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Shooting from the lip.
Fowler: My Autobiography - Robbie Fowler
Member Name: thedevilinme
Fowler: My Autobiography - Robbie Fowler
Date: 04/09/07, updated on 04/09/07 (303 review reads)
Disadvantages: The expression 'sound'
With Liverpool playing some great football with that excellent big squad (could this be the year?) and the rougher parts of the city in the news right now for all the wrong reasons this autobiography couldn’t be a more topical read, especially as drugs were always associated with Liverpool’s most prolific striker, of which he comfortably and passionately dispels all those rumors in this enjoyable read. I for one believe him on that score, even though I didn’t think I would before reading this. Robbie Fowler enjoys playing up to being a Liverpool scaly but he’s no junkie, a bundle of Liverpool FC all-time records testament to that one.
Robbie Fowler encapsulates that Liverpool heartbeat, a touch of the rogue, but also the need to do well to escape the city that seems to revel in being poor and anti establishment, and so all the positives and negatives that come with that. The ‘Scousers’ demand sympathy when their number are lost yet colle ctively refuse to cough up the killer of little Reece or take any responsibility for Hillsborough and Heisel. Its no coincidence to me both those incidents happened to Liverpool fans.
Fans were a pack in the bad old days and so had a pack mentality, do what the rest do, cramming behind the goal too close to kick off, one too many pints down their necks. The Leppings lane tragedy that all football fans have scarred on their memories was always a matter of time, not a freak accident. All fans have been to games when that nearly happened due to bad behavior. Blaming the police was so wrong. Graeme Sounnes extremely antagonistic decision to give an exclusive interview to The Sun when he was Liverpool manager about his dodgy heart and Liverpool FC problems summed up the Scousers ambiguity over the Hillsborough tragedy. Thye castigated him for that one.
I’m not a Liverpool fan but a huge admirer of this guy, someone who England should have made more of at his peak. Robbie agrees with that and has more than his twopenneth worth on the England managers he worked under. He surprisingly describes Keegan as gauche and awkward around the players, the team unable to connect with a guy you thought they would have no problems with as far as banter went. His lack of tactical awareness is well documented. Robbie says there were no tactics, just go out and play.
Glen Hoddle gets far worse from the author, especially over Eileen Drury, Glens Witchdoctor! When Ray Parlour took the seat at Eileen’s home to see how many demons he had, the ginger midfielder asked for a short back and sides. Two days later he was bombed out of the squad. Anyone who didn’t go along with Hoddles bizarre spiritual stuff would soon disappear. It was compulsory to see her. Robbie proudly reveals he had three demons, but Gazza, as ever, gazzumped him, proudly announcing he had five! Hoddle also insisted the players took Creatin, a semi banned steroid powder.
Robbie’s England career would come to an end with Hoddle when he confronted the nutcase on the plane back from Holland with a torrent of abuse on his bizarre methods of motivation, Robbie relying on good old Dutch courage from a likewise lager to speak on behalf of the team.
Eriksson fairs ok, although the 4-4-2 long ball didn’t fit Robbie’s style, describing life up front for the Svengali like ‘chasing pigeons’. He also confirms Sven was useless at half-time during that infamous World Cup quarter-final in Japan against Brazil. Terry Venables turns out to be the player’s favorite by far, although this may have something to do with letting the players get drunk a lot!
The book is set out unconventionally for a biography, chronological order not the point here. Robbie wants to talk and he talks, the book jumping around like a demented grasshopper at times. He tends to theme his chapters: one about England, one about Houllier etc, someone else who gets slaughtered inside. The chapters are just the right length and easy to read (bold print for the Liverpool fans version!); welcome pictures for them to color in at the intervals.
What I like about the book is Robbie is full on honest about everything and doesn’t let anyone off the hook. He’s fair but warm with the guys that helped his career flourish in the early days, Dalglish and Souness fitting that category, but ruthless to the point of libel with the rest. He even calls Phil Thompson a dickhead!
No wonder Houllier had a heart attack! I particularly chuckled as he recounts the stories of winding up Gary Neville and Greame LeSaux on the park, homosexuality and aesthetically challenged comments never too far away..
The early Robbie…
Known as Robbie Ryan in his teens as a Toxteth tearaway, he was soon moving through the city and county team grades on the famous Penny Lane pitches were the Liverpool home grown stars of the past were often discovered. It was hear they held the trials and it was hear many players were discovered for both Everton and Liverpool.
As a childhood Everton fan from a likewise clan it was a test of severe loyalty for Robbie to eventually sign for Liverpool on those YTS forms, an unthinkable £29:50 a week in 1991, if you considers today’s pampered 16 year olds. Robbie would go on to be the highest paid teenager with his next contract negotiation, the real first Sky Sports millionaire.
The early chapters on his youth are quite political for a football player, Robbie growing up during the infamous Toxteth riots, which he firmly lays the blame of the police and not the local West Indian /Somali population who battered the ‘Rossers’ for three days with the contents of everyone’s front rooms, whether you were rioting or not. He also uses that early life apathy to have pop at today’s high earners on ludicrous wages, the agents also getting a broadside, and here here to that.
Interestingly he touches on how much the parents have to gain from their kids being premiership footballers for certain clubs these days, Liverpool eventually getting his signature by offering his parents three hundred pound a month ‘upkeep’. Today the academies hoover up the best talent and offer mums and dads houses and cars for the lucky one in a hundred that comes out the other end to sign proper forms. With Man United, a club who’s success was built on home grown talent over the years, not having a regular in their first team from the academy in the last five years, the kids are now no longer trained up to play for the team that signed them young, but sold on for big money to other clubs after they cost nothing, the prestige of the Manchester United Academies the selling point. Academies are clearly something very different today at the big clubs.
