.
  48. Pearce, Steve (18 March 2016). "Hall of Fame Awards 2016". Ipswich Town F.C. Archived from the original on 20 August 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  49. "Tony Mowbray: Blackburn Rovers boss set to make first return to former club West Brom". BBC Sport. 26 October 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  50. Freeman, Jay (25 April 2018). "Blackburn Rovers promoted: How Tony Mowbray turned club and his own career around". BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  51. "Meet the Championship newcomers from League One". Norwich City F.C. 21 June 2018. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  52. "Mowbray And Riordan Scoop Awards Again!!". Footy Mad. 25 May 2005. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  53. "BBC awards for Hartley & Mowbray". BBC. 28 November 2005. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  54. "No exodus, says boss Mowbray". The Scotsman. 29 November 2005. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  55. "BBC news video of award for sports personality of the year". BBC News. Archived from the original on 8 December 2011.
  56. "Double delight for Rovers pair". Blackburn Rovers F.C. 9 December 2017.