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Returning Players: Robbie Fowler

Robbie Fowler

In the latest edition of our ‘Returning Players’ series, we take a look at Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler. Fowler played for the Reds between 1993 and 2001 after coming through the academy, before returning for a second stint for the 2006/07 campaign.

Returning Players – Robbie Fowler

First Spell at Liverpool

A Liverpool academy graduate, Robbie Fowler grew up as a fan of the team across Stanley Park – Everton – but it would be Liverpool he would grow to love and become a club and fan favourite.

His first professional contract came on his 17th birthday and his professional debut came over a year later in September 1993 when he came from the bench to score in a 3-1 League cup win over Fulham. This was back when there were regular two legged games in the League cup and in the return fixture, Fowler hit five past Fulham to really announce himself on the scene.

He scored 12 goals in his first 13 games for Liverpool and it was clear that here was a player with an eye for goal, and for breaking records. In the 1994/95 league season, he scored the fastest Premier League hat trick against Arsenal in a time of four minutes and 33 seconds – a record which stood for 21 years.

By the time the 1996/97 season had reached its conclusion, Fowler had amassed an incredible 98 goals but his Liverpool career was about to come to a crashing end when a knee ligament injury sidelined him for the 1997/98 season. His replacement was going to be hard to shift after a young man by the name of Michael Owen emerged on the scene.

Owen had been building a lethal partnership with Emile Heskey and Fowler was not getting the amount of the minutes on the pitch that he desired. His first spell at the club would not end without incredible success though and he was part of the squad under the late Gerard Houllier that won the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup in 2001, where he scored in both the finals of the UEFA Cup and League cup.

Teams That Robbie Fowler Played for in Between

Fowler would then seal a November 2001 move to Leeds United. Ironically, it was at Craven Cottage against Fulham where Fowler would make his debut for his new club, just as he had done for Liverpool eight years prior.

In the 2002/03 season, Fowler managed 15 goals from 31 games which was a remarkable feat considering that he had spent time on the sidelines with a hip injury that had started to plague him for some time. Despite being a key striker Leeds finished in 15th place and the club was heading into its now infamous period of financial plight, meaning players needed to be sold off to keep the club afloat.

Fowler then moved to Manchester City but his time there was not a happy one as it included more injury problems and a sex scandal, involving him and team mate Steve McManaman. In three-and-a-half seasons, Fowler managed 28 goals in 92 appearances but would soon return back to Anfield.

Return to Liverpool

After five long years away from the Kop, Fowler finally returned to his ‘home’ in January 2006 on a free transfer.

The Liverpool faithful gave Fowler the nickname of ‘God’ during his first spell at the club and were overjoyed at this second coming. This was however a very short return for just the one season but his legendary status had already long been secured.

Fowler played for Liverpool for the final time against Charlton Athletic in May 2007 and was given the role of captain for the match. In a nice touch, Fowler was substituted near the end of the game and received a rousing standing ovation.

His impact on return may not have been the same as first time around, netting 12 times from 39 outings, but there can be no doubt that when it comes to returning players, Robbie Fowler was and will always be welcome on the other side of the Shankly gates.

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