It was Kenny Dalglish that secured Britain’s soon to be most exciting young striker, Souness the manager who took him on. After scoring on his debut against Fulham (the team he debuted against for his first three clubs) he would soon bang an incredible five goals in on his League Cup debut, repeating his strike partner Ian Rushes previous club best. There quickly followed a hatrick against Southampton in the inaugural season of the Premiership in only his fifth game for the first team, and then that amazing 4 and a half minute hatrick against Arsenal in the League Cup to stake his claim as the new Liverpool number nine legend, the next in a long line. Getting a goal in his first Merseyside derby against his beloved Everton would bring home the fact he had turned his back on his families colors.
It was not long until Souness bumped up his wages, Robbie on three grand a week by his 18th birthday, the big money about to pour into football via Sky. The next contract would be bigger still under Houllier, his agent securing one of the first image rights deals.
With four goals on his 100th game against Bolton Robbie would go onto smash 30 goals a season for his first three years there, 120 in the first four years. Not even Rushie could live with that.
On other players
Robbie doesn’t hold back on fellow pros, revealing David James is sleep walker and likes to throttle his room mate and that’s why the club put Stan Collymore in with him. Collymore gets a lot of stick in the book and again Fowler doesn’t hold back. Clearly the guy was a problem striker at Liverpool and, of course, a threat to Robbie’s position at the club. One incident of the state of Stan’s mind and ego at the time was seeing him question the mangers tactics after only two weeks at the club. Stan lost it when regular prankster Steve Harkness put human poo poo in Collys overnight bag, Stan claming it was a racist attack, even though Harkness had done it to every other player. It was about this time the team earnt their tag as the “Spice Boys”, the bizarre white suits at the FA Cup Final with United not helping. There are plenty of stories in the book about late nights, although Robbie does play down his reputation somewhat and at times paranoid at the way he is seen in the tabloids, especially over the drug allegations. He was particularly annoyed that the special nose clip he wore for his sinuses was seen as some sort of support for the supposed cocaine eroded conk.
There is great humor in the book, too. Most of you know he and Steve MacManamom like the horses (Robbie bizarrely allergic to them), both having big stakes in the industry. For a joke some of the players bought a filly and tried to get it called’ Some Horse’ ,the joke being the commentator would have to say ‘Some Horse’ is coming up on the rails..ho ho. I think that’s quite a clever joke for a footballer, although it was Jamos (David James) idea, apparently the most intelligent football player at the time at Liverpool, behind Stan Collymore of course. I like his dig at David Beckham for getting in on every photo of every goal celebration for England and Man United.
It would be Houllier that eventually force Robbie out of his beloved Liverpool, even though the team had one of their best ever season in the treble winning 2000-1 season with Robbie up front with a very young Michael Owen. Fowler calls it his beast season, but his worst season. Unsettled as a player but winning trophies.
The French manager had been bought in because his knowledge of World Cup winning French football and so could well be the man to bring them the big two trophies of the Premiership and the Champions League. Spending some £140 million on 40 players, half from the French League, Houlliers first signing lasted only 51 minutes. Do you remember Ferri?
It was a straight choice between apparently wealthy Leeds United, pushing for all sorts of honors, or skint Chelsea. Robbie, after being sweet-talked (and obviously bullsh**ed) by Peter Risdale, fatally chose Leeds, Chelsea ironically ending up the mega rich club. He and Seth Johnson were bought into as a high risk strategy to give Leeds that one last push for the Premiership, the final financial nail in the coffin as few new just had bad the books looked, Fowler unaware when he signed they were minus £69 million. But we all know the feverish selling began just after Christmas, but Leeds just one point behind Arsenal at the top, but by then it was all over. Fowler was one of the last big names to go, finally tempted to Manchester City by Keegan, both clubs paying his huge wages, Fowler scoring just five goals in four months alongside the stroppy Nicholas Anelka. They hated Robbie at Maine Road, especially at the end when he missed the penalty that would have put them in Europe. Things didn’t get any better for Fowler when he was arrested and cautioned for head-butting Filbert the Fox, the Leicester City mascot. The romantic loan move to Liverpool completes the book and Robbie Fowlers full-circle
I’m not a Liverpool fan in any way but saw this in the 50p bucket so thought why not. I knew it would be one of those footballer books where the incumbent would talk up his exploits, good and bad, to shift some copies. But I liked the guy as a player and thought this would be naughty enough to have a look. The football book I rally want to read is ‘We all Live in a Perry Groves World’, but the library didn’t have it in yet.
This is easy to read with quick chapter’s to pace things and you don’t get bored as its not one of those sports reads where you have 100 pages of the protagonists journey to 16 and the first pro game etc...
Robbie’s writing style is honest and aggressive (very street),and although hes not the sharpest tool in the box ,contradicting himself many times in the book through his emotions, he does get himself across well, and the life of that early mega rich footballer lifestyle that Sky created. The transition from terrace hero to millionaire is a laid out bare here.
Liverpool fans will love this book whilst other fans will appreciate the guy’s talents and his contribution to the game. As Liverpool are going to win the league this year, and I have a fiver on each-way, I would recommend Liverpool fans should read this, if just not to break the hex. Its exciting times at Anfield again and ir was Robbie Fowler that took Liverpool from old to new. A good footballing autobiography is ideal for autumn/winter and this in one of those. And what’s better is he’s a Sky generation player that waited until he had retired to write his memoirs, not bring part one out at 19...
Summary: De do do dat do dont dey"!
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