Fowler ready to kick goals in coaches box
AS a player, Robbie Fowler was among the most feared strikers in the world. And now the Liverpool legend and ex-North Queensland Fury and Perth Glory marksman wants to earn a similar reputation as a coach.
He told football writer Marco Monteverde he is thrilled Brisbane Roar has given him that opportunity.
Marco Monteverde: Brisbane Roar have had their worst season in their history. Are you the right man to turn the team around?
Robbie Fowler: There's no doubt about it, there's a little bit of work to be done, in terms of players coming and players going. The place obviously needs a little bit of a freshen up and you'll know that more than anyone. I'm confident I can turn that around and be the man to change the fortunes. This is a wonderful football club and a wonderful place, and it's up to me to bring out the very best in everybody, and I'm massively confident I can. It feels fantastic to be here and I feel great to be the manager of this team.
MM: Your coaching inexperience has been talked about. Is that fair?
RF: It's a story and I get that. I might be inexperienced at the helm but I'm experienced in terms of doing the number of hours required to get here in terms of the (UEFA) A Licence and Pro Licence. I know people will mention experience, but as far as I'm concerned you get experience on the job. I'm a good reliable safe option and I'm going to do everything needed to do it the right way.
MM: How excited are you about the challenge coaching the Roar will present you?
RF: I can't wait. This is my time. It's been a long time in coming. I'm ready. It's a challenge but it's equally as exciting, as well. We've seen where we've been at this year. We can't be doing what we've done this year. This is why I'm here, to develop players, and to bring the very best out of the players I can bring here as well, Of course it's a challenge, but it's a challenge I can't wait to get started. I know this year has been tough for Brisbane but in a way it's maybe OK for me, because if things hadn't been so tough on the field there's no way I would have been here. I'm always on the lookout for the positives.
MM: Current interim Roar coach Darren Davies will be part of your coaching staff. How crucial will his team knowledge be for you?
RF: I know quite a bit but there's going to be times when I will need a bit of help. Darren's going to remain on board, and I want him to. I'm more than happy. His knowledge here is brilliant, it really is. The way the season has gone, he's probably going to learn himself a lot from what's happened.
MM: Who are you adding to Brisbane's coaching staff?
RF: I'm going to bring in Tony Grant. His pedigree in terms of coaching is absolutely incredible. As a youth coach at Blackburn he was unbelievable. He won the youth Premier League, and he got to the FA Youth Cup final, so his knowledge of the youth game is brilliant. He is currently a coach at Blackpool. I've got someone with me who is absolutely first class. For me, he's a man who I trust immensely and, for me, he's the right man to be at my side.
MM: How tough do you envisage it will be coaching in a competition with a salary cap and other restrictions that aren't common in the world of football?
RF: I'm not saying it's going to be easy but other managers have said the same thing as well. We are playing on a budget, so I know you've got to be careful and know the right players to bring in. We'd all love to say we can bring in X amount of players and have an unlimited budget, but that's not the case. You've got to be savvy and you've got to be careful.
MM: What style of play can we expect from your Roar team?
RF: I wouldn't want to give too much away, but I've got a really good idea of the way I want to play. I want to bring the right players in for this club. It's what this club deserves. I know my plans and I know what I want to do. I will be have plenty of chats with clubs in the UK. I'm also going to be having chats with people in Australia about getting the right players to the club from here as well.
MM: From what you have seen from afar, what is the main difference in A-League from when you played in the competition from 2009 to 2011 and now?
RF: It's difficult to answer because then I was a player and I'm watching it now. The game never changes much anyway. As much as people might say it was better then or it is better now, it doesn't really matter. Any league, regardless of whether it's the Premier League, La Liga (Spain), the Serie A (Italy) … every league can develop and grow, and this league is the same. We want it to grow, we want it to develop and we want all these players to shine.
MM: When do you want to start pre-season training?
RF: I'm waiting for the fixtures to come out, and I'll work backwards from there. The pre-season can be quite long, so it's up to me to get the players in the right frame of mind. The FFA Cup is obviously a big one as well.
MM: You will watch the Roar's final game of the season on Thursday. Are you staying here from then on or returning home to the UK and then come back?
RF: I'll go home. I've got a bit of work to do in terms of speaking to players and speaking to clubs in trying to get them over. I can't wait to get going, because as much as me being new to Brisbane, I feel as though I belong here. I'm not being clichéd. I have a real good affinity with the A-League.
ROBBIE FOWLER'S CAREER IN NUMBERS
1993-2001 - Liverpool (330 games, 171 goals)
2001-03 - Leeds United (31 games, 14 goals)
2003-06 - Manchester City (91 games, 27 goals)
2006-07 - Liverpool (39 games, 12 goals)
2007-08 - Cardiff City (16 games, 6 goals)
2008 - Blackburn Rovers (6 games)
2009-10 - North Queensland Fury (26 games, 9 goals)
2010-11 - Perth Glory (28 games, 9 goals)
2011-12 - Muangthong United (20 games, 4 goals)
Total: (587 games, 252 goals)
FA Cup (2001)
English League Cup (1995, 2001)
UEFA Cup (2001)
UEFA Super Cup (2001)
* Scored the sixth-most goals in English Premier League history (163)
* Is Liverpool's sixth-highest goalscorer in the club's history (183)
England (26 appearances, 7 goals)
* Member of England's 2002 World Cup squad and European Championship squads in 1996 and 2000
2011-12 - Muangthong United