Lee Bowyer signed for United on a free transfer after being released by West Ham United in July 2003. Bowyer has signed a four year deal after much deliberation between Sir Bobby Robson and the Newcastle United board.
Bowyer started his career at Charlton, and made his debut in 1994 for the Addicks in a League Cup tie against Swindon, but was suspended and forced to go into rehab in 1995 after failing a drugs test for marijuana. However, he bounced back, and in the summer of 1996, he was wanted by most Premiership clubs, but it was Leeds who bought Bowyer for £2.7m, a British record for a teenager at the time.
Bowyer won over all the Leeds fans in his six seasons at the club, playing over 250 games and scoring 55 goals for the Yorkshire club. But Bowyer hit the headlines again in 2000 when he was charged of an attack on an Asian student, along with then Leeds and current Newcastle defender Joanthan Woodgate, outside a nightclub in Leeds. He and Woodgate were cleared in December 2001, but were not allowed to be selected by England during this time.
The hard-tackling midfielder has won many England U21 caps whilst at Leeds, but only made his full debur for Sven Goran Eriksson's men in a friendly against Portugal in September 2002, before moving to West Ham in January 2003 for a cut-price £100,000. The life-long Hammers fan could not prevent the side from being relegated though, and was released from his contract, before he was picked up by Newcastle.
If Bowyer can behave himself at Toon, then there is no reason why the midfielder can't become one of the best ever signings in Newcastle's history, especially if he can contribute to a trophy in 2003-04.