His stature for a goalscorer was never in doubt but the former Liverpool forward is currently out to establish himself as a coach in Australia’s A-League. As gambles go, Robbie Fowler understood this was a significant one.
“I would not say it had been make-or-break,” he states, “but it was not far off!”
As a participant, Fowler’s legacy is protected.
Direction, however? That is something new entirely.
A different universe.
Fowler has waited a very long time for his opportunity from the bearpit. Overlooked time and by Football League clubs at England, the 45-year-old had wondered if people’s perception of him, an understanding formed mainly by what he believes was unfair press coverage of him as a participant, was hitting him.
“And it was not the perfect one.”
He persevered. He finished his training badges like everybody else, attaining the coveted UEFA A-license in 2017, however when endeavors came, and if he made it clear he’d be curious, clubs seemed everywhere.
This was before last spring, once the phone came from Australian A-League facet Brisbane Roar. Fowler jumped at the opportunity.
“This was all I needed — an opportunity,” he informs Goal. “I feel as though I had been eliminating a blot if you prefer. I had been showing people how enthusiastic and committed I am to my training career.
“Should you go abroad for your very first job like I’ve, you are not playing, are you? I really don’t wish to sound greedy, but I believe it showed a little of bollocks.”
He could say that again. Fowler had expertise of Australia for a participant, having spent a year with North Queensland Fury and Perth Glory near the end of his profession, but his sole prior managerial stint was a short one since player-coach of Muangthong United at Thailand eight decades back.
They weren’t a fantastic side in any way.
Fifteen new players have been recruited, with a focus on mindset and mindset, in addition to technique and skill. He desired appetite, devotion, a group that would consider in itself.
“It turned out to be a new start for everybody, not only us,” Fowler says. “We knew there were lots of problems to sort out. We needed to make that winning attitude, get people pulling together and thinking about what they were doing”
The beginning was tough. Brisbane won two of the introduction 10 matches, a quirk of this fixture listing significance that the majority were played on the street.
“When you are trying to bed into a brand new team and new thoughts, that is far from perfect!”
Nonetheless, the indications were favorable. Brisbane, Fowler states, were playing nicely even if outcomes were not showing it.
They were fourth in the table when soccer was suspended on account of this Covid-19 shutdown, having picked up more points than any side in the league since Christmas.
Fowler had picked up the director of the month award for both January and February, along with his side had won all the three matches in March before the league’s postponement.
The leaky defence was fixed. Brisbane have surrendered only 24 goals in 22 matches, eight of which came in just two games. “I knew we had to construct in the trunk,” says Fowler. “Which could have surprised a couple of people given I am a striker.”
Most gratifying for Fowler has become the buy from his players, who’ve reacted well to his training procedures, his needs and his firm-but-fair guy administration.
“We have shot up the dining table, and we have managed the pressure.
“With just 11 teams in the league, it usually means that you simply play a great deal of games from teams in and about you, which means you understand a beat can see you drop down the table. That puts additional pressure on every match, however, the lads have reacted to this superbly.”
He cites a couple of examples. They dug deep to make a draw to an in-form Perth Glory in February, also watched off Newcastle Jets behind closed doors in their final fixture.
“Whenever that I asked the lads to send when there was a little strain on people, they pulled out it,” Fowler says.
McDonald united from Western United in January and has netted four times in nine games as, but his job with the club’s younger players, such as five teens given their introduction this year — has burst out as much.
“His attitude is like anyone I have seen.
“I never played at the beginning of the season. However, what I loved was that he went off, worked on all of the things I had talked to him and he turned into a much better man. In the long run, he got his opportunity seven or six games to the season, and he has been absolutely outstanding.
“If I am searching for an illustration to show to the gamers of everything you want to do, the way you have to train, your mindset, all this, then the likes of him, the likes of Tom, Scott, they are the ones to appear to.”
It’s apparent that Fowler stays as aggressive as in love with the sport as ever. He admits that reading comments from Phil Moss, the president of Soccer Trainers Australia, saying he should not be appointed had awarded him an excess urge to prove people wrong.
“What was ridiculous about this is that he is a British fella who travelled to Australia at a young age and also got a job,” Fowler says. “Now he is saying that clubs should not be appointing overseas coaches!
“But I have always had this. I have always had people writing things, throughout my career. And I have always used that in relation to ‘I will show you wrong, I will share with you’. It is no different as a supervisor if I was a participant.”
For today Fowler, such as the rest of the planet, must wait patiently. The effects of the coronavirus have been felt everywhere. Brisbane’s staff and players have been stood down from the club, with no hint yet of a definitive restart date though August was touted in some areas.
Whatever happens, he could reflect on a certain initial 12 weeks in direction.
The wait, it seems, was worthwhile.