Lee Bowyer's highs and lows
Born: London, January 3 1977.
It was not obvious from the outset
that Bowyer is a gifted footballer, he does not initially excel at the
game at school. Samsur Chowdury, a classmate remembers him as, "a
quiet kid, who kept himself to himself".
Bowyer does however play
for the Poplar based Senrab club which has produced the likes of Ray
Wilkins, Sol Campbell and Muzzy Izzet, eventually coming to the
attention of Charlton.
Signs for Charlton Athletic, at 17
rather than West Ham, the club he supported as a boy. Alan Curbishley,
the Charlton manager rates Bowyer as the 'best teenage player I've
Hits trouble after testing positive
for marijuana in a random drug test. As a result he is banned by
Charlton for 8 weeks and dropped from the England under 18 squad. 'I
feel like I've let myself down and there's no need to do stupid things
like that if you want to be a footballer. 'It was horrible but I'd
made a mistake and I had to pay for it, didn't I.' The incident does
not stop him becoming one of the most coveted young players in the
English game playing 58 games for Charlton and scoring 14 goals.
Gains his first England Under 21 cap;
he would go on to win 13.
Moves to Leeds for £2.6 million
after scoring 14 times for Charlton in 58 appearances. Then Leeds
manager Howard Wilkinson says "this boy has exceptional talent.
He can pass, score goals and he can run. He's got a bit of Denis Law
Fined £4500 after admitting to
throwing chairs across a McDonald's restaurant after drinking with
friends. Keith Grant, the magistrate, says he nearly jailed Bowyer for
his part in the incident. 'This was a disgraceful incident,' he says.
'It took place in a public place. People were put in fear.' A Leeds
spokesman states that Bowyer had shown 'true contrition' for the
Bowyer's progress at Elland Road had
initially been curtailed with the signing of two other midfielders,
David Hopkin and Alf Inge Haaland. But during the 1998/9 season he
supplants Hopkin in the side and is named Leeds' Player of the Season
after plundering nine league goals.
Bowyer is a key figure as Leeds
finish in third place in the 1999/2000 Premiership table and is
nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
Bowyer faces 2 years of uncertainty
when he is accused along with teammates Tony Hackworth and Johnathan
Woodgate of assaulting Asian student Sarfraz Najeib outside a Leeds
nightclub. He will eventually be cleared of all charges.
January 2001- April 2001
The first trial starts in January but
is abandoned in April after a prejudicial article is published in a
In 2000-01 he does not let his
off-field worries affect his football, producing a number of
commanding performances, particularly in Leeds' explosive Champions
League run and he is rewarded by winning the Player of the Year trophy
from Leeds players and supporters alike.
Bowyer is cleared of all charges
following a two-month trial.
However the club fines him four weeks
wages for breaking drinking regulations. His initial refusal to pay
the fine leads Leeds to place him on the transfer list until the
dispute is resolved about ten days later.
On Radio 5, Leeds chairman
Peter Ridsdale is asked if, with hindsight, he would authorise O'Leary
to buy Bowyer if the player were put up for sale by another club.
"It is one question I was asked by our manager this week"
Ridsdale said, "and, no, I would not."
Banned for six matches by the FA
after being found guilty of violent conduct and foul and abusive
Bowyer confirms he will not be signing any new contract with Leeds:
"My decision not to sign a
new deal has nothing to do with money, or me wanting to make a
so-called career move.
"And I have no problem with
the manager, the staff, my team-mates or the supporters, who have been
the ones who have really stayed behind me throughout my time at Leeds.
"I know I will be fortunate
to get such support elsewhere, but I feel I am being pushed out and
was not surprised to hear that the chairman was placing me on the
transfer list again.
"I have placed on record my
thanks for the support he displayed during the trials, but his
attitude seems to have changed over the past six months and I can only
guess why that is.
"It has been said that I have
wasted Leeds' time and that they never should have signed me. Those
reports, along with other well documented statements and articles
since the last trial, have led me to believe that the board genuinely
do not want me to stay.
"I have read that there is
supposed to be a great debt at Leeds, but I do not know if that is why
this, and speculation about other players leaving, has arisen.
"All I know is that my
advisors had only been in serious discussions with the chairman over
the past two months and talks were moving to a conclusion. But my
concerns had been growing for over six months and perhaps, with the
benefit of hindsight, I should have voiced them before now.
"I can honestly say that I do
not know where my future lies now. "There is nothing lined up
with another club, but I feel it is in the best interest of both
parties for me to move on."
Looking for a fresh start Bowyer
looks set to sign for Liverpool for £9 million but fails to agree
personal terms with the club. A Liverpool club statement makes clear
that "Manager Gerard Houillier was not convinced the player had
either the hunger or desire to play for the club, qualities which are
essential for any Liverpool player."
Makes senior England debut in a friendly against Portugal at Villa
Park, which finishes 1-1. Replaced after 62 minutes by Trevor
Plays final game of his spell at Leeds, a 2-1 defeat at Elland
Road to Malaga. His final stats for the club are 55 goals in 264 games
(38 goals in 196 Premiership starts)
Signs for West Ham United on a six month contract. Leeds receive
£100k from the club whom Bowyer professed to support as a child.
Says: It is the team I
support and that is why I have come here
"I said when I was to leave
Leeds it was going to take something special - and there is nothing
more special than to come to the team you have supported as a kid.
"I can't be any happier than
I am at the moment.
"I am back with family and
friends to play with the club I supported as a kid and I am going to
try and help us avoid relegation.
"I think it is a good
challenge and I wouldn't like to see the club go down so if I have got
the chance to come here and help in any way I can I am going to do it
- I am following my heart."
Handed a six-match ban by Uefa following his stamp on Malaga
midfielder Gerardo during a UEFA Cup tie in December 2002.
Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson confirms to journalists that his
club one of a number in the Premiership to approach Bowyer before he
signed for West Ham.
Released by West Ham on expiration of contract.
Agrees to sign for Newcastle United on a free transfer.