When Robbie Fowler had a shot on goal for Liverpool, opposing defenders and goalkeepers would often look straight ahead once the ball bulged into the back of the net. With their hands on their hips, some would stare in awe, as if almost to think, “Well… It’s Fowler.” Some would even look up at the sky, though they could have looked to the byline or the corner flag to have a look at “God.”
Perhaps some could even hear the commentators stretching the last syllable of his surname until it was time to take a breath, which served not only to get them through to the next sentence, but also to give them a second or two to absorb what the striker had just done on the pitch.
But his days tormenting defenders full-time are behind him, and Fowler has hit a crossroads, as he reflects on his past as a player, promotes Liverpool as an ambassador, and pursues his ambition to become a manager.
During a one-on-one interview with World Soccer Talk on Thursday, Fowler — the Englishman — was as calm, cool, and collected as he would be if he was about to punish a keeper for poorly parrying a shot from Steve McManaman, or as he would be sporting a fake mustache at a Q&A with supporters. He possesses the confidence of a striker that would score 183 goals for Liverpool.
With age, the 39 year-old admits he doesn’t have the legs he once did, though he certainly gets around quite well on them. On a raucous schedule packed with events, meet and greets with supporters and sponsors, Fowler travels with a former strike-partner 13 years his senior – Ian Rush. The two combine to spread the club’s name and see to the club being viewed in a positive light.
“Hopefully, long after we’ve gone, Liverpool are still talked about in the right way,” said Fowler.
Despite all the pomp and circumstance behind match days on tours abroad, the club puts on clinics and camps to implant a lasting legacy with those who may not have the means to get to Anfield.
For supporters, memories are made through matches. While few in America saw Fowler sniff the turf against Everton, many saw Luis Suarez take a bite at Branislav Ivanovic – and Giorgio Chiellini. Both attackers’ stories were picked up and ran with by the media, though each are considered phenomenal footballers.
“Sometimes, great players can be controversial,” Fowler said of those who, “do something that’s quite edgy – off the cuff.”
Yet he looks on the past knowing he wasn’t perfect, and acknowledges that nobody is.
“I was a young lad and growing up in the public eye and at times, it was a bit difficult for me, don’t get me wrong, I would never not say that, but look, I’ve learned from everything I’ve ever done and that is the important thing of what I’m saying,” Fowler said. “We all make mistakes.”
England’s tabloid media are just as keen to smear young celebrities with a zippy headline as a Twitter user is to dish out a witty line, though Fowler will do the same.