Robert 'Robbie' Bernard Fowler (1975)
Robert 'Robbie' Bernard Fowler (9 April 1975) is best known as a Liverpool player. But do you know all the other eight clubs this attacking Spice Boy wore the shirt of?
You say Robbie Fowler, you say most likely Liverpool. But Fowler would eventually play for a total of nine clubs. If you know how to list them all, you're a die-hard connoisseur! Liverpool, Leeds United, Manchester City, Cardiff City and Blackburn Rovers might still succeed but if you come with North Queensland, Perth Glory and… Muangthong United: a roar of applause!
Fowler also had a lesser side: he came into disrepute a number of times, especially in 1999, when he celebrated a goal against Everton FC on 3 April 1999 by 'sniffing up' the goal line, as if it were cocaine. Although this was a statement on false suspicions, fowler's conduct was not appreciated; a fine and a suspension were the result. In addition, he had the dubious honor of going through life with Steve McManaman as 'Spice Boy'. This is because they had the name to behave like playboys. In short: fowler will not appear in the list of 'boring footballers'.
Where it started
But back to the beginning. Robbie started his professional career in his hometown, at Liverpool FC, where he would not play a single league game for the first two seasons. Fowler made his first-team debut in 1993. He stood out for his two-leggedity and speed of action; a natural. He scored more than 30 goals three seasons in a row. The highlight was the year 2001, when Liverpool won the FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup. Then fate struck: a serious injury. His anterior cruciate ligament ruptured, while the posterior ruptured and the cartilage broke. It's already painful if you just read it…
If he had been spared that serious knee injury and continued to score at the same rate as in his first four, five seasons, he might have been able to find Alan Shearer as the Premier League's all-time premier league top scorer. Fowler's average at the time was almost the same as Shearer's: 0.59 per game. However, we will never know because after eleven seasons at Liverpool, Fowler left for Leeds United AFC for 11 million English pounds.
He played 22 games in Leeds, West Yorkshire, for the first season. He was pretty good, with 10 goals. He played eight games in the second season and scored three goals. After two and a half seasons at Manchester City, he returned to Liverpool. Here they had not forgotten the attacker of 173 centimeters. With a standing ovation, he was brought in like a prodigal son. Expectations were high.
It wasn't crazy in itself, but after one season he made it back to Liverpool. Thirty games, in which he scored eight times, leaving his name behind. Fowler made a step back to Championship club Cardiff City FC. However, because of injuries, Fowler rarely got to play. And then the time came of club hopping.
From the summer of 2008 he was allowed to train with Blackburn Rovers FC. In September that same year, the club signed him on a performance basis. After three months and as many games for the club he left. In the summer of 2009 he moved to Australia where he signed for North Queensland Fury. At this club he did win a starting place. He scored nine times for the club in 26 games. Fowler played for Perth Glory in June 2010. He left after a year to sign with Muang Thong United in Thailand in July 2011. In addition to being a player, he became head coach, following the dismissal of head coach Henrique Calisto. He ended his football career in 2012.
Fowler also made 26 international stints for England. in the period 1996–2002, under the guidance of national coach Terry Venables, he was called up several times to make his appearance for '(The) Three Lions'. Robbie made his debut on 27 March 1996 in the friendly home game against Bulgaria (1-0). He filled in for Les Ferdinand after 76 minutes. In the end, the man from and (especially) of Liverpool managed to find the enemy net seven times for his country. The first against Mexico in 1997 and most especially in exhibition games.
On his knees, one finger on the nose hovering just above the back line. It's the image that will stick to Robbie Fowler forever. The striker who was sometimes tempted to do crazy things and, certainly every now and then, showed that he can play good football. He was definitely much more than a raunchy bad boy. He certainly did the first few years of his career above average. But what if he had been less of a playboy and lived more alone for football? We'll never know…
We don't have to feel sorry for Robbie. Fowler became one of Britain's richest athletes. In addition to his income from football, he made his fortune in equestrian sports and real estate.