Sydney (AFP) – Former England and Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler claimed Saturday he was wrongfully dismissed by Brisbane Roar, saying the Australian club “turned gangster” on him and assistant Tony Grant.

Fowler was appointed coach last year and overhauled the squad, lifting them to fourth in the A-League before the season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He and ex-Everton midfielder Grant returned to England and the club announced in late June they had parted ways, citing “the current and ongoing coronavirus situation”, while noting that “family comes first”.

It led to Irish striker Roy O’Donovan, who played under Fowler at Brisbane, branding him “selfish”.

But the Liverpool legend told the Sydney Morning Herald his contract was abruptly terminated over comments made in a television interview, where he said he felt his return was “not a priority” for the club.

The 45-year-old insisted he wanted to see out his two-year contract and did not walk away.

“They just suddenly turned gangster on us,” he told the newspaper. “Lots of people have opinions about me but one thing I’m not is selfish. I had a job to do and I wanted to finish that job. 

“I wasn’t given the chance to go back and show people what we potentially could have done.”

He continued: “I gave everything for the year for Brisbane Roar. My family were back and forth. 

“Getting labelled selfish and a quitter and other things, it’s very poor play. I’m certainly not selfish and I’m not a quitter.”

Fowler, who was in his first full-time coaching job, said he had lodged papers with world governing body FIFA’s dispute resolution tribunal, seeking damages.

Brisbane Roar did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Fowler, capped 26 times by England, played 369 matches for Liverpool, scoring 183 goals in two stints between 1993 and 2007. He also played for Leeds United, Cardiff City and Blackburn Rovers.