They refer to him as God in Liverpool. To this day he is adored by the Kop and every other inch of Anfield. He is untouchable. He is one of their finest. And Robbie Fowler certainly is a Premier League legend.
Dynamic, inventive and sometimes controversial, Fowler was an incredibly gifted player who became a real football superstar with Liverpool during the 90’s. He was part of the glamorous “Spice Boys” gang that also included Jamie Rednknapp, Steve McManaman, David James and Jason McAteer. I didn’t think the label was deserved, but perhaps it was those shocking white suits they wore at the 1996 F.A. Cup Final that really ignited the media’s attention!
Most people thought this so-called “Spice Boys” team under achieved by not winning the Premier League title. And despite the tag he and his team mates received, nobody could deny the brilliance of Fowler in front of goal. He loved to hunt for goals and defenders were his prey. He would torture, twist and turn them embarrassingly inside out. He was one of the most natural finishers the Premier League has seen.
Although he never became a Premier League champion, Fowler still enjoyed the taste of victory and success by winning the F.A. and League Cup twice and he also won the U.E.F.A. and Super Cup respectively. From 1993-2001 he made 246 appearances for Liverpool scoring 122 goals. He scored twice in that famous 4-3 victory over Newcastle United, a match from the 1995-96 season which many refer to as “the greatest game every played.”
But in 2001, Fowler’s fairy tale with Liverpool came to an end. Following huge frustration at being left out of the squad and falling behind Emile Heskey and Michael Owen as a first choice striker, Fowler departed for Leeds. It was weird because you always expected someone like Robbie to stay at Liverpool his entire career. It didn’t seem quite right seeing him in a Leeds shirt. When he departed from Liverpool, Fowler’s career was never the same again. Following his time at Leeds, God then moved to Manchester City, then to Cardiff City and finally to Blackburn Rovers.
But like all fairy tales, there was to be a happy ending and he did return to Liverpool for one last season in 2006. Fowler walked away with a Champions League Runner-Up medal and on May 13th, in his last game for Liverpool, he would be given the captain’s armband. Just before the game would end, Fowler would be substituted to a standing ovation. At least he got to say goodbye to the Kop end the right way.
Following his second stint at Liverpool, Fowler’s overall record was 191 goals in 369 appearances. He is the 4th highest scorer ever in the Premier League. People say he should have played more for England too. He made only 26 senior appearances for his country, scoring 8 goals. For some reason he couldn’t quite nail down a regular place in the squad. This was debated across many newspaper columns for a good few years.
Regardless of his failures with England, Fowler has certainly left his mark on the game and an eternal foot print in the hearts of Liverpool fans. To this day, Fowler’s name is chanted by fans around Anfield as though he were still wearing that #9 shirt. He was an exceptionally talented player and very exciting to watch. Where do you rank Fowler?