Robbie Fowler, one of Liverpool’s all-time greats, torn apart by single career altering injury.
You do not get much more iconic than Robbie Fowler – that is for sure.
The former England striker, whose career was embroiled with as much controversy as it was ability, was truly one of the football’s greatest characters.
A legend who traversed the barriers of club tribalism to become a topflight favourite, Fowler kicked off his illustrious career in the red of Liverpool – a club he had ‘always liked’ despite being an Evertonian growing up (Liverpool Echo).
Liverpool’s favourite by-line sniffing enthusiast netted a cool 12 league goals in 28 games during his first campaign, including a winner against Everton in what proved to be the last ever derby goal scored in front of the old Kop.
Fowler continued his meteoric ascent into the lofty rafters of Anfield greatness, the untouchable zone separating the mere mortals and the gods, throughout the 1990s collecting 92 goals in 160 appearances between 1992 and 1998 (as per Transfermarkt).
For a man who promised so much, though, Robbie Fowler, by his own admission, was ‘not the same player’ after he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury aged just 22 (as per Liverpool Echo).
Speaking to Liverpool Echo about the moment his career took an irreversible and tragic turning, he said: “[it was] a collision with [goalkeeper] Thomas Myhre. It probably did change me, but as a footballer you have to accept it.
“I was one of the more unlucky players in terms of injuries and operations, whereas some players can play a whole career and not get anything.
But it’s all hypothetical. I could have gone on to become the best in the world – there was a World Cup that summer which I missed – but maybe not. You can’t think too much about it.
Obviously, I was desperately disappointed, because I was playing well, I was still young. I remember waking up from the operation with a big gap in my leg. I did every ligament in my knee, and I can remember thinking I was finished.
I actually cried, to be honest. I was on the verge of signing a new contract, and now I wasn’t sure where that was going.
Thankfully I got back, but I probably wasn’t the same player afterwards.”
He may have got back on track the following year, but anyone who has suffered one of football’s most common forms of injury will know a player is rarely the same afterwards.
A level of anxiety sits in the mind, casting doubt over almost every twist, turn, sprint, tackle and physical battle they semi commit to. It saps at least 40 per cent of a players game; their boisterousness, industriousness, fearlessness and physicality. They are no longer as quick, nor agile; they are less powerful in their runs and more lethargic in their general energy.
Fowler would spend time at Leeds United, Cardiff City and Blackburn before moving over to Australia; eventually finishing his career in 2012 for Thai club Muangthong United, a long way from the Premier League.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience