blogAuthor: michaelcalvin | Filed under: Blog
Perspective, when you answer to the nickname ‘God’, can be problematic. But, in the case of Robbie Fowler, it comes with unlikely challenges, fresh faces, and trials on the sort of insanitary training grounds which double as a pet’s playground. He refuses the easy option, of living on his legend at Liverpool.
Fowler has decided not to join Blackpool, with whom he trained until yesterday, but is being courted by their Championship rivals, Hull, Doncaster Rovers and Burnley. The former Liverpool striker doesn’t need the money, but, as he approaches his 37th birthday, he is drawn by the sense of belonging which every professional athlete misses in the twilight world of retirement.
His options remain open. He still wants to savour the acid wit of the dressing room, the testosterone tonic of unfulfilled ambition. He knows he will be mocked as an Anfield museum piece, as sad a refugee from the 90s as the mercifully forgettable pop icons Boyz II Men. If he finds the right club – and Blackpool never seemed to fit the bill – he will love every minute of it.
No one is immune from the tyranny of time. Fowler could so easily have eased himself into the sort of ambassadorial role which Liverpool see Steven Gerrard filling in the years to come. He fits the global profile required in a new age of market penetration and brand awareness. He is known in Asia for his brief spell as player-coach of Muangthong United in Thailand, and was earmarked as a pivotal figure in the stillborn Indian Premier League.
It is too easy to sneer at his determination to rage against the dying of the light. I think there is something faintly heroic about his willingness to risk his reputation and submit to the prejudices of strangers. At a time in which Carlos Tevez is going through the motions of contrition, Fowler is obviously made of the Right Stuff.
At Blackpool he found a kindred spirit in Kevin Phillips, a player of similar instincts. Phillips is two years older, and heading for a career in management. It is difficult to see Fowler following a similar path, although his value as a specialist coach would be immense. He will probably live off his investments and his place in the pantheon of Liverpool heroes.
Dreamers are unfashionable these days. I, for one, would love to see a last hurrah. Let’s give him scope to stave off the day an innocent asks him, “Didn’t you used to be Robbie Fowler?”