ISL 2020-21: Robbie Fowler with his Jurgen Klopp-inspired tactics look to woo East Bengal fans

One of the major talking points ahead of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 was the inclusion of SC East Bengal, bringing about more competition and game time particularly for Indian players. This excitement among fans was further amplified when the Kolkata giants announced that they will be led by head coach Robbie Fowler in their debut Hero ISL season.

“The opportunity to coach this team in their first Hero ISL season is brilliant. The ISL is a league I have looked out for many years and when it first started. The football has been getting better over the years. Every year the competition gets stronger. My aim with SC East Bengal this year is to get as competitive as we can and try to do as well as we can in the league,” Fowler had said after joining the club.

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The Englishman had a decorated career as a player in particular for Premier League side Liverpool FC. Fowler spent his youth career at the Merseyside club and made his professional debut in the top division in 1993, scoring his first Premier League hat-trick for the club in just his fifth game.

However, Fowler’s most successful season with the club in terms of winning the maximum number of trophies came in 2000-01 as Liverpool lifted three trophies in all — League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup.

After stints with Leeds United and Manchester City, Fowler returned to his boyhood club for a second time in January 2006, and participated in Liverpool’s run to the UEFA Champions League final as the Reds lost to Italian club AC Milan. He left the club as a legend, and as the third highest goal-scorer with 183 goals in 369 appearances during his two spells.

Later in his career, Fowler turned out for Cardiff City and Blackburn Rovers before moving to Australia to join Northern Queensland Fury FC, followed by a move to Perth Glory. The legendary striker also featured for Thai club SCG Muangthong United and helped them to a third-place finish in the 2011 season. He also spent time as a mentor with Liverpool’s academy before completing his UEFA Pro Licence in 2017.

45-year-old Fowler’s first stint as a head coach was with Australian A–League side Brisbane Roar and he guided them to fourth on the league table and a play-off berth before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During his 22 matches in charge, Fowler guided the club to 10 wins, five draws and seven losses.

Fowler would hope to at least reach the play-off with SC East Bengal, and anything less than that would not be in line with his reputation as one of the greats of English football.