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HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

Football

Easy to call players disloyal, what about clubs, says Robbie Fowler
Govindan Kishwar, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 07, 2014
First Published: 00:53 IST(7/1/2014)
Last Updated: 01:58 IST(7/1/2014)
Former Liverpool Football Club and England striker Robbie Fowler speaks to media at an event in New Delhi. (AFP photo)

Not many players get to spend their entire career at one club. They don’t make them like Ryan Giggs anymore. One could argue Lionel Messi and Steven Gerrard will finish where they started, with Barcelona and Liverpool respectively, but nothing is certain.

Robbie Fowler came through the Liverpool ranks as a teenager and played at his prime with the Reds. In his own words, he lived and breathed Liverpool. But even Fowler was forced to switch after nearly a decade with the club.

“I wanted to stay at Liverpool all my life. The reason I left the first time was because I wasn’t playing, some players are happy sitting on the bench and picking up the wages. I never wanted to do that. I wanted to play every game,” Fowler said on the sidelines of a promotional event on Monday.

Loyal clubs?
The rumour mill suggests Barcelona could let Messi leave when his contract expires at the end of this season.

And Fowler feels the decision won’t be Messi’s alone. “Who is that (the decision) down to? Sometimes, it’s not down to the players, but the clubs. It’s not all about the players. Sometimes, the club is not as loyal and gets rid of players. It works both ways. I’m forever reading that this player is not loyal, but nobody ever blames the club,” said the 38-year-old who had made 266 appearances for Liverpool.

Liverpool’s last League trophy came in 1990, under Kenny Dalglish. But Fowler feels Liverpool have retained their fans — despite a much hated transfer of ownership.

“The spirit (of Liverpool) is still there. I’m a local lad. Players still have a little bit of pride, sometimes you might not even show it. But it’s still there,” said Fowler, who went on to play for lesser clubs in the last phase of his career.

Money matters
Asked if clubs such as PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City were ruining the sport with “too much money,” and what he thought of the Financial Fair Play (FFP) which looks to avoid wealthy owners funding big-money transfers, Fowler said: “It’s a fair system because you only spend what you are bringing in. But there are some clever people around the world. There are going to be means and ways around everything for money to come in. It is up to the relevant FAs and FIFA to establish what’s wrong.”

Fowler hopes to see fellow striker and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo play for Liverpool in the future. “I have a soft corner for Cristiano. I think he deserved to win the Ballon D’Or.

“I hope to see him play (for us) someday.”


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