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Robbie exclusive in the MIrror

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Exclusive Robbie Fowler interview - I'd play in League Two if they want me


Published 23:00 26/11/10 By Oliver Holt


Robbie Fowler sat in a stand at the deserted Suncorp Stadium, still wearing his Perth Glory kit and his boots.


He had scored 60 seconds after coming on in the Glory's 3-2 defeat to the Brisbane Roar on Wednesday night.


But now, half an hour after the final whistle, his mind was far, far away, back in Liverpool when he was starting out in the game and everything lay ahead of him.


He talked about his old car, the style disaster he drove into training when he first broke into the Liverpool first team in 1993.


Beige on the outside, brown on the inside, that A-reg escort seemed like a Bentley then to the kid from Toxteth.


"It probably looked terrible," Fowler said, "but I loved it because it was my first car. I could still tell you the number plate."


He talked about his debut in a League Cup tie at Fulham when he scored one and made two. A couple of weeks later, he got five in the return leg at Anfield.


He and the other apprentices used to clean the toilets, scour the sinks, scrub the baths and mop the floors in those days. Even those chores seem to him like a privilege now.


Fowler, one of the greatest goal scorers in the history of English football and still referred to simply as 'God' on the red half of ­Merseyside, is 35 and he knows that the end of his playing career is drawing near.


This is an unfamiliar Fowler to those who still think of him as one of the Spice Boys and who dismissed him long ago as someone who frittered away a sublime talent.


This is a man who is cherishing every minute of playing for a side third from bottom of the A-League. This is a man who had just played in front of 7,000 fans in a 52,000 seat stadium in a low-level league 10,000 miles from home and revelled in every second.


This is a man who is suddenly finding the idea of letting go of the only life he has ever known a desperately daunting prospect, a man who loves football now even more than he ever loved it before.


"I wish I was Peter Pan and I could play for ever," Fowler said. "I wish I was starting my career all over again because it's a great life.


"It's the only thing I have ever done. It's the only thing I ever want to do.


It's the only thing I ever want to be part of. The day that I do retire will be a very sad day for me.


"I still love playing. I loved playing tonight. I just love football. I am getting paid for a job I love doing and there is no better thing in the world.


"It seems more precious now. I wish I had appreciated it more when I was younger. If I could give a kid starting out any advice it would be 'enjoy it while you can because it doesn't last forever'.


"I think if you sat down and spoke to most people and asked them if they would do anything differently, if they were truthful, they would answer 'yes'.


"You do silly things when you are young and you have to learn from them. You start off and ­everything's easy. You turn up at training and everything is done for you. Everything is laid on a plate. So you probably don't ­appreciate it.


"It seems like yesterday when I was starting off and the years have just flown by. It won't be long now and there is going to be a time when I have to retire and I am not looking forward to it.


"Would I play in League One or League Two? Of course I would. Without a shadow of a doubt. The money in the game now, people think they don't have to play in the lower divisions but that's not the point for me.


"I don't need the money but I love the game. I love being around people who are involved in the game, I love the day to day things and I love the match day.


"People don't want to drop down the divisions because they lose interest but I want to play for as long as I can. You are a long time retired. What are you going to do? There are only so many games of golf you can play."


Fowler's contract with the Glory ends in March and he is not yet sure whether he will remain in Australia or return to continue his career in England where his wife and children are living.


He has been linked with a move to MK Dons as a player-coach and although Fowler admires the club's manager, Karl Robinson, a friend and former academy coach at Liverpool, he says nothing has been decided.


"Things change," Fowler said. "As much as we like to think we wear the trousers, deep down we know it's our wives. My wife is back home with the kids and if she says 'come home', I am going to go home.


"I would like to get into coaching. When I was younger, I said I would probably pack in when I got to this age. I don't want to stop playing football but I know there will be a day when I have to.


"The next best thing other than playing is being in and around the club, coaching and managing. I have done this ever since I left school when I was 15 or 16 so just to stop suddenly and cut all ties with football and walk away would be an absolute nightmare.


"I see someone like Gazza struggling without the game but then Gazza had friends around him who basically weren't his friends. They were just people who wanted to benefit their own careers by being seen with him."


Once, when Fowler was in his prime, he broke Ian Rush's record for the Liverpool player who had reached 100 goals in the least number of games.


He lifted up his shirt to reveal a tee-shirt bearing the slogan "God's job's a good'un."


He knew it then and he certainly knows it now.




Brings a tear to the eye.

Edited by Epic Swindle
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