East Bengal’s Robbie Fowler: Shepherding the future of a legendary club

Robbie Fowler is a acquainted title to those that adopted the Premier League. The Liverpool FC legend and England striker is at the moment a resident of India, donning the gaffer’s cap for century-old club East Bengal.

This is his third project in his new position as supervisor ever since he hung up the boots for his club and nation.

Fowler opens as much as the questions from Sportstar on numerous facets of soccer and his lengthy involvement with the sport.

You had fairly a profitable profession as a participant, and now you’re having fun with success in the position of a supervisor. Which is more difficult?

The straightforward reply, I feel, is as a supervisor. As a participant, you’re fully focusing in your job of excelling in a specific position, however as a supervisor, you may have to take action far more. You have to take a look at 4 5 positions – defenders, strikers, midfield, wing-backs and goalkeepers. You will not be solely taking a look at that, however you’re additionally taking a look at the workers round while you wish to put a workforce collectively and get the proper personnel on the pitch. You additionally want the proper personnel that will help you off the pitch as nicely. There is a huge, huge distinction between a participant and a supervisor. When you’re managing issues on the pitch and taking care of issues off the pitch, it turns into a enormous problem, and that’s what I’m having fun with now.


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You had a massively embellished profession as a participant. Does that assist you as a supervisor?

To be frank with you, I’m not specializing in my half as a participant. Regardless of what folks suppose of me as a participant, what issues now’s the job that I’m presently doing. Some folks actually like me as a participant and a few don’t. Some persons are actually huge Liverpool FC followers and could also be curious about me as a participant. I actually take that on board as a coach, and regardless of what occurred in the previous, I’m beginning afresh as a coach. It is a new begin in phrases of what you already know about the sport and how one can develop the gamers and make them higher. It is now about making a workforce extra aggressive. I feel being a good participant could assist you at the begin, however as soon as you’re into your new job, folks cease enthusiastic about what you may have executed; they’re extra curious about what you are able to do.

Podcast: The lastest episode of ‘The Full Time Show’ options the Robbie Fowler interview with our reporters Shyam Vasudevan and Amitabha Das Sharma. We additionally take a deep dive into his controversy-courting maiden ISL teaching sojourn and his season with SC East Bengal.

How is your first season in the Indian Super League (ISL) turning out for you?

Looking at the ISL season, I can say that the workforce (SC East Bengal) has progressed a lot in comparison with the time after we began our journey in the ISL. The gamers are far more skilled now.

Some folks could also be offended by me for saying that the workforce that was constructed was not meant for the ISL. I’m not making an attempt to be derogatory or horrible to the gamers by saying that, however it’s actually what the workforce was after we began the season. Maybe that’s as a result of three weeks earlier than the begin of the ISL season, we have been purported to be in the I-League after which the new proprietor Shree Cement got here in and needed the club to develop in the greatest league of India. I’m certain the followers will get proper behind on this course of and the plan and can admire how shortly we have now turned this into an ISL outfit. We had solely two weeks’ preparation for the ISL and I don’t suppose any supervisor in the world, whether or not it’s Pep Guardiola or Jürgen Klopp, will have the ability to get a workforce prepared in a little over two weeks for a league the place the workforce hasn’t been earlier than.

How’s the problem been like?

You should get the gamers prepared on the psychological aspect, which is the important issue now. By psychological aspect, I imply getting the gamers prepared for the problem. We are in an especially troublesome scenario and we have now to do a lot of issues to get the gamers prepared and get them in the proper body of thoughts for the matches. It will not be about the teaching workers alone, however the gamers too deserve a actual pat on the again for what we have now been via since the begin. We have been staying in a beautiful lodge, however we solely depart the lodge for coaching and for the video games. I don’t know whether or not I ought to be saying this, however primarily we’re in an open jail the place we will’t do what we love to do. But we all know what we have to do in making an attempt to get soccer up and operating in the nation.

“When we are talking about an unbelievably well-run league like the ISL, it should be equally unbelievable when it comes to refereeing standards as well,” says Fowler. “I know referees have a tough job, but like everyone else, they grow into the game and try to develop.”   –  ISL / Sportzpics


The job you may have proper now’s extra about defending the legacy of a club like East Bengal with thousands and thousands of supporters. What have been your expectations while you took the job and the way do you see it now?

Regardless of what the club had executed in the previous, my expectations have been to make the club do nicely in the future. But after I began delving into the historical past of the club, I realised it’s a enormous club. Of course, you begin doing all your work with due diligence and wish to get the greatest outcomes figuring out nicely what it means to the followers so captivated with the club. We know irrespective who the supervisor is, the most related issue is the picture of the club. The club is all the time going to be the huge factor and each for the managers and the gamers. They are like a stop-gap factor making an attempt to propel the club and its picture to a place the place we expect it ought to be. I do know the followers are behind us as we attempt to take the club to be one of the most profitable groups in India. It doesn’t occur at the click on of your fingers, and we all know we have now to work actually onerous for that and progress at the proper pace.

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How do you price the Indian gamers and what’s your impression about Indian soccer as a complete?

If you take a look at the ISL and analyse the gamers, the development is big in comparison with what it had been years in the past. That is as a result of the gamers are actually understanding the sport a lot higher and likewise understanding professionalism a little bit greater than the previous. Teams are having academies and there may be some work at the grassroots degree as nicely. This is making the youngsters develop and perceive the sport and the complete tradition of what it’s about. So, you see the youthful gamers absorbing this tradition increasingly more and getting higher with time.

Basically, if the gamers wish to get higher, they should know when to cross and the place to cross and when to run and the place to run. Decisions in soccer are massively vital, and so if you may get the gamers making the proper selections on the subject from an early age, then they arrive to the grownup sport with a higher body of thoughts. Our goal in the ISL is to make the Indian gamers higher. They are significantly better now than what was years in the past. Let’s not stand nonetheless with that and maintain progressing and get the nationwide soccer workforce as excessive as doable in the rankings.

Robbie Fowler (entrance row, centre) celebrates along with his Liverpool teammates after profitable the 2000–01 UEFA Cup.   –  Reuters


How do you see the commonplace of refereeing in the ISL? What’s your recommendation for growing their efficiency contemplating that you’ve been vocal about it on a few events?

I’ve not been [more] vocal than a lot many managers in the league. For the easy undeniable fact that possibly I’m a huge title and it resonates extra, to get folks listening to of what I’m saying. When we’re speaking about an unbelievably well-run league like the ISL, it ought to be equally unbelievable with regards to refereeing requirements as nicely. I do know referees have a robust job, however like everybody else, they develop into the sport and attempt to develop.

I perceive there may be a lot of strain on referees and equally there may be a lot of strain on managers and gamers too, and typically they’ll get annoyed. That is a half and parcel of the sport, and you can not agree with each resolution, and typically it’s onerous to simply accept. I’m not the solely supervisor who’s saying this. I do know they’re making an attempt onerous, however so are we, to develop Indian soccer. Look, the referees may do with a little bit of assist and that’s clearly helpful for the improvement course of and the league [administration] is aware of that. We are having conversations all the time to get issues higher and we’ll sustain with that.

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